Friday, February 24, 2006

Meeting Merlin

I headed back to the hotel. I thought I might meet Kelley there, get something to eat, maybe swap adventure stories. I took my time walking. I had no reason to rush. No clock was calling. I figured I would get there when I got there. I did.

I wandered in the wood door with the brass handles. Kelley was still out. So I talked awhile with Marilyn in the restaurant. She lived just on the edge of Key West until she took over this little hotel. Said she had been running the little beauty—that’s what she called it—for just over two years now. It was her life, her love, her hobby, and her heartache. I said I knew about all of those.

Marilyn served me up a piece of the lightest, the most complex Key Lime pie I ever tasted. It was a perfect sliver on a plain white plate with just a silver fork and damask napkin alongside it. I smiled, thinking this was a woman who understood that things done well don’t need a lot of gooey, gourmet decoration.

We talked over my piece of pie and two decaf cappuccinos from her brand new machine. How could I say no? She had already told me the whole story of how her brother bought it as a hotel-warming gift. He had saved two years to pay for it. Her little brother loved her. You could tell their bond was something pretty special.

After the conversation I went to my room, filled with pie, sand, and sea, ready for that giant feather bed and those perfect pillows. I read myself to sleep. The book was T.H. White’s “The Once and Future King.” I'd read it three times before. I'll probably read it six times more.

That night I dreamed of the forest that the young Ward wandered and flew as a peregrine falcon. For a while, I flew with him hunting. When I landed I was alone and lost among the trees. I didn’t know which way to go to find my way back. I didn’t know where I had been going. I didn’t know where I was. Then a light shone through the trees.

An old man approached me, I knew him. It was the magician, Merlin. My thoughts of being lost left me. My curiosity took over. Merlin was someone I’d always wanted to talk with. I felt we had a lot in common. It wasn’t that I thought I was magical. It was that I felt that I had done so many things in life backwards. He knew a little something about doing that.

“Merlin,” I said. “What do I do to put my life back into some kind of order?”

We talked through the entire dream—through the mist and fog, through the darkness into the light of day, as he got younger, and I got older.

I awoke at sunrise, I got up to watch it through my window. As I looked toward the sky changing to the colors only Key West can deliver, I could only see the misty forest of my dream. My mind was filled with every moment, every image, every look on Merlin’s face, but only 11 words. I remembered only one question that he asked me.

“What makes you think that life is supposed to have order?”

Somehow that question answered everything. I sent a sunrise thank you to my friend, Merlin. Then I went back to giant feather bed, read T.H. White some more, and fell back to sleep on those perfect pillows again. I was looking for the forest.

—me strauss Letting me be


Dawn said...

As much as I hate to admit it, I think Merlin's onto something. Thinking that life should be orderly is an illusion that humans with a propensity for order have invented. Life began from chaos. Enjoy that feather bed and perfect pillows just as long as possible, Liz. It's those little breaks that help us get up and get back in the daily stream of chaos again. You know, the pause that refreshes.

ME Strauss said...

Good Morning, Dawn,
Yeah, itn't my favorite thought either, but that Merlin he's been around. We yearn for order, yet our philospher friend would tell us to embrace the confusion. I like the order now and then. These days my feet feel good on the ground.

Bluesky_Liz said...

That's a very druidic dream. :)

ME Strauss said...

Hi Liz,
Yeah, I listen to Celtic music. Read King Arthur, and have Duidic dreams. What do you think that adds up to? :)

Bluesky_Liz said...

Hm... you have celtic blood? :)

mergrl said...


Happy Friday my friend (hugs)

ME Strauss said...

Hi Liz,
If a do have Celtic blood, I don't know about it. maybe I have tree blood-you know. I'm just sappy. :)

ME Strauss said...

Hi Trace,
Yes! It's Friday again already. I can't believe this week went so quickly. I wish you a wonderful weekend that moves slow and easy.

Kelley Bell said...

"Liz, Wake Up Girl! Don't fall in love with your bed. You can sleep when we go back up north. Come on." Kel said as she playfully tossed the downy comforter on the floor with a big POOF.

"We're burnin daylight girlfriend, and the tide is coming in."

ME Strauss said...

Hey, I'm up!

It's just that forest and that feather bed were soooooo nice. Okay world here we come.

smiling and laughing

Betty said...

Your lovely words have enabled me to lighten up as I face the task in front of me: putting my house in order. Maybe I'll just aim for "no longer a fire hazzard" instead of "order"...

ME Strauss said...

Cear Betty,
I think you are on to something goo there. Go with it. It could start a trend of happiness that just might catch on.