Why do I want to be pinned down to just one thing sometimes?
This time it was my name. I never liked it. It reminded me of something conservative, or perhaps olde worlde – like a gaslight in a brass furnace.
Then, during my travels I heard people say nice things; someone said it was exotic, someone else loved its sound. Strange that what had become me saw itself only through others.
And it wasn’t so bad, after all.
So, the other day I told someone he could ask me the meaning of my name.
“What does it mean?” he queried politely.
“Wisdom and luminescence/fire…it is Persian,” I said.
“Is it wisdom or fire today, then?”
“It is wisdom turning to ashes,” I replied.
But there is more.
I do not think wisdom must be a quiet understanding; it has to go through a trial by fire; it ought to be lit by a matchstick and then test itself – does it light up or burn out?
Wisdom is fire. It starts with a spark, glows in the dark, adds warmth, melts wax, incinerates the useless, inflames passions, turns logs of wood into torches. It fights to stay alive in strong winds and, even as water douses it, you can watch the deep orange flicker in the embers. Try touching those and you will burn yourself…
- - -
I do foolish things, too.
Today, I was to get my hair trimmed and as I sat in the chair at the salon, I watched the stylist hold up a good chunk to indicate it must go. I wanted to cling to it.
He shook his head: “You have gorgeous hair…”
“Then why do you want to cut it? I am possessive about it.”
“You may be possessive, but you don’t know how to look after it.”
It was true. It is almost always true. How often do we nurture what we have?
The lower bits had become limp, like wilting stems.
In the mirror, I nodded assent and shut my eyes as I felt the scissors clipping away. I felt some feather-touches at my feet. After he was done, I kept arching my head back to delude myself I was lengthening the hair that was left!
He looked amused. “There is still a lot of it. And it will grow back.”
I know it will. Though I do miss the feel of wisps touching my tailbone.
How attached we get to wisps…