When I am posting the little flyers I’d made for the drop-in writing circle, I send off little hopes and prayers with them. May it be sweet and safe, I ask. When Laurie tells me she felt safe in our first circle, I hear that echo, send my thanks. And before we begin yesterday, the universe gives me a bit of a jolt I am pretty sure is tied to that same prayer, that same hope: sweet and safe. We’d opened the back doors of the hall, moved the big round table in front of them, sun and air beside us. It is just before eleven. I light a candle in the center of the circle. Laurie and Sharon are sitting at the table, and I’m standing beside it. A woman marches across the long hall, plants herself near Laurie’s elbow.
“Are you coming to join us?” I ask her.
“No,” she says. She stands where she is, a soldier at attention.
“Well, did you think you wanted to watch us?” I ask.
“Maybe,” she says.
“Well,” I say, “I’m not sure I’m comfortable with that.” I’d thought about this earlier. We were not looking for an audience.
I haven’t finished my sentence when she does an abrupt about-face and marches back across the hall. She has her arms at her sides, and she is flapping her hands back toward me as she walks, as though she can swat away my words, keep them from following her.
“Um, what is the flapping of the hands?” I ask. And, “Are you really not going to talk to me?” She keeps walking away, keeps flapping her hands in my direction. “I’d be happy to have a conversation with you about this,” I say.
She reaches the door at the other end. “Maybe,” I think I hear her say as she walks out again.
We are all a little stunned. I have to check. “Was I inappropriate in my response?” I ask. They say I wasn’t. I have to shake it out of me then, a kind of invasion I feel in my body. I wave my arms around in the air above the table. “Whoosh whoosh whoosh,” I say. A different flapping of hands, I think now. As best I can figure, this odd jolt is a message. I take it as encouragement and a reason to trust. Maybe it says we can keep our space safe no matter who comes along. And maybe it says, “Certain beings will be led away.”