I have never noticed the faces before but now I see them everywhere. In the sky, in rocks, in glimmering shadows under water…
The first time I saw one it appeared in the clouds. I became fascinated by the round smiling eyes, the open slit for a mouth. I was standing on a beach. Jesi walked on that beach with Chris, Kari and Alan over a year ago. I watched them from the concrete promenade. They threw a football as they made their way over the wet sand from one end of the beach to the other.
Now, months later I stood on the sand and took a photo of the ocean, two ferries in the distance getting further and further apart. One coming and one going. I wondered what it was like for the people on those ferries. Coming together and pulling apart.
I did not see the face immediately. As I pointed the lens of my camera toward the ocean it was difficult to make out anything. Even through the heavy clouds, the various weights of grey that lined the sky, the sun glared silently at me. It was later when I was looking at my photos that the smiling face with arms curved as if in an embrace appeared to me. After I saw it I had difficulty looking at any other part of the photo, it seemed so real.
The following day I was walking in the bush nestled within Sydney’s northern suburbs. All of Sydney’s north seems to be nestled in bush. Green and vibrant with birds and insects and sandstone rock ledges. The thick blackened rock, solid and unmoving overhanging the grassy scrub. Wildflowers now and again pushing up through cracks and reaching toward the sun. I looked at a photo and there it was again. Another face. The same kindly expression smiling at me. I looked back toward the rock. It was still there.
One part of me thinks of Jesi all the time. It’s hard not to. Sometimes I feel guilty and I wonder why I think of her more than I think of Chris or Kari. I answer myself. “Because I talk to them almost every day.” I still wonder, can Jesi really be here when she left us back in Boston. Trust is a hard won prize.
On the same walk I became fascinated by the trunks of the gum trees and started looking for faces in them. They are beautiful trees with colorful trunks, mostly tinged with pink but sometimes blue grey and even green. I wanted a photo and the one I chose had the face of a teddy bear upside down looking at me. That’s Po, I thought. Po went with Jesi when she left us, and for weeks after I missed him too. He had become such a character to me. Jesi bought out the fun in me like that. Making Po’s head turn from her to me as he spoke to us. I don’t think even as a kid I had a bear who I loved as much as Jesi’s Po.
I have been walking in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney this week. I told myself to stop searching for the faces. I was becoming obsessed. Jesi would come to me in her own time and in her own way.
Yesterday I went on an aboriginal walkabout. One woman I spoke to told me she was a shaman. “Oh, I’m interested in shamanic healing” I replied, asking her to tell me more.
Later in the walk when we came across a natural pool meters below the track, I heard her exclaim “There’s a mermaid in there,” and then the response from another in the group, “No, not really.”
I thought, I know I will find one. I peered over the edge and sure enough, glimmering in the water was another face, the dark eyes and mouth glistening in the underwater shadows.
The intensity of my sensing she was with me was enormous. But unlike the times I have sensed her before, yesterday I sensed her in her physical body just as she was when I had planned to do the walk a year ago. Young and healthy and full of life. I felt her with me, perhaps walking behind me, her quiet calm self listening to the walkabout guide as he told us about the indigenous people. I sensed her sitting beside me as I ate my lunch in the enormous sandstone cave. I sensed my concern for her as we clambered down the rocky ledges and along the creek beds and tested our footing on the slippery rocks. I realized how much I miss caring for her…
Then I knew she was flying above me calling out happily “Look at me. Look what I can do. You don’t have to worry about me now…”
Today I walked with a girlfriend in Birdwood Gully. We did the same walk our family did together in June 2013 when Jesi was among us. I wanted to go back to that same cave Jesi had climbed into that day when she had demanded we bring her back to Australia.
This afternoon I climbed into the cave with a small rose quartz heart in my pocket. Rose quartz opens up the heart chakra. It is about love. Dismayed I could not find any place secluded enough to leave it, I climbed higher and higher across a narrow neck of stone. I dropped the stone three or four times before I was able to find a safe place for it. Once it disappeared into the dirt outside the cave. I was finally able to stretch enough to place it on a small ledge high up in the cave. I called down to Robyn, “Jesi would probably laugh if she saw what I was trying to do.”
I remembered how I worried when Jesi had wanted to climb high into the cave, and now I was doing it myself. Something was pushing me outside my comfort zone. I guess perhaps Jesi was not laughing at me after all. I guess perhaps she is still teaching me things.
Something else struck me today while Robyn and I were walking and I was marveling at the enormous trees with their smooth solid trunks. Even if I could not see faces in them, today they all seemed to be smiling down on me.
I guess perhaps then…Jesi is everywhere.