by cheri block sabraw
Life has a way of delivering messages to us if only we will listen, and not talk, blowing our wind for all to hear.
Events, thoughts, people intersect our lives in perfect timing if only we will notice.
Here in Nova Scotia, I finished a long piece of ancient poetry first written during the Old Babylonian period (1800-1600 B.C.E.) called The Epic of Gilgamesh.
The characters, some historical and some mythological, could be people you know today with the same desires and frailties—love and lust, friendship and betrayal, hope and despair.
Here in Nova Scotia, Hurricane Bill lashes the coastline, grounds planes, and rips Canadian flags off their poles.
And the modern characters, from airline agents to hotel personnel, behave in ways similar to Gilgamesh, Enkidu, and the Guardian of the Cedar Forest, Humbaba.
The common thread delivering the message here in Nova Scotia is the wind.
Listen and stop blowing wind.
Consider these magnificent lines spoken by Gilgamesh, a young virile king, to his new, and only friend, Enkidu:
Who, my friend, can ascend to the Heavens?
Only the Gods can dwell forever with Shamash (the Sun God)
As for human beings, their days are numbered
and whatever they keep trying to achieve is but wind.
Contrast his description of Humbaba:
His roar is a flood.
His mouth is fire.
His breath is Death.
Note the use of the preposition but in Gilgamesh’s statement. To him, human achievement pales when compared with the power of Humbaba to evoke floods, fire, and Death.
And while wind can be invigorating and cleansing, it can also diffuse toxins or bad odors, carrying them down wind for us to breathe and smell.
Humans are full of wind, some of it pure electric energy, but most of it blowing babble.
Hurricane Bill hit today, our flights were canceled, and in the process of trying to find a way home, I listened to airline agents from four different carriers, all but one, full of empty wind, the type that blows and then quiets the sail, rendering the boat impotent.
Stop talking and listen.
Gilgamesh fears Death after his friend Enkidu dies and decays, so he travels to the land of Utanapishtim the Faraway, the only man who has been granted eternal life.
Utanapishtim sees Gilgamesh and says:
Look there! The man (the youth) who wanted eternal life!
Sleep (like a fog) blew over him.
Utanapishtim’s wife says:
Touch him, let the man awaken.
Let him return safely by the way he came.
Let him return to his land by the gate through which he left.
I listened to Utanapishtim this morning.
He booked us on a flight at 6:30 am home.
Most stranded are here until Thursday.