Sunday, July 1, 2012

The Call of Chichen Itza

On my Facebook page (Melissa Z. Savlov Writes Her Wrongs), I posted the following phrase, which spontaneously emerged in my mind last night:

"Never assume tomorrow will bring you what you need today."

This phrase of advice can be interpreted in a wide variety of ways, and I welcome you to receive it in whatever way(s) speak(s) to your soul and goals. (Feel free to post your thoughts on what it means to you.)

As for me, the concept prompted me to write the following strange little tale, which I've written in the spirit of magical realism and poetic autobiographical fiction.


"The Call of Chichén Itzá"

Years ago, I consciously chose to ignore a strong spiritual message. A voice without vocal cords eerily urged:

"Go... to the pyramids... of Chichén Itzá."

I'd vaguely remembered that there were pyraminds in México, but I had no idea where in this expansive country they might be. I'd imagined them being somewhere toward to center of México, perhaps 300 miles West of La Ciudad de México. But, when I researched it, I found (to my dismay) that they're in Eastern México (near the Mexican Riviera of Cancún).

Listening to that voice would be expensive.

Nevertheless, undaunted, the voice, feminine but not mine, whispered: "I can't tell you too many specifics. But, in about 6 months' time, the window will open. Go to the pyraminds then. You will meet someone there. Someone vital to your life path. You will know him when you encounter him."

Skepticism furrowed my already prematurely furrowed brow.

"I cannot tell you exactly when the window will open. It might be in 3 months. It might be in 6. It will remain open for 3-12 months. But don't count on it lasting that long. Go in 6 months. That's my advice." The voice went as silent as it was invisible.

I wanted to go. Oh, how I yearned to go. Frequently, I said to my then-husband, "I am meant to go to Chichén Itzá." He was perplexed but tried to be supportive. He did not want me to go but was polite and supportive enough not to say so, nor did he undermine my efforts to make the trip happen. Kindly, he offered to watch our children as I explored this vision. Indulgently, he listened to my shockingly ill-advised enthusiasm about a potential solo road trip through central to eastern Mexico via Texas. He knew I would eventually realize that there were serious safety issues with that plan.

He suggested the use of our joint funds for a flight to Cancun. Yet I resisted. I did not want to fly into The Mexican Riviera and stay in a hotel filled with people who were there to party and not for a soul journey. I didn't know how else to get to the pyramids (but have since learned alternative routes). I don't fear flying. I have often flown without incident. I just don't like the cold sterility of the experience, and the lack of mobility, and basically forsaking my freedom. Also, I have a tendency toward motion sickness, am overly sensitive to personal space invasions, and usually catch colds when I fly because I have yet to find the perfect balance between wearing enough layers to stay warm and not feeling like the Stay Puff Marshmellow Man shoved into a metal chair, padded cylindrical arms almost touching my neighbors'.

Weeks flipped past like in a cartoon calendar and I could sense that the window was open. I accepted defeat: the responsible path. I went to work. I stayed home at night and helped everyone who needed me, at their convenience. I ignored my languishing soul, the clock ticking like dynamite. As the days progressed, they oozed into barely-liquid molasses. I dwelled in despair, resisting each pull of the soul-spotlighting moon.

Magnetic martyrdom out-armwrestled the beckoning howl of my starving soul. Of course the window closed without me. But the voice was ever-present in those last weeks. The voice even appeared to me as a woman, luscious from hair to hips, long from calf to nose, brimming with the fury I'd become too numb to acknowledge. Once, she tapped her naked wrist for what seemed like hours, nagging me with a red-lipsticked mouth on mute.

The silence of this apparition could be ignored, as I was used to closing my eyes. But, when the voice returned, it undulated with allure. Scintillating, mesmerizing smoke, it led me in circles until I became lost and panicked. "If only you'd listened, we would be safe in the pyramids," she accused. "Instead of 40 pounds of fat and a deadened mind, your thighs would be solid, your mind would be bursting with volcanic wisdom. It all awaited you. The mystery of the pyramids. The sweet serendipitous gift. What a waste." She shook her head, clicked her tongue, eyed me derisively.

A few years after serving my marital prison sentence, the name "Chichén Itzá" wandered into my path, and not just once.* The name would emerge from a lunch-date account of a recent vacation or a description of a documentary. I would meet people from Cancún when strolling a Southern Californian beach or examining a roma tomato. At first, I would get so excited, as I was ready to go this time, ready to take that path I'd once neglected. But, when I became still, my own voice whispered: "It's too late now."

The once-crooning moon goddess, there in my despair, diminished then vanished like morning mist. When I released her hand of luminiscent stars, unable to follow the dream, she fell from the sky in a dead free fall, flat on the barren desert floor, snapping her spine on impact. When I try to approach her now, to thank her for trying, and apologize, she whips her head, covering her eyes with ratty crusted hair, which she prefers to my visage. She spits thorn-infested tumbleweeds at me.

Sometimes, voice a raspy taunt, she encourages me to go there. But the way she says Chichén Itzá now sounds like: "Chicken's gonna eat ya!!!" That sacred place is now a skeleton, once the protector of precious life, now brittle and defenseless, with no say in its own belittlement. "Go there.... Go...." she rasps, trying to summon a fraction of the allure that was once her blood, filling the heart that made her bosoms plump to the point of distraction. She wants to weep but there are no tears and she refuses to be humiliated; so she claws at the scorpions who feed on her once-blooming thighs, bites them for liquid and spite.

Before she finally expires, her red-rimmed eyes seize me, shake me, won't let me go, like a Halloween version of a cheek-pinching grandma. "Short-sighted, timid, and weak! We held the door open for you. The wind blew cold from your soul. The tears froze on your face. So we built a fire, hot enough to steam your heart awake, intense enough to cross countries. We bought precious unguents to rub into your soul wounds. So much of your soul could have been salvaged if you'd heeded our call. We held the door open for you. But a breeze arrived instead. We died of the cold. Ungrateful, you are. Ungrateful. Ungrateful. And now you will not know our wisdom. Now you must earn it, with good deeds and tough choices and absolute commitment to heed future calls of your soul."

Shivering scared, I realize I'm lost. I must earn the wisdom, which is beyond price and thus beyond reach. I have no expectation of soul-satiation. But breezes blow and souls whisper. I must be still.
What you need now will not be what you will need later
  -- unless you are soul-mired,
    a sink-hole soul.

So listen, listen, listen.

  to your howling, hungry soul.
Windows will open, but not forever.
Doors close, bolts laughing at you.
And so, I urge you, listen.

For the whispers, to your soul,
A soul that knows what it needs and when


* We married too young, less than a year after college graduation. We brought out the worst in each other -- not from a lack of love but a lack of complementary qualities.