the music of jaguars

windy, empty. high clouds diminished the sun. he had been released from prison, they had let him go, and now he was heading out across the desert on the tracks. he had with him just a small bag of few things. he stopped to look up, cirrus spissatus undulatus. wispy, transparent, translucent. there was chance of storm. isolated cirrus clouds do not bring rain, however, large amounts of cirrus clouds can indicate an approaching storm. he knew this from his reading in prison, about the weather, meteorology. what he had studied for discipline of mind. focus. he continued walking. the stark beauty of the high desert was good for him. this was solace. a good place to find and know his separation from prison. he wanted to find family now, hoping there could be something there. thoughts of his daughter had become a dream. without love there is nothing, the rest is commotion. his mind was clearing with hope.

this old truck came down a gravel road which crossed the tracks. ‘mirror mountain mine’ was painted on its side. the driver saw him and stopped on the tracks. speaking out to him when he was near, when he approached, he asked where he was going. they said a few things, and then the man in the truck, a silver haired man, offered to have him over for a meal. he took the offer and got in. the man driving the truck was staying at the closed down mine out here, keeping an eye on things and looking things over. maybe they would open it up again, maybe not. there were many things to consider. the geology had to be studied and understood. ordovician strata. the rock formation that held the sapphires. how deep it went into the earth. men had mined sapphires here for many years now, sapphires famous around the world for their color. extraordinary blue. a color nowhere else to be found. the silver haired man would determine what was best, what they could do with the mine. and while he was here he worked on a piece of music. it was a great piece of music that he had always wanted to compose, that was a part of him. a very important thing. he was glad to have run into this man walking the tracks, they talked easily. but he did not want to know too many things about him, it was good sometimes to let people be and just pass something on.

the silver haired man prepared a simple meal for his guest. roasted wild pig he had captured in the desert, some tasty potatoes, and light greens he had grown in a lovely little garden. they had figs and cheese afterwards with some wine. the guest looked around while he sat and noticed various musical instruments lying around the room, on the table were papers with music written on them. “so you are creating music?” said the guest. “yes. it is wonderful. it is all I want to do now,” he explained some things about his life and about the music and then he gave a simple explanation of its composition, pointing to the various components written on paper. rhythm and counterpoint, harmonies and contours. it was clearly and cleverly described and the guest could sense its movement, the heart of it, “what inspired this?” he asked. “what we cannot love,” the silver haired man said. “what we lost?” “no, what we have not found but could have a love for.” “miracles,” said his guest.

a jaguar hide hung on the wall, from when there were jaguars here a century ago. the big cats. stalking their prey on the rocky plateaus and in the small wooded valleys. “what did they mine here”, asked his guest. “sapphires”, said the silver haired man, “sapphires are known to be in holy visions you know,” and he scribbled something down on paper, “they are a reflection of heaven, of our origin.” the guest turned his eyes to the jaguar hide. he was quite amazed at its pattern and radiance of color, magnificent though it had lived a century ago, “the jaguars must have their own music,” he said. the power and grace of their bodies played out in their feline minds. it was a beautiful thing to say and the silver haired man appreciated it, knowing this man had struggled through something deeply, and was rising over it.

in the late afternoon they went out and the silver haired man showed his guest around the mine, revealing its workings, its history. the men and machines that sought after these sapphires, bringing them out of their eternal darkness into the light, to see their color. the silver haired man brought him deep underground and they shared their thoughts on the mysteries of their lives, the precious details that make us who we are, great and small. what measures us and takes us apart, and the silver haired man would sing his song. when they came out again the sun was richer, fuller. then the man from prison went on his way along the tracks after giving his thanks.

the pain of loss and regret lifted up to the high altitudes of his mind, into the oncoming storms of god and mercy, cleansing storms. he was stepping into life with tenderness and conviction. panthera onca, jaguars were in his shadows. jaguars must have their music too, he said to himself, to be everything they had to be. my daughter, her eyes are sapphires…and she sees me coming.