The girl came into the world as a seed from a husk of corn. She was the child of the sun and the earth who, in turn, provided her with warmth and sustenance. Flor was from all places, but most importantly from the duality of the earth and the sky. As she grew, the wind took her into his tutelage, gently and then ferociously he would blow her throughout the world that was her home. In the early days she was left free to wander the world on the wind, exploring distant nooks and crannies, from the now forgotten pueblos in the cliffs of the American south-west to the glittering European capitals that dreamt of empire beyond their bounds. In this way, Flor came to know the people she shared the earth with, their kindness and their cruelty, their worries and their joy. She could discern their passion but remained always adrift, floating on through our world and through time itself; she was the original time traveler. Flor was on intimate terms with our earliest of ancestors and she was witness to the brutal march of human progress, as men came to desire the earth, then sought to possess it, dominate and exploit. As she rode the wind, she saw the rise and fall of civilizations, each thinking itself as permanent as the last. Though she had always been something of a benevolent spirit during her time on this earth, Flor came to feel herself growing cold and empty as time went on. All that she had seen had not filled her, but left her an empty and cold feeling where her stomach would be if she were a human.
The wind was sympathetic, “You witness and understand all, dear one, and yet in your wandering, you have left no part of yourself in this wide world. You know not love or human emotion. Detached is the word.” The wind saw the immense and terrible distance that Flor felt from the other beings of the earth and he offered her some difficult advice. “Go forth, immerse, submerge, if need be. You’ll find your way; you always have. Trust, and live.”
It was a few years ago that I met Flor for myself, although time runs on a different dimension when it comes to her. The two of us were standing on the top of a tall cliff somewhere over the Mediterranean Sea. It was September and the wind was blowing in from the sea. I felt an uncontrollable vertigo in the face of such awesome height. “The thing of it is,” she glanced at me playfully, “you know you’re going to have to dive in, without any idea of how deep you may go.”
“Metaphorically speaking, of course,” she winked, but my stomach was already in mid flip-flop.
I felt on-edge. “Humans have a hard time jumping,” I thought out loud, “At least some of us. We can’t even really put a hard definition on poetry, you know. We have this way of skirting around the edges of it, without being able to take that plunge, the commitment I guess it is, of putting things into precise language.” I actually kind of liked that feeling of words evading us, but it felt a bit more sketchy when it came to lived experience.
Of course, I had no business talking to her in this raw way, I realized after the words were air-born. I had just met her that afternoon and it had been a whirlwind of surprises; she had led me on a wild goose chase that had landed us here, miles from town on this deserted precipice. “Actually,” Flor amended abruptly, “I was talking about myself. I’m the one that’s going to have to dive in there.” It took me a minute to sink in that she was completely serious.
She peered over the edge, as if charting a route, finding her way. It was as though her redemption laid only in that dive. It was the depth, or the unknowability of the depth, rather, that could possibly save her. Hair whipping wildly around her in the wind, I wished for an instant to be like her: an illusion to those who tried to perceive her, for in perceiving they would only catch a glimpse of themselves and their projections would be reflected back on themselves, the circle complete. “You humans!” Flor cried to the wind, “So full, you are! How could I ever grasp such a fullness?”
It was much more a flight than a fall as she arched into it and away from me, a lone observer on that cliff. I lost my breath as she fell for five full seconds, I’m sure of it. Five stories she soared, or more, these things grow harder to discern with time. But I can still picture that magnificent dive into the unknowable depths as clearly as if it were yesterday. From above, I watched as she broke the surface of the ocean swells. In jumping, she had broken her perfect reflection, and for just an instant, it shattered.
I felt an unusual loss at her absence and slowly I wandered home alone with this strange melancholy in my belly. I had hardly known her; she probably wasn’t one that a person could get to know, I mused.
That night, however, an odd thing happened. When I’d returned to my study and set up to write about the events of the day, suddenly, Flor was there with me. I felt her, an uncanny sensation in my hands as they flew across the typewriter. There were just words, glorious words. They’d always been inside of her or me or whoever it was, but only now did they have access to the page, pouring out of me, her lifeblood spilling into the world blue-red. Glittering for a moment, it seeped into the pages creating the story she was somehow writing, this story you are reading now. For at this precise moment, she was inside of me, a spirit or an essence pulsing, pushing to be set free.