The Third Movement of New World Symphony
A circle has no beginning and no end.
In an alley in Bangladesh, an old man sits with index finger to thumb.
A woman in Darjeeling sits in a valley, touching forefinger to thumb.
A man on a street in Oklahoma raises the circle of trigger finger-thumb. Everything is all right. It’s OK.
In a studio in San Diego, a young man smiles quietly, seated on his yoga mat, pressing first finger to thumb.
And in a garret in an old mansion in an isolated village nestled beneath fir trees, surrounded by mountains, cut-off from the bustling world around it, a girl who is nearly a woman sits in silence, finger to thumb.
She is not alone. Gyan mudra connects her to the circle of those who sit, through any time, in any space.
She feels the shared humanity inherent in this form.
A pulse of divinity: the glands release the sensation of peace through the body.
To be human is to have a form through which perceiving consciousness receives and responds to the experience of being alive.
This is what it means to be human. This is what we share, this knowledge of connection with all perceiving beings. Intelligence in form.
Only being human was not what Sylvia Zoranto’s parents had in mind for her. They were trying everything in their power to prevent her from any possible identification with humanity and its myriad members.
That was what prompted the Zoranto family’s move into Sylvia’s grandfather’s estate, left vacant when he departed for an indefinitely long expedition, sampling the flavors of the world.
“But you will love it here, my dear,” said Miranda to her daughter. “It’s my childhood home! The history! The tradition! It’s our culture, where we come from.”
Her father, Zoltan Zoranto, found the new town intriguing, with a central courtyard where villagers gathered nightly. His wife’s childhood home came with a well-stocked library and room in the back for a moon garden. But these were the cherries-on-top. What it came down to for Zoltan was simple: If the move made his wife happy, he was happy.
Sylvia’s little brother Zap was happy anywhere, as long as his family was there.
Living in his grandfather’s relic of a house provided a cellar to explore, an attic to investigate, and wardrobes to commandeer. Zap had never had it so good.
Stuck away in nowhere, Sylvia prowled the web to keep current with the music and films that her friends back home followed. It gave her something to talk about when they chatted online.
But Sylvia knew it would only be a matter of time before that wouldn’t be enough. You couldn’t base a friendship on celebrity gossip.
She suspected she would increasingly be able to share with others less and less of her own life as her family settled in to the old culture and its strange, archaic ways.
In her grandfather’s dusty bookshelves, her mother found an encyclopedia she’d loved when she was a teen.
“You must read this, darling,” she told Sylvia. “It will teach you all about our people.”
Sylvia came from a long line, on both sides of the family. He mother’s people, the De Suenas, first settled this valley in 1642. The previous century, her father’s ancestors, the Zorantos, immigrated to the island of Metis off the coast of France.
She felt proud, reading her family’s names in that musty leather-bound book. But a few hours later, while studying her calculus text, her mother ambushed her.
“Really, Sylvie. You must be more careful. I saw you in the sunlight this afternoon.”
“Only for a moment, Mama,” Sylvia replied. “Just when I got off the bus.”
“But the bus let you off in front of the house, and you were heading the opposite way to the Village Square. Really, dear. It’s of consequence.”
“But, Ma,” Sylvia protested. “It’s such a stupid rule.”
“Sylvia! You must remember to about sun protection! You were sparking when you came inside! It’s dangerous! It’s one step away from smoking!”
“I don’t care if I spark!” Sylvia whined. “Or even if I burn to a crisp of ash and blow into nothingness! What kind of a life is it to be cooped up inside all day long?”
“Stuff and nonsense,” said her mother. “I have never heard such a thing!”
She huffed off, and Sylvia knew she’d have to speak with Papa before bed about all the old ways and the dos and dont’s and rules and requirements.
“They’ll be wanting to teach me things soon,” groaned Sylvia. What good were “special powers” if you weren’t free?
One day, she’d find a way to walk under the sun, right out of this sequestered valley, somewhere that she could simply be Sylvia Zoranto, the girl who loved to hear the wren sing, and not the holder of the familial burden of custom, code, and curse.