Wednesday, August 31, 2011
The Sacred Chamber
There is a rectangular room without the human-generated lights of man. A room with four walls and two doorways, arches really, that can lead to either the hallway or a room crowded with two computers, four desks, and three arm chairs. The lights in the hallway and the crowded room are off and they are mostly dark, the shapes of them lit only by the glowing, dancing lights of tiny flames in the rectangular room, a room alive with moving candle flames. Most of the candles are encased in a thick wall of clear glass and the white wax within glows slightly just below the dance of the flame.
There are two sizes of glass candles, one that is a little over a foot tall and the other which is half that size. The larger candles have smaller wicks and smaller flames, while the tinier candles have an inch and a half long flame which glows brightly, waving like a flag in the summer twilight. Around the room, in opposite corners and along the middle of the wall, where the carpet meets the long surface of the wall, are candles on small hand-made ceramic saucers.
The longest wall, a wall covered mostly in plate glass which faces the street outside, is covered by four thick panels of black velvet curtains that dangle unevenly a few inches from the floor. The edges of the panels are clipped together and there is tape on the two outer panels, each bit of tape brings the curtain to the wall beside it to prevent any escape of light and movement from the room into the world outside.
In one corner of the room is a non-working fireplace. The frame around the open hole of the fireplace is decorated with small square tiles depicting a country scene with ox and wagons. Below the decorative wall is a narrow flat ledge of bricks which once would have protected the floor from flying sparks of lumber. Now, it holds two large votive candles, some lit, scattered tea lights, a bright green house plant in a terra cotta pot off to one side and a book with the title, INSTRUCTIONS. The mantle above the fireplace is wood and painted with a shiny coat of white. There are six candles, two small ones and two large ones spread out over the mantle ledge as well as a handful of small white tea lights encased in thick aluminum which are interspersed among the glass-encased candles.
Above the mantle, on the smooth white wall is a square photograph mounted onto foamcore. The image is mostly blue with small bits of purple and pale pink and depicts a holy mountain with small, almost geometric shaped figures scaling the edges of the mountain. Directly below the photograph, in the center of the mantle, is a turquoise ceramic chalice. The edges and handle of the chalice are thick and there is a small, button-shaped bit of clay in the center of the chalice with a square cross on it.
The space of the room is mostly free of any furniture, no chairs or end tables, though there is a small Formica cabinet that houses several DVD players and a stereo, above which is a long, rectangular flat screen TV which is dark.
In the center of the room, on the ground, is a thin layer of foam covered by a thin pale purple cotton sheet. Above the sheet are two outstretched thin, plush blankets. One is pale green, the other is light blue. The improvised bed takes up almost the entire room. Sitting above the soft bed in a triangular-like circle are three people. A man and two women. Each has their hands on their knees, their eyes are closed and their breathing in unison. The sounds of their inhalations and exhalations are like white noise, it is the only sound other than the occasional popping of a flame.
The soft yellow glow of candlelight flickers over their skin and on the surfaces of the creamy white walls which now look gold in the firelight.