“The soul unfolds itself like a lotus of countless petals.”
Khalil Gibran, The Prophet
Rachel painted flowers near a florescent pool in a meadow below the pasture.
Every morning she rose before dawn, gathered watercolors, easel, and canvas,
threw a white shawl across ashen shoulders, and strode barefoot through dew
to the east shore of the pond, where the sun behind her back reflected yellow
light across the water, illuminating the outline of a sleeping lotus, its flower,
a closed fist, sprouting from murky water, boasting morning’s pure essence.
Rachel dipped her brush into the pool, swished through green pigment and dabbed
graceful stems and disk-shaped leaves, rinsed her bristles and painted blue strokes
of water mirroring cloudless sky, then rinsed and dipped in yellow to highlight sun
waltzing across tender ripples. Her hands like wings fluttered across canvas,
crafting shapes and colors, textures and emotions, the secret sufferings of her soul,
but the bud, stolid, tight-clasped, protective, would not open, would not let her in.
Rachel waited all morning for the white flower to blossom, then, lulled by the hum
of cicadas and soothed by a soft southern breeze, she closed her eyes and fell into
a dreamless sleep. The sun scrambled across the sky. Then awakened by a magical
fragrance of potent nectar, she opened her eyes and beheld the lotus, its womblike
flower blooming, eight translucent petals, each a pathway to enlightenment, each
a step toward a new existence. She breathed the pure distillation of her consciousness.
Rachel plunged one foot into the cool stream and the silky muck embraced her, welcomed
her, and she stepped all the way in. Her toes turned into tuberous roots and sank into muck.
Her arms sprouted strong, fibrous stems, and reached skyward. Her hands, held palm up,
morphed into rich green leaves, subtly woven with textile veins, poised to capture dewdrops.
Her neck elongated and gracefully tilted upward, her head sprouted green sepals which
slowly opened revealing dainty white petals, exposing stamen, pistil, the seeds of rebirth.
Rachel transcended to new life. Her easel illustrated the image of her awakened soul.
Author of four published novels and over a hundred published poems, stories, and articles, Jerry McGinley edits and publishes Lake City Lights, An Online Literary Anthology. He is working on his sixth book, a collection of stories and poems, tentatively titled When the Storm Hits and also a book of detective stories titled Lake Redemption.