Saturday, August 19, 2006

An interesting woman

Quite often up at Mount St. Benedict I observe people who appear to be 'on a different plane'. Some might say 'madness' or 'drugs'. Sometimes they look peaceful, bothering no-one. Sometimes I am wary, not knowing if they would suddenly turn and react in an unexpected way. Sometimes they've given me the shivers - from something they've said to me or simply from the way they move and look at me. Sometimes I think they look as if they have elevated themselves into a spiritual dimension and gone beyond what is considered 'sanity' on the earthly plane.

Some of them quote the Bible constantly. Some of them talk loudly to invisible people about God. Some of them say nothing, but their stare has that 'religious' quality to it. Did they simply (one day or over a period of time) access or escape to a heightened point of awareness or another realm from which they could not or did not want to return?

Yesterday we took the children from the video project up to the forested areas of Mount St. Benedict to do some shooting. Around midday we went to the little cafeteria by the church to have lunch. We were going to let the children sit on the benches, but I noticed a man sitting there, gesticulating wildly to no apparent person and muttering something repeatedly ... so decided to let them sit elsewhere. They sat in the snackette area eating (and making noise as usual) and Nic and I sat on benches nearby (glad to get a break from the constant chatter). While we were eating and doing a post mortem on the project, I noticed a woman in an oversize checkered green and white dress walking near to my car, which was one of a few vehicles in the large carpark. Her large dress, shorn head, bare feet, repetitive actions and focused stare at 'nothing' struck me as stereotypical prerequisites for the label 'mad'.

At one point she circled my car once - deliberately, it seemed. I said to myself: "What is she doing?" She then went a few feet behind the car and started to do what looked like a ritual. She made a complete 360 degree revolution, in the process raising her right arm to the sky, as if saluting the sun, then bending and touching it to the ground - a few times as she made her revolution. Looking at her, I felt that I was watching a movie ... a reverent scene of a pagan-ritual-to-honour-Nature.

She then started to walk back and forth from the toilet to a patch of grass near the wall overlooking the mountains. She was holding a small plastic bottle with what looked like a purple grape juice label on it. Every time she went to the ladies' she would refill the bottle with water, walk over to the patch of grass and water it. She kept doing this for about fifteen minutes, back and forth, quietly purposeful, unwavered by nothing. Not even the children (who had since finished lunch and were running around shrieking wildly, often across her path) seemed to distract her. She stared straight ahead at 'nothing' and stuck to her path. The only time she ever stopped to do anything else was to stoop and gently pat a mother dog and her two pups - twice when they happened to walk before her. It was as though people did not exist. Only Nature did.

This morning I thought about the woman when I woke up. No doubt she is psychologically classifed as 'mad', but ... I wonder about what she sees, feels and knows ... and about the deeper meanings behind her ritualistic actions and movements (i.e. from her perspective). If I had to translate what I saw yesterday, I would say, on its simplest level, that the unwavering message she gave was about nurturing, caring and love.


Blogger Webgrl said...

maybe she got fed up of people - so fed up that she no longer sees them. Sometimes i wish i could do that......sometimes....
or see certain ones.
Man...being 'mad' might be so liberating!

11:54 AM  

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