He stands before a gaping wound in the earth. Sun beats down, waiting, beating with the drums, waiting.
Women and men heft an elder upon their shoulders, struggling, sweat, strain, hope, waiting.
At the wound is the center, and the elder, its life given, waits to fill it, waits to heal it.
Drums. A chant. A man doesn’t know why, doesn’t ask why. He holds a rod of wood, his breath streaming through it, wind from flesh resonating, making wood sing, waiting.
Across the abyss that waits, waits to be repaired, the wound that waits to be healed as the drums wait, beating, as the women and men heft and struggle, waiting, is a woman, waiting.
She wields jade, a bowl, and it sings in her hand. She stares across the pit at the man, the man who stares at her.
They are suddenly one, as are those who carry the weight of life upon their shoulders, as are those who wait between the beat of drum.
The man plays, the woman plays, the drums play. Wails, shouts, all is about to break, all is about to be made whole. The man sees the woman, he sees other women, he sees other men, men he has loved, men he loves, men who loved and love men he has loved and loves and will love, men he hopes to love. He sees sweat on a beautiful brow, he sees eyes from a mountain, he sees eyes seeing something distant, something he wishes to look at too, something he thinks he will one day see, see maybe with those same eyes.
And then all is broken, all is made whole, and the pole is raised, the rift is healed, the hole is filled, and all is suddenly one, all is suddenly new, all is suddenly now again, now and always again, now and always now.
And there is no longer any waiting.