Ponies, donkeys and unicorns. In praise of not knowing what’s real.

“But ponies aren’t real…” Nico said to me yesterday as we walked away from school, his warm little palm in mine. I laughed, “Yes they are! They are baby horses!”

“Oh, right!” he replied. “It’s donkeys that aren’t real!”

And for a moment I didn’t know what was real and what wasn’t.

I recalled seeing a burro in San Miguel de Allende just a few days ago. Mati and I were walking to a rooftop restaurant to watch the sunset and have a cocktail. A man was pulling a donkey, decorated in dayglo pink flowers and wool blankets with aztec patterns on them. Playing his role perfectly, the donkey was resisting… and the man pulled harder on the rope while a gringa- one of the thousands of retirees from the states – ran behind them on the cobblestone streets trying to take a picture.

Are donkeys real? for a moment I couldn’t remember.

“And unicorns?” I asked Nico. “Are they real?” I liked not remembering. I liked not being certain of anything. I liked this space between… the doubt. It made me feel free. It was like theta space, those moments when you wake up and you are still between worlds – liminal space between waking and dreaming.

This is valuable territory for creative people. When you write, paint, draw it feels like magic to find this place of soft focus, to not be sure, to allow your imagination full reign.

The rational mind is more like a donkey – stubborn and sure.

There are pale pink blossoms springing up all over Berkeley these days… they were just beginning when I left for Mexico a couple of weeks ago and now they are like bright bouquets lining the streets.

Do you want to know something? They smell like corn tortillas. And I mean exactly like corn tortillas. If you close your eyes and stand in the sun while you inhale, it’s even better.

I’ve been thinking about an exercise Laurie and I did at our last workshop, one where we asked people to riff on this line: “I wish people would pay me to…” and then repeat it over and over again.

I found myself writing things like, “I wish people would pay me to cry on their couch. I wish people would pay me to tell them stories. I wish people would pay me to walk with them and show them what’s beautiful…”

And now I would add that I wish people would pay me to tell them things like this – that the cherry blossoms in spring smell like corn tortillas.

And that unicorns may or may not be real. I don’t remember.

 

3 Comments

  1. Posted February 24, 2017 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

    Stella told me once that she’d figured out about unicorns. They have them at the zoo but they only come out when it rains. Since I’ve never been at a zoo in the rain, I really couldn’t refute her.

  2. Posted February 25, 2017 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    Such beautiful imagery! Here in upstate NY, we’re in a heat wave, and hopefully the blossoms aren’t popping out because they’ll die when we get the next snowstorm. But today I’m going to go out and imagine I see cherry blossoms and smell the corn tortillas.

  3. Diane
    Posted March 2, 2017 at 1:23 am | Permalink

    how do you know that this is in me too? love discovering that our emotions run similar.

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