(photograph by Matthew Preiser, words by Edomyas Solomon)
Welcome! Welcome to the party! We have been waiting for you, and I am here to tell you it will be an adventure...such a wonderful adventure.
But, it will take some time to gain your bearings. Very soon, you will be inundated by fantastical tales about what is and what is not. They will leave you groggy and confused. Everyone you meet will have very particular views, strongly held opinions, and a bundle of beliefs which they will claim to be the truth...or else! It will be up to you to filter through the chaos, to listen to yourself, to stand firmly on your own feet, and then soar into the sky and rejoice.
Along the way, you will feel trapped by time. You will feel the pressure of history...others' history that you will be told you need to carry as your own. You will feel the weight of a gloomy future, born out of the limitations of a past that was never yours to begin with. You will be tempted to take a bite into time...and you will bite, knowing the only way to tell whether it tastes good or not is to sink your teeth into it. You will learn that for every piece that satiates your taste buds, there is one that is putrid and sour. Your dissatisfaction will turn into a painful yearning for something else. Do not fret. Just pay close attention to each and every moment just the way it appears. It will take you on a voyage beyond time and teach you about the real you...the wondrous, infinite you.
Some will want you to believe that you live behind a fence and that there is no way around it. They will tell you this is how it has always been and how it will always be. You will find this story of perpetual imprisonment unbearable and you will do whatever it takes to be free. You will not stop until you realize there is no fence but just a shadow, and you will walk through it with your head held high. Then, you will come to know your eternal freedom as the only truth and you will not be able to resist skipping down the road in delight.
Some will want to convince you there are monsters lurking under the blanket. You will have some sleepless nights but you will find out these too are just illusions, created by the blind reciting stories about what they have heard from others. You will encounter a few that do have their eyes open. You will recognize them because of their desire to help you see for yourself and to not bore you with stories about what they have seen. Once you see clearly, you will believe your eyes only and you will know the joy of helping others see for themselves.
There will be some long days, dreary and endlessly grey, when you will feel like your boat will never come ashore, when you will believe that you will be consumed by the dark before you have finished your stroll through the woods, when you feel as though you will never find your home. But, you will find the strength to stay the course until your humble vessel, the tumultuous seas and the calm waters, the coarse gravel and the soft sands, the trees and their ancient silence, the wind and the whispers it carries, all become your home.
You will know yourself as the blank canvas, inviting and open, upon which you will splash the vibrant colors you will call your life. You will know yourself as the mother of light and the father of dark but you will not be bound by one or the other. You will learn to just play, to sing and dance, to draw, paint, erase, and to begin again. You will laugh at why it took you so long to remember and how far you had to travel to just come back to yourself.
And then, one day, you will recall writing this letter to yourself...wondering how you should sign it...and deciding to simply say...