That Night I Met Leonard Cohen in a Dingy Dreamtime Diner




A few years ago, I had one of those dreams you never forget:

It's late at night and I'm driving on an unfamiliar highway. I'm worried about getting lost so decide to pull over to a service station and ask for directions. There doesn’t seem to be anyone at the counter to help, so I walk into an adjoining roadside diner and plunk myself down in a booth. A man comes in and sits next to me, an older gentleman whose beautifully tailored suit contrasts sharply with our dingy surroundings. You guessed it: this man is Leonard Cohen.  

No words are exchanged, but Cohen’s energy is warm, reassuring, and generous. He has that mischievous twinkle in his eye—the kind he gets when he’s about to drop one of his depression-soaked jokes. In this case, an inside joke.  He discretely slips me a small package under the table. A gift. Inside this tiny box is the most exquisite and elegant pair of diamond earrings I’ve ever seen. 

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You are an artist’s artist, Leonard Cohen, the kind that makes me want to revisit my drafts and try harder, to polish each line until it sparkles like diamonds in a dusty old diner. Your deep dusky voice has soothed some of my darkest hours, refilling my pen with black inky purpose. You’ve kept me reaching for higher versions of myself, even when I’m lost. Especially when I’m lost. You’ve beckoned me off the beaten track, taught me to seek out the sacred gifts in sadness-swollen nights. You’ve shown me despair’s ornate offerings. You’ve led me to look for love in all the wrong places—reminding me there are no wrong places when it comes to love, only myopic hearts. 

Thank you, Leonard Cohen, for all your poetry gems. You have been, and will continue to be, one of my finest teachers. I will never speak of you in the past tense. Your musical diamonds dangle from my ears as I wish you safe travels. I doubt you’ll be needing a map since you're the master at finding filaments of light, even on the darkest of nights. I trust you’ll follow those threads, dear friend, allowing bright beams of beauty to find and fill your ears, forever and ever, Amen.  

Until we meet again: sweet dreams. 

Kimberly

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