“The Smooth Sides of Darkness” published @ The Fourth River

My 😍 agent (@juliestevensonpfarr ) thought my book was missing a chapter about the foundation of my love for the #ocean and I wrote this (soft, lyrical) #essay in response. This week, @thefourthriver published the piece and I do believe the theme of their issue is the (untitled) answer to my agent’s question: ISSUE 0.12: HOME

Here’s an excerpt from, “THE SMOOTH SIDES OF DARKNESS.”


“One winter in India, I picked up the word bardo and put it in my pocket. There I thumbed the cold, smooth, stone—turning it over and over in unidentified obsession. The word wasn’t mine. I might have received it from a Lama’s teaching in Bodhgaya, the small town whose fame rests in the shade of the Bodhi tree under which the Buddha once meditated. It’s likely there the word bardo was born along with Buddhism, about six millennia before the birth of the guy we call Jesus. I put the word in my pocket because it was in the shape of something I couldn’t otherwise name. I held onto it. Rubbing its smooth sides between my fingers, unclear as to my obsession for the term I was taught as meaning the state of existence between death and rebirth. Pema Khandro Rinpoche, a scholar of Tibetan Buddhism whose teachings focus on the coalescence of tradition and the modern context, takes the bardo a step further. She describes it as, “moments when gaps appear, interrupting the continuity that we otherwise project onto our lives.”

A man I once loved said to me, “There’s something about the way you leave.” I had been looking for my socks under his bed. I popped up my head, “What?”

He continued, “You know what it is? You never look back.”

I paused my hustle, tilted my head.

He added teasingly, “I would know, I’ve watched you go enough times.”

I laughed a little too hard, tugged on my boots, deposited a kiss on his cheek, and ran out the door to catch my waiting taxi. But looking through my reflection in the window of the cab, I thought long about what he’d said. About my ease in letting go. About my secret love for the breaks in continuity, for the liminal places between here and there, and what I find inbetween.

Continue reading the full essay @ The Fourth River

(Visited 110 times, 1 visits today)

Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *