"Just One Look" was originally recorded by a woman! Doris Troy. I had no idea. Thought it was a guy.

"The Man

You're so beautiful, my darling,
      so beautiful, and your
dove eyes are veiled
By your hair as it flows 
and shimmers,
     like a flock of goats in
the distance
     streaming down a 
hillside in the sunshine.
Your lips are jewel red,
     your mouth elegant and
     your veiled cheeks soft
and radiant.
The smooth, lithe lines of
your neck
     command notice - all heads turn in awe and
Your breasts are like fawns,
     twins of a gazelle,
grazing among the first
spring flowers.

The sweet, fragrant
curves of your body,
     the soft, spiced 
contours of your flesh
Invite me, and I come. I
     until dawn breathes its
light and night slips away.
You're beautiful from head
to toe, my dear love,
     beautiful beyond
compare, absolutely 

Come with me from
Lebanon, my bride.
     Leave Lebanon behind,
and come.
Leave your high mountain 
     Abandon your
wilderness seclusion,
Where you keep company
with lions
     and panthers guard 
your safety.
You've captured my heart,
dear friend.
     You looked at me, and I
fell in love.
     One look my way and I
was hopelessly in love!
How beautiful your love,
dear, dear friend - 
     far more pleasing than
a fine, rare wine,
     your fragrance more
exotic than select spices.
The kisses of your lips are
honey, my love,
     every syllable you 
speak a delicacy to savor.
Your clothes smell like the
wild outdoors,
     the ozone scent of high 
Dear lover and friend,
you're a secret garden,
     a private and pure
Body and soul, you are
     a whole orchard of succulent fruits - 
Ripe apricots and
     oranges and pears;
Nut trees and cinnamon,
     and all scented woods;
Mint and lavender,
     and all herbs aromatic;
A garden fountain,
sparkling and splashing,
     fed by spring waters
from the Lebanon 

The Woman

Wake up, North Wind,
     get moving, South
Breathe on my garden,
     fill the air with spice

Oh, let my lover enter his
     Yes, let him eat the fine,
ripe fruits."

- Song of Solomon 4, Message translation

Nothing much to add. 

I don't know where we're going. Where I'm going. But I'm here.

Three years ago, on February 26, 2017, I got in a car accident.

I was leaving the house to buy my daughter an easel for her first birthday, which was the next day. As I paused in the doorway and looked back at her, she held my gaze and smiled quietly. A small still voice inside gave me a warning. It was this feeling that I would get in a wreck and maybe die if I left the house. But I wanted her to have a present from me. We didn't have much money, the easel wasn't expensive, and I knew she'd like it. I left anyway.

The traffic was moving swiftly when I got to the highway. Portland traffic was terrible, but this looked worse than usual. Again the thought, if I go in there, I'll get into an accident. But I wanted her to have something from me on her birthday. I said a prayer to protect me on my drive so I could get back home to my baby in one piece.

I saw the car in my rear-view mirror when I was stopped in a backed-up exit lane. It was coming way too fast, I knew the driver wasn't looking and didn't see we were stopped. 

The voice came again: Move, now. You still have time to get out of the way. Go.

I turned my car out of the exit lane onto the shoulder of the road. I was almost clear when the car behind me struck the corner of my bumper. My car smashed into the cement guardrail and was dragged about fifty feet forward. The airbag deployed. I wondered what would happen next, if I would feel pain. My baby's face flashed in my mind, my then-husband's too. "What comes next?" Then the car stopped. 

I staggered out. My knee was hurting.  

If I hadn't moved, I would have been smashed into the car in front of me. I might have even been killed.

A police officer who happened to be nearby stopped. He ended up giving me a ride home. Once I was sitting in his squad car, I started to cry a little. 

He chatted with me a bit, asking if I was okay, saying it was normal to feel shaken up. I don't know why, but I told him about the feeling I had had not to leave the house, that I had said a prayer before getting on the highway, that I had seen the car coming and moved at the last minute. 

He said, "Maybe that prayer you said helped you."
"Yeah, maybe it did."

We stopped at the next red light. Right next to us was a bright purple building in a small strip mall that apparently housed a church (oh, Portland...) that had one of those signs with big block letters. The sign said, "Prayer has an effect."

The cop and I both looked at it, I know we both saw it. Neither of us said anything. He seemed like a man of few words. I am a woman of many words, but I was still in shock.

