Tuesday, February 01, 2005

The Song of the Seven Miners

When I signed up to go on a mining expedition I didn’t know what I would uncover as I ventured into the mine, making my way down winding untouched pathways and unexplored veins. For one whose biggest fear was discovering nothing I could hardly imagine that I would find precious gems with my first few tentative steps into the mine. Nor could I have foreseen the way the musty walls would creak and moan calling to me, challenging me, guiding my steps, and propelling me forward, even in moments where mining was the farthest thing from my conscious mind. I entered the mine afraid and reluctant in spirit just a couple of days ago. I figured I would have to go in quite deep before I would uncover anything of importance, so with no expectations as of yet I pulled out my trusty flashlight, found a sturdy rock, brushed away the dust and planted myself down.


“No reason to rush,” I thought.
“After all you made it inside, that’s as good a start as any.”
I pulled the paper out of my back jeans pocket and began to leaf through to see what was going on in the world outside of mining.
I made it all the way to the D-section, when I began to hear the whisper of the wind whistling through the mines. I buttoned my shirt and turned the page. The whisper then became a word, an echoing word…
“Come.”
“You’re imagining things” I tell myself as my eyes begin to scan down the page.
“Come”
“Come and See”
When I can no longer deny that the wind is speaking through the crevices in the mine rock, I choose simply to ignore it.
“How hard could it be to ignore the wind,” I thought.
..but I have to tell you wind can be persistent if necessary and with nothing to do all day but blow it showed no signs of stopping.
“Come and See”
“Come and See, Beth”
Since when were we ever on a first name basis.
“Come and see”
“Come and See, Beth”
“Come and See what!” I shout.
“For goodness sake, I’m on an important mining expedition here.”
“I don’t have time to come and see!”


I began to mumble to myself just as my eyes catch sight of something interesting on the page. Towards the bottom, in a small section on the left hand side I saw twinkling amid the stark black and white text. Running my finger over it I realize it is dust…gold dust glittering on my finger, shiny specks of golden dust dancing in the air above my head settling in my hair, on my shoulders, on my bare cheeks and lips. I wipe away more of the dust and it is there I uncover my first gold nugget.


I am astounded. I didn’t even have to break out my axe and chip away any ore and stone to find this treasure. There in small print is an open audition call for more singers to join a choral group that sings accompanied by the symphony. I feel the wind caressing my cheek and gently pushing on my back.
“Come and See, Beth”
I feel butterflies swirling in different directions in the pit of my stomach as excitement begins to build inside me.
“I have to do this.” I think to myself.


As soon as I affirm this calling, I hear shrill screams from deep down in the mine. It sounds like an entire swarm of banshees crying out loud. In a wild frenzy they come rushing at me and unexpecting, unaware, and completely unprepared I am assailed by a mob of doubts. They shriek in high-pitched tones past my ears. What about the time you were supposed to sing the National Anthem in Tallahassee and you intentionally stuck your skirt in the toilet so you wouldn’t have to go on stage. What about the Spirit Song audition where you messed up the harmony? Your name wasn’t on the accepted list, but your boyfriend’s was and what about 7th grade when you were a finalist for the Little Mermaid solo part, but froze up and never could stay on cue? You can’t even sing in the shower when you know someone’s home. Who are you kidding? They came in droves, each one carrying its own fear. I couldn’t believe there were so many. What about your voice, your laryngitis...

I covered my ears closed my eyes and listened for the wind. I didn’t have to listen hard. The whisper came easily, audibly…calling “Come and See, Beth…Come and see. I uncovered my ears and slowly opened up my eyes. The winds that had sent the gold dust swirling were gone, but the whisper, the prodding remained in my heart. I stood up, brushed the dirt off of my pants and took a few steps, but the path was steep and dark and I nearly lost my footing. Behind me the banshees cackled with glee. “See not even a yard into the mine yet…she’ll never make it…I can feel the doubt creeping in…the banshees poison seeping in slowly, wanting to suck the whispers of inspiration right from my very heart, but the dust on my finger still gleams in the cracks of light, and I know I will do this.

I close my eyes and call upon The Power of Seven.
I call upon the strength within myself, the red glittering horn, the pinecone basket and my six other miners.

They aren’t in range to get to me…all in different sections of the mine, but they hear my call. I toss them each a line and they help me keep my footing steady as I go. Winnie shines light in my direction…illuminating my path, and lifts my spirits with harmonious song. Barbara and Lois speak wisdom and encouragement that drowns out the banshees and directs my focus. Gwen reminds me of herbs and remedies she placed in my pack before the journey to keep my body and spirit healthy. Steph shares with me the similar challenge she faces from outside the mine and I know I am not alone, and Gabe shows me how I opened my heart to the mines and the mine was opening up new veins for me in return.

With “The Power of Seven-Plus” holding the line, I did go and see…and my song can now be heard in the whisper of the winds moving through the cracks in the mine walls. I invite you each to listen to my first treasure.

It comes from a song sung by my new choir and I know it was given as a souvenir of my first discovery. It was given as a gift to me. and I in turn give it as my gift to all of you who held the line for me:

It is from “I thank you God for Most This Amazing Day” by e.e. cummings: “I who have died am alive again today, and this is the sun's birthday; this is the birthday of life and of love and wings…now the ears of my ears awake and now the eyes of my eyes are opened.”
Exhausted after a day of discovery I lay down on the floor of the mine and drift into slumber, dreaming peacefully,
my first dreams of a still far-off place called Eldorado.
I have far to go, and my boots are heavy, but for the first time my burden feels lighter and there is a song in my heart.

**Thank you all so much for your prayers and support and for holding the line for me...I did make it with the condition that I train for 6 months under the same Maestro, with the community choir he also directs. At first I was disappointed having this provision added but then I realized I get to have six months of additional instruction under an incredible Maestro, and who knows what discoveries I will make along the way. I am already so joyful that I even went through with the audition with my stagefright and the condition of my throat withstanding. For me this was such a big step. I seriously could not have done it without all of you along for the journey and as for the provision I have chosen to accept it with an open heart and an enthusiatic spirit. Who knows where this path will take me, and afterall it's not nearly as much about the destination as it is about the journey. A journey that has already taken me to places that just two weeks ago I would have doubted I could reach."** Beth

1 Comments:

At 4:38 AM, Blogger Believer said...

Dear Beth,

That was so exciting and heartwarming! I can't tell you how happy I am that you got this opportunity and had the courage to go for it the way you did!

I tend to get "stage fright" sometimes and I applaud your courage and thank you for sharing your success! I will remember it the next time I have my own butterflies.

Well done

 

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