The Ladder

Every full moon at midnight
 In the dark, pine, forest
Through an especially dense thicket of trees
Behind a rickety, old, abandoned house, that looks as if it’s been swallowed up by vines…

      It appears
              A ladder
                    As tall as the sky itself

/

And every full moon I climb
Up, up, up, to the heavens
Through the thick pillows of clouds
Holding onto the rough wooden slats
One hand in front of the other
Never looking down
Until night becomes day
And I find myself in The Enchanted Room

I meet the most wonderful people there
Figures from history, Marilyn Monroe, Abraham Lincoln, Frida Kahlo,
They are all dressed in masks for the dance,
Marilyn Monroe wears a rabbit mask, Frida, a colorful feathered one with the symbol of a monkey on the forehead, Abraham always looks dapper in a simple black Venetian frame

You see, each night is a party,
A sophisticated black-tie affair,
A masquerade ball of cloaked spirits,
A rotating blur of clasped-hand-dancers spinning across the floor

And there I am –
A guest to the most extraordinary festivities
Feeling both fortunate and a fraud
Who am I to be here?
Why was I – the only living mortal – invited? Led here that first fateful evening by the light of the moon?
Beneath my mask, I am not someone of note, I am not in the history books, I am not exceptional in any particular way. I am just an ordinary person. The only thing extraordinary about me, is that I’m here, in this enchanted place.

All these people, these spirits,
They have such wisdom, so many stories, and I – well, I have my ears to listen – but no stories of great measure. But oh, how their stories thrill me!

After a night of dancing and fascinating conversation, I climb back down the ladder
Down, down, down, to solid ground
To earth, to things familiar,
To things mundane,
To memories, and worries, to little pains that prick at the heart, to a running list of things undone and things to repair and things to do, to hopes and quiet dreams, and wordless fantasies, to the steady rhythm of my heartbeat, and the beauty of the forest surrounding me, to thoughts of friends and family, and all those living on this ground that make me happy to return, back through the forest and to my house, where I slip inside the front door quietly, careful not to wake the others. My family. How I love them.

How lucky I am to share a life with the ones I love here on Earth.

And I think…“Perhaps the ordinary is extraordinary.”

Maybe that’s the story I bring to the party. Maybe that’s why they picked me.

-A story written by Lucy Schwartz

(note: I do not own the photos included in this post)