Upshot, Rimshot (Gauri Story, Part III)

Ahhh. I’m starting to get it, now.  It’s so poetic. Long has the influence of Shiva been a driver in my life. In fact, after two months in an Ashram devoted to both the Divine Mother and an incarnation of Shiva called Babaji, I treated myself to a little statue of Nataraj, the aspect of Shiva dancing the universe in and out of existence, a perpetual, cyclical dance of creation and destruction. The purpose of this little Divine dervish was to place it prominently on the dashboard of my car, Gauri. (Gauri is one of many names for Shiva’s consort, often known as Parvati, though I did not make that specific association with Parvati as much as with her aspect as white mountain goddess.) For the next four months, I rode around inside Gauri, gazing at Shiva.  Gauri, or Shakti, is the feminine aspect of the Divine–she is the manifest, form, energy, the physical universe ( as well as its container, the void). Shiva is the potential, the idea, the impulse, the power, the mover.

“Yes, yes, Michou,” you say. “Reel yourself in. What happened with the car?”

Okay. At the end of our last episode, our heroine had just left Gauri at Collision One. I’m sorry; even that is poetic. Here we have this dance of Shiva, with universes and planets and people and ideas all careening around colliding, even as they are part of this absolutely perfect and unfathomable Unity….

But anyway, with the car so stowed, my attention turned to chasing down all the details. A near two week phone call campaign commenced to track down the elusive officer who reported having my license plate.  I began the ongoing mop-up after the breach of my email, which required wiping the computer, and then tracking down what was lost in the process. And I generally watched this and other bureaucratic pursuits dominate the next week, and noticed myself descending into an enervated malaise.

Soon enough I realized that, in addition to all these worldy disruptions, I was now entering the gravitational field of  the anniversary of my mother’s death, which, the previous year, had plowed a swath of stupefaction through my life about a fortnight wide, with its “epicenter” being Mother’s Day weekend, which coincided with the May 14 death anniversary. This acknowledged, I just stopped trying to even pretend composure, competence or contentment. I just let myself be cranky as any two year old who shouldn’t be expected to play grown up with cops, hard-ass insurance adjusters, and the like!  That of course made it easier to do so when I had to.

By week’s end, it looked like the final repair parts would be in by the following Monday, and, for better or worse, I might have the Subaru back by the end of the following week. I redoubled my efforts to recover that rear license plate, now that it looked like I might actually need it. And by mid week, after handily earning my Squeaky-Wheel Scout Badge and filling up my 108-Ways to Creatively Love Anyway stamp book, I had at last received a call from fabled (and apologetic) officer Matt Hannum; and, once assured that I my car had been recovered, he had kindly delivered the plate to my door. I confess, after all the build up, his arrival felt rather like that of a dashing knight, as he was a quite adequately handsome young fellow. (Though, I do have to say the steeds of the Albuquerque Police force look more like Holstein-Friesians-colored sharks then regal and noble steam-snorting stallions.)

Empowered now with the the ticket to drive my car legally again, I inquired into the progress at Collision One. Word was that the detailer’s best shot had not been able to adequately attenuate Gauri’s unfortunate slaughterhouse bouquet. They were investigating costs of removing carpets and replacing all upholstery. Uh-oh. Thus ensued a couple of days of phone triangulation which, diagrammed, would look like an awesome, 11-point-bounce billiards move, and gave me the opportunity to appreciate how little I appreciated the humorless and patronizing insurance agent assigned to my claim, and how much I appreciated everyone else in comparison.  When the phone flurry stopped, it had been decided that poor Gauri was to be declared a total loss under the biohazard provision. Oy.

What a Yo-yo ride.  It really began to sound like a 21-century urban retelling of the parable of the farmer, his horse(s), his son, his son’s leg, and the army, with the villagers as the Greek chorus of Yeah, Awww, Yeah, Awwww, Yeah. Awww, and the farmer all along simply saying, “Maybe.”       Don’t know it? Here’s a link or two:

So today, for better or worse, the deed is done.  I went to Collision One, and there was Gauri, such a dignified specimen of 1997-Legacy-hood, gleaming white and matronly in my gaze, fonder for the absence.  I noted pangs of regret about some sort of imagined disrespect for consigning her to salvage for just a bad smell. They’d left her doors wide open in anticipation of my arrival, so the smell wasn’t really that bad. Another pang.  I mentioned it to the guy, and he was kind enough to reassure me, not only with his words, but with his expression and energy, that I could be assured it had been much worse –baaad– when he first opened it and drove it today.  I thanked him for that.

All that was left was for them to extract my after-market stereo and remove that front license plate from the rear. I rescued three surviving CD’s from the visor, my Ganesha from the front bumper, my jumper cables from the tire well; and it was over. I signed the little red case folder, handed them my key and left the Legacy behind. I noted also, in this final meeting, a second linguistic hint about this story’s gifts and teachings. Opposite the word Legacy on the Subaru’s rear flank was the imprint from the car lot from whom I bought her. Umberto’s. Umber: from the Middle English, shadow, something that, though having no substance, follows us around, created by our own mass (thickness, heaviness).  Of course, according to the lore, only those alive have shadows, and the latin root umbre actually meant earth.  But I figured that these positive aspects I could embrace in what beckoned me from the rear of my rented Corolla, whose Utah plates were emblazoned with the iconic red stone arch and the slogan Life Elevated.

I’ll take it.

And so, I drove off, admiring and applauding the pregnant clouds rupturing along the Northern ridge Sandia Mountains. It might actually rain here in drought-land, I thought, wash us all clean.  The heaviness now was in the air, and welcome.


Later it did rain. And in that euphoric ease and beatitude that the wake of any torrential rain squall brings the negative-ion-deprived desert dweller, I drove home relishing each crisp, curt splash of my my tires scoring a puddle.

I paused at a corner, where the street sign read Faith Court, and the Church sign ahead reminded me, all too aptly, “It is not for you to know.” (Acts 1:1 11).

(And moreover, Ascension would be Thursday at 7!  But not to worry, Sunday school was still be held at 9 and 10 am Sunday, so someone would still be here.)

Yes. It is not for me to know. I can see much, but how little I know for sure is the only certainty.  And I find myself in my life at the intersection of Faith Court. In this court, haplessly, habitually, I keep objecting and evading as I ply and plead my case, making as if God is on trial here and I am the plaintiff.  But this chambers is really nothing but an advocacy for Faith. Perhaps the Court of Faith is better envisioned as a sport court, a venue in which I cultivate my skill and muscle of Faith. Life is a contact sport, and Faith is the ground rule.

Sublime Days…though inscrutable; so, the mind squirms and spits like a pinned cat. Yet,  ineluctably, despite the warped lens of mentation, Evolution will have its way. She will have her way. Dance Nataraja dance.


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