We sat in her Fire Room in the hour before dawn looking out over Deep Cut Gorge that made its way past her house eastward to the Great Ocean. The Long River Winding, wide though it was, appeared from here as a thin black line bisecting the snow covered valley floor in a series of S curves that gave it the appearance of a long snake meandering along on some errand known only to itself. The rising sun coming up over the edge of the Wide World would soon transform the snake into a ribbon of golden fire and paint the undulating snow covered sides of the gorge in that same hue for the few short moments when the angles of the its rays were just so.
Though the room was warm, heated as it was by a large fire in a pit centered in the room, she sat on the soft intricately patterned carpet swathed in a blanket of Weaver's finest wool. I sat by her side and while she stared at the slowly rising sun I looked at her. The Master of Anywhere returned my gaze not, she simply sat there, age wizened and composed, taking in the Dawning of Another Day.
"I am of the Morning, Student. The day delivers me from the draining darkness of the Night, the hollow blackness of which robs me of color and warmth. So here I sit each Morning to greet the sun to be replenished. I am old, Student. I have seen many, many Risings, each unique from all others, each an offering of another day of limitless possibility."
The sun crested the horizon and a line of fire seemed to run westward along the river. I said nothing. Slowly the faint ghost of a smile touched the corners of her mouth, brought forth, it seemed to me, as the memory of some long ago event in her life stubbornly wormed its way into her consciousness. I said nothing. Waited.
"I did not bid you hither Student and yet you are here. I shall take that as a sign that your arrival is not without purpose." Though her voice was barely above that of the hiss of gently falling snow she spoke still with the power of Command which relies on volume not a whit.
"I call you Student yet you are no student of mine, nor, I sense, of any other Master. You have chosen, like me, to trod your own path and hence are a Student not of any teacher, but of your Art." She sighed, a small sound deep in her throat. "It is a Solitary Road, is it not, Student?"
Without waiting for an answer she continued.
"I have many things to tell you Student. And, I fear, less time than I should like in which to speak my tale. You may well wonder why it is not one of my students sitting across from me instead of you. The answer is simple really, I have sent them all on their respective ways. Each carries a portion of my story, sees me as I was during their time with me. It is powerful imagery and I wish not to disturb it with counter and sometimes conflicting views of myself. But to you I will reveal the full story of my life, if, that is, you will be kind enough to sit and listen, for it is long in the telling."
I don't, to this day, know how long I spent with her listening to her autobiography. Time moves differently in Anywhere and the Master of Anywhere seemed in no particular hurry to complete her task. That I thought slightly out of sync with her statement that she had less time than she would like to spend in the telling. I let the thought drift away fascinated, as I was, with her narration.
As I walked with her down the corridors of her life I began to see the unfolding of her Art. A reflection it was of her being, its essence expressed in motion. So skillfully did she relate her history that I was able to delineate the different stages of the development of her Art. I saw how her Art was so very intertwined with who she was and how, as she grew and changed, so too did the Art she was simultaneously creating and living. At times I wondered whether I was hearing the story of a single person; so distinct were the personalities she rendered in the tale at the different stages of her life. No small wonder it was that her Students, let loose upon the Wide World, would eventually each present an Art representative of hers, while none would ever capture the full flavor, for that belonged to her alone and would pass out of the Wide World with her departure. So it must be with all Artists, I thought. An Art, after all, is not something the Artist does, it is something the Artist is; and that is-ness demands to be shared. And so it was with the Master of Anywhere; for beauty aches to be revealed and she must display it lest her Art fully consume her with its intensity.
I was vaguely aware of the passing of the seasons; the unfolding of hours, days and weeks being to continuously connected to be noticed. Winter passed and Spring arrived with melting snows and aromas of renewal. A day would come when no chill could be noticed on the breeze; the herald of Summer, all growth and bloom. The first blushes of yellow, orange and red appeared in the trees as Autumn announced its arrival, only too shortly, to give way once more to the barren beauty of Winter. And so it went, for how long I know not.
Each morning I would rise before dawn and seek her out in the Fire Room. Each morning I would find her seated, wrapped in her blanket, waiting. I took to varying my time of arrival and never once got there before her. When at last I was seated beside her she would pick up her story from where she had left it the previous day; so seamlessly, that I wondered if she was even aware of the interval of time that had elapsed between our Sittings. And then came a day I arrived in the Fire Room only to find it empty. In the place where she customarily sat wrapped in her blanket was an envelope; one word inked into its surface - Student...
(Original blog post may be found here