Deborah Buchanan has taught in various venues--at the science museum, in English as a Second Language classes,  in Talented and Gifted workshops, and now as writing instructor at the Pacific NW College of Art in Portland, Oregon. She has been a student of Indian philosophy for over 30 years. The wet moss and dark sky of the NW go with her on her many travels.

  A Thin Sliver at the Door

All he ever needed was the one sliver of air that hovered between the door and the frame. That small space was a persistent invitation. He would look around and make sure no one was in the room, then quietly get up from his chair, turn sideways, and slip through the crack between the heavy oak door and its sash. The room left behind was dark and immobile, everything inert, waiting without expectation or possibility. But once through the door the air changed. It expanded in the light, vibrating. The world was hushed, but with a kind of openness and readiness—something was just about to happen. When he went out, when he slipped through that crack, the world changed and so did he. The resonant hum of the air struck a note of movement in his body and he became more lithe, more supple. And the light–of course, the light–that made all the difference. In the trees the leaves moved gently, dappled by the light. The ground seemed alive, as if it too would burst into motion—iridescent green, chocolate brown, gray-blue in the stones. He heard his own low humming but there were other songs as well, perhaps birds or even insects in the fields, perhaps the echo of a bell from the far buildings. When he was out here he didn’t need anything. Everything felt inviting and reassuring. He never knew how long he was outside, how much time had passed, since he never felt any tug of memory when he was there. He moved and listened and watched. That was all. And that was more than enough. But eventually in the back of his mind a small cloud would begin to gather, pulling him back into its shaded heaviness. The cloud would become bigger and more compelling than the trees or the air and he would turn toward it reluctantly. The cloud became more and more of his vision, what his world was, and he found himself looking for the door, the way back through the crack into the dark, static room. He was never sure how he actually got back in but would suddenly look around, groggily, and realize here he was again. Everything felt heavy. The world was dense. This last time, though, he remembered something—just as he was following the cloud, just as it grew to include him, he held his hand out to the nearest tree and touched the leaves. He pulled some from the lowest branch and held them in his hands. Even back in the room he had them. He looked down and saw their glittering green and inhaled their unnamable smell. He held them and remembered. And he looked up to see that small sliver of air between the door and its frame.