ashes-and-snow @2005 Gregory Colbert. All rights reserved

Ashes & Snow

Нямам спомен, как така се сетих за този проект … парченце чиста поезия, красота в простотата и голотата, в мълчанието и съзерцанието, в началото и края, в любовта, такава, каквато едвам си спомняме, че е… но сърцето понякога се сепва и си спомня за Дома. За това, че всичко и всички сме свързани. С едно начало.

Нямам спомен, да съм го гледала с тези очи и чула с това сърце, но то си спомни… свободата.

Нямам спомен от дъжда днес, а лицето ми е мокро.

* * *

Letter 1

“To the Princess of the Elephants.

I disappeared exactly one year ago today. On that day I received a letter. It called me back to the place where my life with the elephants began.

Please forgive me, for the silence between us has been unbroken for one year.

This letter breaks that silence. It marks the first of my three hundred and sixty-five letters to you, one for each day of silence.

I will never be more myself than in these letters.

They are my maps of the bird path, and they are all that I know to be true.”

* * *
Letter 7

“In the beginning of time, the skies were filled with flying elephants. Too heavy for their wings, they sometimes crashed through the trees and frightened other animals.

All the flying grey elephants migrated to the source of the Ganges. They agreed to renounce their wings and settle on the earth. When they molted, millions of wings fell to the earth, the snow covered them, and the Himalayas were born.

The blue elephants landed in the sea and their wings became fins. They are whales, the trunkless elephants of the oceans. Their cousins are the manatees, the trunkless elephants of the rivers.

The chameleon elephants kept their wings but agreed never again to land on the earth. They change the colors of their feathers every day. Today they are azure, and when it rains they are the color of pearls.

When they go to sleep, the chameleon elephants always lie down in the same place in the sky and dream with one eye open. The stars you see at night are the unblinking eyes of sleeping elephants, who sleep with one eye open to best keep watch over us.”

* * *
Letter 68

“A pod of whales was lying like long recycling Buddhas on the sea.
My sister and I put our ears to the bottom of the boat so we could listen to their songs.

We turned to my grandfather and asked, ‘What do their songs mean?’

‘The whales do not sing because they have an answer,’ he said.
‘They sing because they have a song.'”

* * *
Letter 74

“I still have the first letter that you wrote to me. I carry it like a garden in my pocket.

If you come to me at this moment
Your minutes will become hours
Your hours will become days
And your days will become a lifetime.

I am never sure if I am reading the letter or if the letter is reading me.”

* * *

“I saw promises I did not keep

wounds I did not heal

tears I did not share

lovers I left behinde

dreams I did not live.

I saw all that was offered to me that I could not accept.
I saw the letters I wished for but never received.

I saw all that could have been
but never will be.”

* * *
Letter 77

“Man has been walking the earth for millions of years, but the first letter was written only six thousand years ago… Who was the man or woman who finally decided that the tongue was not enough? … Were they trying to restore the sacredness of words by writing them down? … Now, thousands of years after the first letter was written, the purity of written words has almost completely perished… Maybe there is a way to speak to you through the lens of my camera about a world without words.”

* * *
Letter 84

“An elephant with his trunk raised is a ladder to the stars.
A breaching whale is a ladder to the bottom of the sea.
My photographs are a ladder to my dreams.
These letters are ladders to you.”

* * *
Letter 86

“My imagined edens have no words. Images, unlike words, can speak of silence without breaking it… The subject’s eyes are closed in the images of my books of eden… Only when the eyes are looking inward can you see the edens within.”

* * *
Letter 88

“I’m struggling in relearning what I knew as a child that enabled me to see animals with clear eyes. Without that clarity even my ears seem to miss much of the sublime music of nature… What a lonely species we have become.
The longer I watch the savannah elephants,
the more I listen,
the more I open.
They remind me of who I am…
May the guardian elephants hear my wish to collaborate with all the musicians of nature’s orchestra.
I want to join the dance that has no steps.
I want to become the Dance.”

* * *
Letter 184

“A compass and a pen can give you a reading on the lay of the river, but no mechanical instrument can measure the motion of the heart… One day, when you have crossed your last river, you will stand before an elephant who will measure the value of your life not by how many miles you have traveled and how much you have seen, but rather by how much you have loved.”

* * *
Letter 239

“When I look up at the sky, I see the eyes of flying elephants.
They all have one name.
Wonder.”

* * *
Letter 362

“The fate of all birds is to fall, but the phoenix is the only bird that transcends her own death…
The fate of man is to fall, but some find a way to transcend their deaths. In this brief moment on earth, they succeeded in singing their song. The list of human birds of phoenix is long: [ … ]
There are millions of men and women who are also birds of phoenix, whose stories are unknown… but whether they are known or unknown, man or elephant, all phoenixes share the same dance:

Feather to Fire
Fire to Blood
Blood to Bone
Bone to Marrow
Marrow to Ashes
Ashes to Snow.”

“…what matters is not what is written on the page
what matters is what is written in the heart…”

Ashes and Snow: A Novel in Letters“, by Gregory Colbert

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