Belly of Whale

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): In an old Star Trek episode, a 24th-century starship captain is weighed down by a knotty problem about how to deal with two of her enemies who are at war with each other. Unable to come up with a viable solution, she retreats to the holodeck, where virtual reality technology can create a convincingly real rendition of any desired scene. Where does she go for advice? She seeks out Leonardo da Vinci in his 16th-century studio. Once she has outlined her dilemma, Leonardo offers his counsel: “When one’s imagination cannot provide an answer, one must turn to a greater imagination.” This is my advice to you right now, Capricorn.

A challenge to myself, or is it an invitation? Fifteen minute fast-write, responding to my horoscope in this case. OK, Breszny, you’re on. And you’re right. I need to turn to a greater imagination. What would that be like? What have I not allowed myself to imagine? All the little ticky-tacky boxes in my mind, telling me where to put each part of myself, some scrappy and beat-up, others pretty all tied-up in bows, no going back, no deleting, no erasing or editing, just keep writing, keep the pen moving or your fingers or whatever it is channeling the words as they come. A greater imagination. A heart opening. A mouth opening. A genie coming out a bottle. A magic flying carpet ride with my girls over the contours of the green mountains, all summer lush. A pause, a breath. Now what? Hands moving fast over keys, over curves. An orange moon between two clouds, a new moon coming, a new year coming, the Book of Life yawning open, swallowing me into its belly where I face myself, where I consider the turning called for by this season, what words need speaking and what silences need shattering.

All of this, in just five minutes, leaving me ten more. And an imagination that needs to grow full like the moon. A quieting, after the quake and the tears. A shower, cold water startling the body back from its quick journey. A backbone, a breastbone, lungs and belly expanding and contracting. A haze covering my greater imagination, a habit, words and struggles compulsively packed away. What if I brought them all, every single last wooden peach create and plastic milk crate and falling-apart moving box and every K-Mart moving bin and hauled them away, filled the car up to its ceiling and drove to the Chittenden Solid Waste drop-off on Patchen Road and let the whole past go? Turned toward the future, turned during this season of turning towards a greater imagination freed from old stories?

And now, with five minutes left, I feel myself slowing. Inhale, exhale, my hair dripping water down my back, arms strong from a summer of push-ups. And I know I’m getting ready for the Book to open, getting ready for my review and getting ready to turn myself around, like the girls all spinny in the living room falling dizzy to the floor laughing, self-induced vertigo that makes what was so familiar begin to look new.

Image: “Belly of Whale,” Jonathan Marshall


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