I went home, went right to my daughter's crib where she was taking a nap. I stood there and watched her sleep. I touched her cheek. Then I sat down on the sofa and cried.

I was so traumatized by that accident that driving or riding in cars was impossible for months. Then I could only drive on surface roads, no highways, no riding in other cars while someone else drove. It progressed until a year later when we moved back to Texas, I was able to drive on those highways again. I guess because they were familiar to me, and far from where the accident had happened. But I still have trouble riding in cars when others are driving. When I see a lot of brake lights, I get scared. That sort of thing.

But what that accident did was rattle something loose in my heart. I felt different. I started reading a lot of books about spirituality, especially Christianity, but by progressive writers. The kind that did not give me a stomach ache. Academic types who weren't trying to sell me anything, or get me to sign up and pay club dues. I didn't want to use the lingo, join the club, pay the dues, etc. I just felt this urge to learn about this feeling that something had been shaken loose inside when that car hit me. This feeling of being guided, but not quite knowing where.

Can I tell you something?

Ever since my friend Sarah's visit... The feeling in my heart has taken on a new dimension. It feels intense again, like after that accident. Like I'm in what the psychics in Berkeley called a "growth period." Only it's different this time. 

It's different.

I'm not resisting it, but I am looking at it. If there's anything I've learned so far, it's when Spirit is working on you, just let it. When it gives you a message, just hear it. When it asks you to do something, just do it. Even if it's something you would never do. Just do it. There is more at work than you know, than you may ever know. Tell that friend you barely talk to that you had a dream about their mom who passed away, that she wants them to know she's okay. Send that message that you love someone and that the bad thing that happened was not their fault. Pay for that stranger's dessert at a restaurant and tell her she's a good mom (happened to a friend of mine recently). Read that book that you swore you'd never read. 

If you feel guided to do something but you don't do it, you just get stressed out. The pressure grows and grows until you can't escape it anymore. So I skip the stress now, for the most part, and just do the thing.

What I feel inside now... It's not a rattling, not a "something got shaken loose" feeling. 

It feels more like when you're watching an afternoon summer storm. But a nice one, not an angry one. Light gray and white clouds kind of churning around, just talking together, getting ready. And you're watching it, safely. That swirling, turning, churning is going on. But it doesn't make me anxious. When I wonder, like, should I be afraid? Should I be concerned? Do not be afraid... Don't worry... Do not be concerned... Daughter... You are safe... Be patient... We are working on things... 

The playground in Portland. The sidewalks with flower petals stuck to them. My baby on the swings. Oklahoma. The lakes, the trees, the parks, the hills. Sarah and I bent over a little candle, praying for my friend who has since died, asking for him to be healed. Him reaching out to me a year later saying thank you. Finding out he had died, took his own life before we could reconcile. Niki, standing next to me crying while the priest prayed over me. Me in my car alone on the highway, headed west, the Pacific ocean waiting on the other side. The garden every morning. The little birds. The blue jay, the monarch butterfly. The stars at night. Dancing in the ocean on mushrooms. Walking next to Sarah two weeks ago, our heads down, whispering, side by side, like twins. The secret language passing between us. Her mother praying for me on the phone when I was in the hospital with the ectopic pregnancy, crying, me crying. Hanging up, lying back down on the hospital bed, looking up, seeing the light, feeling a rush of pure love enter my heart, how I gasped and couldn't move. The sidewalk again in Portland, but this time the glowing signs down the street. My people, my soul tribe, lighting up like glowing push-pins on the map of the world inside my mind. My life is a map. The people I love light up where they are on the map. Emotions show up like the places where I felt them last. They don't have names, they have places. This spot on the sidewalk, that one on the corner, that one by the sea. Snapshots. 

The Spirit, the Holy One, the Creator, whatever you want to call it (wanna call it Bob? go ahead and call it Bob) is working on me. And if it's working on me, and we're connected, then it's working on you, too. It's churning inside. The clouds are churning. There's wind. There's movement. Don't fight it. It feels better that way. Like when a summer storm is starting and the wind lifts up, you know? It's warm and wild but quiet in your head, and you kind of look over at the person next to you, and you're both squinting and your hair's all blowing around... That wonderful smell of the rain coming through the warmth... That water smell... Water on the wind...

It's coming. Something beautiful is coming. Transformation. Don't fight it. It's probably your nature to fight it, but try not to, just this once. Let go and just feel the wind. Take one nice deep breath. You can do it.

You can do it.


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