The Elevator Is Stuck

UNTITLED, 1999, 20″ – 25″ x 3″ (varies), ceramic, steel

I was brought up in the suburbs of Detroit.

I never learned how to be a neighbor

Because I didn’t have to.

We lived in ‘auto-executive-manicured-lawn-land’

And I took cues from my parents as they slid

Conveniently behind trees

At the sight of another human

In order not to connect.

I realized that I now know exactly how to gather my TRIBE.

I know what a tribe is

And I know who is in mine.

The startling recognition of tribal members

Can come in an instant

Or after years of tending a relationship.

These are people

I would still be curious about;

Spiritually, emotionally or mentally fed by

Even after spending a week with them

Stuck in a tiny elevator.

These are people I remain ever interested in.

Could never know all there is to know.

Believe me, my tribe is quite small.

How does one gather a tribe?

For me.. I notice how my body feels when in the company of a person; defended? safe? electric? familiar? open? wary?

Then, over time, I gauge the distance between their heart and mine;

How far have we moved together?

Are they friends with their own shadow so I can trust them with mine?

Can they see the largest part of me and remind me of her when I forget?

If I tell them my truth about something, can I count on the intent to give a thoughtful reply or will I get a ‘reaction’ we may never recover from?

Do they know their own worth and share it generously with me and others?

Is an intimate sense of the sacred in all Life of value to them?

Can I cry and laugh with abandon in their company without reservation?

Is there a distinct feeling of luxury in their company? Gratitude?

Very, very occasionally someone will appear

Who I recognize instantly

As a part of my clan.

A meeting such as this

Has the feeling of ‘everything of significance known’

And all that’s left to do is enjoy the theater of the thing.

My tribe includes humans, yes.

But also a dog and a particular tree I adore which is very alive to me.

(Did I just lose you?)

I’ll offer no apology.

If the elevator should become stuck

I’ll have no regrets, what so ever…


One Response to “The Elevator Is Stuck”

  1. gerry harty on September 7th, 2011

    cathy…this says it all!!!..I also know who I want on my stuck elevator…and a dog would also be on there along with my 4 adult children and some close friends also some great wine!!! …thank you so much for saying it so much better than I ever could!!! xoxo

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