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POEM: Stillpoint

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By Christi Ortiz

I had the strangest dream last night
I dreamt I was walking along in the forest 
and in the dim mist I saw an artist at his canvas
he was painting wildly with broad brush strokes and passionate movements 

As I drew closer I saw the canvas was blank
and in bewilderment I asked, “what are you doing?”
and the man laughed as he replied, “I’m painting can’t you see”
“But you have no paint” I retorted, “the canvas is empty” The artist replied with a smile,
 “Oh, that’s because you look only for the art that is visible”


Still a bit stunned and confused by the encounter 
I wondered further along the path and there I encountered 
a beautiful dancer poignantly posed in silent stillness 
“what are you doing?” I asked 
“well dancing of course,” responded the graceful and muscular figure 


“But you’re not moving” I responded, “there’s no music”
“how can you be dancing if you are as still as a pristine lake?”
Without moving she gently replied
“every dance begins and ends from the still point 
music is born from the space between the notes 
the harmonies, the melodies, the rhythms arise from stillness, 
yes I am dancing”
 
A bit taken aback and still pondering the wisdom behind these words 
I wondered further along the path deeper into the forest 
and stumbled upon a man sitting cross legged in front of a lake 
writing feverishly, his pen shook with the vigorous movements of his art form 
As I drew closer, and again in shock and yet half expecting it… 
the page was empty, blank white 


“What are you doing?” I asked the man 
Barely looking up, engrossed in his work he responded curtly, 
“writing can’t you see, an author I am”
“But there are no words on the page” I exclaimed 
Only then did the man stop. He threw his head back in laughter,
the kind of hearty laughter that I couldn’t help but join in 
and then he paused and smiled and looked at me with a deep long loving gaze 
saying, “you look only for words on the page, but it is the space between the letters that gives life to the story, that gives it meaning. 
I am writing you see, but the words are not that important” 


If I hadn’t just encountered the strange beings earlier on my path 
I might have left this man thinking he was a lunatic, stark raving mad,
but there was a serenity in his gaze and a knowing wisdom 
in his words and in the space between his words 
that led me to believe they knew something I did not 
perhaps there was a truth to this invisible nature I could not see 
not visible to my eye, but present nonetheless 
with just as much vitality and force and vastness in its mystery 


Like the dance floor of the dancer, 
the canvas of the painter,
and the blank page of the author 
perhaps there was something in the silence, 
in the stillness, in the emptiness that called to me 


And I heard at that moment a soft sound as if music 
but I knew that only silence was there 
and I was hearing not with my ears 
but with another sense 
that lay much deeper
and with that, I too began my art

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Christi Ortiz

About Christi Ortiz

Christi Ortiz is a licensed marriage and family therapist by profession and a poet by passion.  She enjoys trying to put to words to that which is wordless and give voice to the dynamic and wild spiritual journey called life. She lives in Spokane with her husband and two children, Emmanuel and Grace. She loves the outdoors and meditating in the early mornings which gives rise to her poetry.

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