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I found her in the arms of another woman. She was leading her across the dance floor, guiding her through the steps with that eager, direct, all-comprehending embrace of hers.
Amid the desperate sums of life and death and pleasure and pain, her wide-open eyes – like a horizon – and her forthright, solid hips (child-bearing hips, a friend of mine would say) hold her in suspension somewhere between what she sees and the uneven surface of this earth.
I suspected right away that she was not from here and, sure enough, she confirmed later – when we got to know each other better — that she herself was not sure where she came from.
“I wrote a poem once where I came from a star,” she said.
It was a question to which one day, she admitted, she would like to find the answer. But right now she did not seem to be in any hurry. Right now, she was here.
And here, there is so much for her to know and give. She dances through life, moving from partner to partner with such even-handed grace that no one takes affront. The lovers, men and women, cling to her, lose themselves happily in her world. The frankness of her gift is such that they all understand. She is like a butterfly spreading her kaleidoscope wings: who could take offence at the lovely spreading of those wings that envelop, that delight, that give shelter?
As a child, I once walked through a eucalyptus grove high on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean in a place called Bolinas. There, in those trees, millions of Monarch butterflies clung to each other in silence. They draped themselves over each other like deep-orange garlands until the trees beneath them disappeared. There was no sound in that grove except that of a million butterflies holding onto each other as if their lives depended on it.
She reminded me of that.