I have had several moments in my life that I place in my definitive category. Some I will never find words to express. Some are so deeply entwined in my core that to remove them, analyze them, and reveal them would strip them of their power.
But some of them only have power when stripped open. Some moments yearn to be shared. These have no shame. Like the beggar at the traffic light, they cry out to me. Sobs of fear, regret and desperation are met only by my own heartache and incompetence.
I had another dream about her. Her name was Sali and I first wrote about her here. Lately, she has been invading my subconscious, crying out to be shared.
I met her July of 2008 in a small village in Mozambique called Panhame. Her lifestyle is what you see on National Geographic with little comfort and even less guarantee of tomorrow.
Yet, she aroused no pity from me.
Sympathy, sure. "Man, somebody's gotta do something" sure. Pity? No.
This does not mean that I am immune to the sadness of seeing impoverished people. I felt no pity because she felt no pity.
This was her life. She is 4 or 5 years old and herded her family's goats. She helped her mother with the only meal of the day. She would probably never get an education or learn where babies come from before she was married. This was her life and, at her age, she seemed to accept her life in all its entirety.
I am no photographer but here she is:
And these are my words:
To the girl who aided my heart recovery:
The great expanse of dust packed still
By bare feet trampling
The shadows pool beneath Marula tree
And dusty rocks, undisturbed, watch
Sali toddle across the plain
Heavy laden, haunting eyes
And the beads and bracelets clanking
And she tumbles
The dust- scarlet and steaming
Tear neglected she leapt
To chase the goat
And fade into the blackness.