Re: Connections
Hotel La Croix du Sud #550
Dakar, Senegal

Last night my connection with Susannah was good enough for her to hear me clearly as I whispered under the sheet to keep from waking Alan and Alioune.

There were three things that she said that touched me very deeply:
The first was when she said that she didn't mind being jealous except that she didn't want her feelings to come between me and my creative work. It's that combination of love and respect for freedom that makes me so sure....

The second thing she said came as I was describing the magnificent Baobao tree that I photographed in the pre-storm light as we drove away from Lac Rose yesterday. She said "Oh, is that the same tree mentioned in The Little Prince?" Before I could say a word, Alan said, "Yes it is! I just read that a minute ago"... but it couldn't have happened exactly that way.

The third thing that she said caused me to ask her, as she lay on her bed, to place her hand on her belly, just below her navel ring, and press.... as if I were there with her in Richmond.

It's interesting that the two ways that a human being can be fully in connection with him or her self are at opposite ends of the spectrum of awareness. A sleeping person or someone utterly insane is just as in touch with spontaneous behaviors and inner forms as a person practicing mindfulness in the early morning. It's all the space between those two poles that gets filled with delusions and awkward behaviors that cause so much misery.

It really does seem as if we are leaving for the bush this morning. There's a bird calling in the dawn light and I have to get up soon to go to Western Union to get the money that Susannah sent yesterday that will make it possible for us to finally check out of this hotel. I also have to figure out a way to reduce what I'm taking down to one small bag if I can. Or else the small off road vehicle that we are renting will be stuffed beyond comfort with all of our things and the bags and bags of dried milk, tea, soap and sugar that I bought to give back to the traditional people of Senegal.

Both Alan and Alioune are clearly awake now although they are still in bed. Alioune did get up, give me a knowing smile and shake my hand before crawling back under his sheet.

For some reason that reminds me that Assane asked me with a sly smile to give him my running shoes before I leave for Paris in ten days. If I do that I'll have to buy new ones if I'm going to run down the Champ E'Lysee to the Arc d'Triumph again as I did the morning before we came here. They are old and as he said that I realized that I'm not attached to them that much. He's an interesting man.

My watchwords recently have been:

Show up
Pay attention
Tell the truth, and
Stay open.

I take these with me into the bush.