I am back, and I missed you far more than you missed me. I’ll have much more to say about where I have been and what I was doing, of course, but I will say it mostly to those I see on Day One, those dear ones whom I see most Sundays, coming soon.

But now, it is all but the Sabbath and I intend to honor it by honoring you with a Shabbat Shalom, my wish for you.

But not yet.

Today I felt the wind shift again, thank God, because it had—at least the air around me had—become fetid, stifling, filled with a stench brought to me only by myself. It was certainly not from above and it was not from beside (only, ever, always beauty there), and I do not think necessarily that it was from below either.

It was brought by myself upon myself, and God knows that people tried to save me from it. Dearer friends no man deserves, believe me. I do not, cannot recognize the gratitude that I feel for them, and for my dearest friend who can only stand by and watch in horror at the distant storm as it approached me. I understand that standing and watching with great reluctance, but I do.

As for me, well I simply trudged on unaware like an ignorant fool in a film where the audience sees into the next frame, outside or behind the door or down the stairs or just beyond that next tree, and they are shouting “Do not go out there! Run, fool, run like hell because that is what you will find if you open that . . . ”

[creaking, hand on the knob, slowly turning it like a screw until there is a faint click and a pop or a hiss and it is open, wide open into the horror, all of it in spite of their warnings]

But, enough of that until Sunday.

I am back, fluid again, not stuck/not solid, but standing. And I am standing more firmly than ever before. Better, so much better by only the grace of a God so holy that I will write no more of it. Only to say, that I am back.

My last prayer of the day is that you are still here . . . waiting.

Shabbat Shalom

“Three shots from The Painted Lady” © 2018 Timothy Waugh