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Lions Roar : May 2013
outfits with sunglasses the size of dessert plates—which he refused to remove even indoors. What a relief to discover ele- ments of Shakespearean comedy in our sad little family drama. There was something else, too, some- thing that pulled my imagination back to the tent. It was the people. Too poor, too black, too white trash, too uneducated to matter. I remembered the apologetic way they shuffled up the sawdust-covered aisles, their eyes steady on the ground. Their bodies, thin and stringy from too much work, moved as if carrying a great weight. Until my mother’s fingers began to pound out a backbeat on the keyboards. The music worked its way inside them and they sang I’m so glad Jesus lifted me and clapped and twirled and stamped at the ground until the dust rose and hung over them like a cloud. Hundreds of hands reached up through that haze. Hundreds of lips moved in a strange patois of English and what they called, what we called, unknown tongues. For a brief time everything that separated them, everything that defined them, fell away, and their faces really did seem to shine. I recalled the experience of the tent for the first time without judgment, and for the first time I entered the story. I discov- ered how the utter foolishness of these people, my people, afforded a glimpse of something extraordinary, the world beneath the world, a place of infinite connection. What was that? I try to pin it down and I’m caught in the story again, wrestling with what was or wasn’t, what is or isn’t. I type in the words and the action freezes. No, that’s not it at all. Here’s what I’ve learned, or rather come to know: The story, the truth of the story, moves and turns like water, like a reflection of light on water, like a fish swimming below the surface of all that light and water, like a living, mutable thing. It is always changing, always break- ing apart and coming back together. It is this, and this, and this too. We shape it, and it shapes us. There is always some- thing more. o SHAMBHALA SUN MAY 2013 80