Sansaku: The Hum
If Hollywood wrote the script, Dow would have panicked and looked like a blind and naked fool running in circles. He’d probably stub a toe or fall in a cactus before he came to his senses. It’s not what Dow did.
He was sitting in the very center of a beautiful living cathedral. Maybe because of his distorted eyes which saw in shades instead of detail, it looked all the more magnificent in the way the empty space of a Chinese landscape painting expands to include imagination.
If Moses heard, “Take your shoes off, you’re on holy ground.” Dow didn’t need to be told. His were already off. He could swear his feet were talking. “Finally, free.” They seemed to have a consciousness all of their own. He remembered how he felt as a young child.
Dow would be learning a lot from them in the days to come. He’d be learning a lot from a number of things he had once thought impossible.
He wasn’t in a hurry because he had nowhere to go. You could also say he had finally arrived and didn’t want to leave. Dow set up a fire ring not far from the plunge pool and slowly began to explore.
He had found a slight overhang to protect him from the weather and a perfect spot to sleep. No monk had ever been granted a better cell. It had the feeling of a time machine.
Because of the towering walls and the narrowness of the canyon floor, the place was mostly bathed in shadow, although a liquid light flowed golden through the canyon. Dow thought he could see into this slowly moving light and accidentally hypnotized himself.
There was that damn dream-being and it was smiling in a way Dow didn’t like. That’s when everything shifted. Dow said, “Who are you?”
He held the question in his mind and the image seemed to notice. It was very weird and Dow knew it. But he chose to relate and said, “What do you want with me?” And then he heard it speak, “You’re the one who called. What do you want with me?”
The Moai are the massive stone sculptures on Easter Island and the canyon was full of gigantic ones. Just downstream from where he was camped, the wash turned a curve and kept on curving. It almost formed a circle before it curved away in the opposite direction.
Right in the center of the circle was a Moai. Dow couldn’t focus clearly, but studied it from a number of angles and found his favorite spot. Normal vision puts everything into human scale and acts as the glue to hold normal reality together. It’s why things can happen at night that can’t happen during the day. Dow was using those other senses.
Dahl had taken Em to this very spot and they were camped where Dow now camped. They spent hours and days in the presence of the magnificent monument. Em had found a piece of alabaster and carefully carved a totem. When she finished, she planted it deep in the sand like a seed. She took comfort in knowing it was there.
That’s when she had the dream. She found herself holding the totem and remembered she had buried it. This brought her to lucidity and she looked up to see the sacred stone temple. The rock was vibrating with a very low frequency and she could feel it in her bones.
It made a low humming sound and when she woke she could still feel and hear it. Slightly tipping her head and being very quiet on the inside, she could tune her body to amplify the mysterious hum. But it went away when the sun touched the rimrock.
Later that day she heard it again and when she tilted her head to tune into the sound, Dahl noticed and said, “You’ve heard it, haven’t you?”