Other places don’t have the stairs, so how do they, the stairs, become so powerful for us?
The first time, I used the front stair case. It was dusty and I wondered if I happened into an abandoned property, but when I opened the door, there were a great many people in the two rooms that I could see. It was casual, peaceful, non-confrontational, and people were smiling oddly. Honestly, it looked like a group of people who would never voluntarily gather together, quietly sitting in their Saturday rags. Later I learned that the rags disguise gentle and hopeful wisdom.
I learned no one uses the front staircase except people there for their first time and some old folks who might prefer parking on the small town street with gentle sidewalks but no grass.
I go there a lot, and one of our powerful sayings is, “I might not make it up those stairs again.” I hear this washing, repetitive rhetoric, and I hear us trying to install a phony gratitude being that today, indeed, we did make it up those stairs. But that’s not what they mean by “might not make it up those stairs again.”
The back stairs are treacherous in the winter. They are either slick with ice or so overwhelmed with salt pellets, they act as pans filled with uncontrollable marbles.
The stairs are powerful, and I wonder what the others do without stairs. “I might not make it in that door again” does not inspire as well.
Each time up the stairs, I grip a certain brilliance that floats on the outside of my life, knocking hard, wanting to barge in. I let parts of it in, and when I walk down the stairs, the freedom strikes me like a lightning bolt filled with streaking blue roses.
I study anyone who is climbing the back stairs. They’re exposed to the back lot. You might not put any credence in this, but I know it’s true: Almost every time a person climbs the stairs, a protective halo gathers around the person, not really an angel’s halo, but certainly a halo of powerful and beautiful love, and this regardless of how beautiful you might think the person is on the outside. These are non-discriminatory halos, perhaps only denying those who climb the stairs carrying evil motives.
Underneath all that I am conscious of during my entire day, on each day, I am sure there is this rummaging, perfectly rational fear of not making it back up the stairs. If I couldn’t make it up the stairs again, I’d hang myself from a sturdy oak tree.
The first time up the stairs, even though it was the front stairs, that was the beginning of my life, so as you might imagine, I love those freakin’ ugly, dangerous stairs.