Live your life in widening circles that reach out across the world. -Rainer Maria Rilke
The sound of Hindu spirit bells reverberated in my chest. I knew I’d never forget this moment. The scent of incense wafting up from around the bells, prayers of the Indian people. It was a moment full of color. Not because of the well-used bells or the temple built from stone. Nor because of the colorful Hindu masks or the deep greens of the foliage at the top of the hill, protecting the sacredness of the temple. A picture flashes through my mind’s eye. Color. Every color of the rainbow, waving in the twisting ashes of incense. Fabric. Scarves. Saris. In a land of dusty roads and bare feet, there was color.
Yes, that is what I remember. I remember the women of India. I remember the hope in the color of their scarves and their saris. I remember their bare feet that walked miles in a day and their worn hands that worked hours in the heat. Although they are considered lower in the caste system compared to men, they walked with dignity. I remember looking into the eyes of silent women and seeing strength. But how could I forget something as deep as hope, something so rare as strength in the desert? Among the whirring of the bells, the painted temples, the beeping of omnibus horns and the scents of curry, I could never forget the look of calm in the chaos.
If you sat down with me today over a cup of coffee near my home in America, I would tell you that my world holds more color because of India. Every space that I step into, I feel the strength and the color of those women standing behind as if to say they have my back, that the burden on my shoulders is not quite so heavy as it is shared by them and the women who have gone before us. Every once in a while, I step into a space that holds their presence already, a place where India stands behind me and before me. Sometimes the space is a home of a friend, sometimes it is a local shop in a small town, selling Fair Trade. I can never find it in my heart to leave those places. They are more home to me than home. They awaken the color that now lives inside me and how could I not walk away without a small token? I have stood in Intermezzo Gallery fingering the sari fabric of an Indian scarf for minutes, relishing the flavor of India in an American town. The truth about places like this is that they widen my circle of life, they bridge the gap of an ocean so that I can support the women in other countries whose backs are burdened just as much as mine and more. I can stand on American soil, the land of the free, the land of women unbound by a caste, and I can thank the women of another country and maybe, just maybe, I can give something back to them for all of the color and life they have given to me.
August 6, 2016 by Nakita Bickle
9/8/2016 06:23:14 am
Each time I enter Intermezzo I am taken to other cultures through the beautiful art and goods from other countries while at the same time I am rooted firmly in my American homeland as I gaze at all the artwork and handcrafted goods of American artists. The combination of these works makes me realize how connected we all are in our endeavors to express ourselves and our love df life, speaking from our hearts in our works of art. These lovely words written by Nakita ground me and bring me joy, peace and gratitude as I sit in my home and dream of the next time I will be in Intermezzo.
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