1853 C. BRONT Villette xxiii, She stood, not dressed, but draped in pale…
I came back from NYC on Thursday. As usual, the flight was delayed, and I returned to my house sometime in the late evening, 11:15. I worked for a bit, getting myself set up for the next day, an early rising.
I opened up the windows to air out the studio of the old school house on Queen Anne, where I live. And went to bed.
At about 3.00 am, I rose to work again.
A wind moved through the hilltop trees and you could smell the scent of storm, warm and electrical. It was then that she came.
While I was working at the computer, sitting there in the space, orchids weaving, old Javanese wayang in the stands slightly turning, candles flickering, there was another flash — and almost instantly, there was the boom of thunder. Proximity focused my attention to the outside, the breeze reaching to my bare skin.
Then, there was another flash — and just then, I looked out the wide windows of the space, into the black — and she was there, shocking in the blinding light, a floating figure, a woman. Beautiful, reaching out, or teaching, or offering something with an upraised hand, beckoning — the other hand almost resting on the sill, outside — three stories up.
It was like she was in the water, her hair floating around her, and she was sheathed in a gauzy, diaphanous fabric, her body naked in the instant light. Her eyes were light. The shadows of the brilliant illumination were starkly contrasting in the momentary movement — the sensing that she was there. Then, vanished in the dark.
What was the revealing? To the moment, I was so shocked that I was chilled, my skin, gooseflesh and pebbled like a shark; I couldn’t believe what I’d seen. Yet there she was, in my mindseye. A ghost. A wraith. A spirit. Unforgettable.
My mother asked, what was she? I thought, at the moment — Death, in an angel. Then, she was too light for death, too bright, too beautiful. Life, in an angel.
A friend said — draw her. I did. Here are four variations.
Shown in lightning, she’s there, spirit found, reaching. What is the story? What is her story? What is my story?
Pay attention. Tune in. Listen to her, in you.
Who do you think she is?