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Moon-spun moments disperse at daybreak
By day the sunsoaked landscape cries
Sighs a cacophony of endless voices
Boisterous streetsong, chatter of strangers

Arrange my day along a familiar route
Without a topography, the map obscures
Ensures that I will lose my way
If I stray from the journey, even slightly

Yet, nightly I travel roads unweary
Hearing the hush of darkness unfolded
Enfolded in the ebony behind closed eyes
I step lightly through

Moon-beam strewn stepping stones
Alone wander paths I’ve never taken
Then a whole world to explore
For there are memories to awaken

Aching to be known, whispered in landscapes
Grace in every motion, no need for seeing
Only being; until streams of dawn
Drawn across night’s sacred shelter

Melt the moonpath, its visions vanished
Banished in the dusk of dreaming

From the Ground Up

The day somberly takes shape beneath
Comings and goings of many errands,
While I sift through shadows
For lightheartedness.

It’s got to be here somewhere.
Where did I leave it last?
Did I put it down, distracted,
Now failing to recall it’s location?

I am not unhappy,
Just strangely subdued,
Humbled by a shifting,
Unsolid world.

A prism of full spectrum feeling:
Beautiful and bold,
Soulful, sharp and fleeting,
Soft joy changing gently.

I interact with others,
speechless somewhere inside.
So moved I am paralyzed,
Returning to the present one breath at a time.

It feels, sometimes,
As if I might dissolve entirely
Eclipsed by a greater, more vivid,
More elusive star than the sun.

Standing on the edge, frontier of my self,
I marvel at its intricacy,
How it completes the puzzle of being
Love, fragile and hesitant.

That line drawn in the sand
I’ve been staring at for hours?
I know I will cross it,
But for what reasons and what time and in what way,

Enfolds itself in mystery,
A crane born from a paper sky,
A question mark with the power
To permanently alter who I think I am.

Transparent as cascading water,
All I sought to hold onto
Becomes fluid.
I am struggling with nothing.

The stars reflected
In the pools of possibility,
Collected in the land’s lost hollows,
Shine almost forgotten.

I gather them in cupped hands,
Hand them out where they’re needed.
This light I share with everyone,
It isn’t mine.

All I’ve held certain
Gets turned on its head
In the blink of an eye,
And I am fumbling in a once familiar landscape.

How am I? Indeed.
And yet, almost inconceivably,
Regarding myself like a child
Has never been easier.

So much room to grow and stumble and wonder,
A space so heart-breakingly forgiving,
It is impossible to fill it
With tears or awe or terror.

Only trust lives here,
The kind that leaves you shaking,
But somehow still safe.
A kind of ground zero:

Where we try ourselves at being,
Over and over and over,
Without judgment,
Without attempting anything.

The ones who continually catch us,
Whether we plummet or fall flying,
Rock us to our foundations
With the caring attention given to newborns.

So that in the moments we let go,
Suddenly we wake
And briefly remember our origins,
Imprinted as they are the heart of us.

Dissertation Committee Anxst

Amidst the clouds,
Uncertainty dances
Shaking the Rattle of doubt.
Shortcomings fall

What to do?
The storm uncontrolled,
You can only account for you,
Listen, hope, tempt an unfolding.

Sometimes dreams smolder,
Simmer low,
Sap hardened in the tree
Goes nowhere, can only be.

Change threatens
To chain me in place.
What is my place?
It shifts,

It slides,
Adrift, takes sudden shapes
Earthquakes and avalanches of old beliefs,
I’m left largely undefined.

Paper-thin objects of nameless cries,
Respect, status, authority,
Conference granted on advanced degree,
All sparkling social little lies.

What’s the reason and the why?
Why spill your thoughts,
In ink red like blood,
Until the mind, exhausted, freezes dry?

Does it make us more sacred,
More worthy, more loved?
Does it finally prove to others
We can teach some to fly?

Is it common sense
To not move for days,
Nor sleep well nor eat right
To stay on top of a page?

Push through despite
The fearful thought,
It all just might
Come to naught

And if, having done what I can,
I don’t succeed?
Such fears
I have no time to heed.

I will finish what I’ve started,
Though it’s largely not up to me,
And hope that when I’m finally parted
From these ragged years, I will break free.

On the Journey Unfolding

Stillness sparkles
Like beads of sweat upon her skin
Overwhelmed with not knowing
Enough, and too much at once

Off the next step of the journey
She falls as if diving
Backward, body tumbling suddenly
Into a network of outstretched hands

Cautiously she peers up, seeking reassurance
In their wise and ancient faces
Gently they explain the why of it
For a second, peace, she accepts

But silence shrouds the when and how
Unsettled by uncertainty
Stars wait to intermittently flicker
Behind the eyes she starts to close

She is a crescent of moon
Surely too small to be prepared
To rise full across the sky
Reflecting the sun

How does light, bending
Coalescing into prisms
Of the named and unnamed colors
Experience living, life dynamic and moving

She could ask them to leave her here
But that would only put an end to growing wild
And what joyful homecoming might await them
Passed the familiar with its running interference

And so, though fear taunts her
Beckons with cold stone stare
She is already changing
One fragile life, they carry her

Where are they going
Needing, again and again at every moment
To trust, letting go into love
That no matter the form, she remains who she is

Light is a shelter woven over her
Light is sharp awe, soft wonder
Seeing herself take shape before her eyes
Recognizing, eyes open, she will mirror the spiraled patterns of being

The Antlered Branch _ When Two Worlds Meet: Part 13

December 23, 2013

By the time I finally leave the house with Allegro and make my way to Aquatic Park to go look for what Oisín and the others have left for me there, it is around 5 PM. I certainly had no expectation of anything in return when I first agreed to make my place their own. I am still just as surprised as moved that they’d secure some kind of manifest world object for me to show their gratitude. I still know little about what is possible in the otherworld, but imagine that moving physical objects to specific locations is no small matter, and it is even possible that it would take tens to hundreds of otherworld people to accomplish such a thing depending on the size of the object. Even now, I have no idea how they did it.

The walk is quiet and uneventful. Hardly a manifest person is around. The water laps softly along its bank, the birds’ songs are muted, and the trees stand silent and resolute against the sky which is slowly darkening into ever more mysterious shades of twilight. This has always been my favorite time of day. As a child, I used to cherish my time outside when the sun’s light, glowing like ebbing flame starkly against the night’s deepening presence, revealed to me a world of image that usually was lost to me. Often, I’d stand precariously on the back of a swing in the yard, frightening my parents for sure, but too immersed in the ecstatic wonder of suddenly illuminated shapes and outlined objects to care much at all about something more earthly, like safety. Besides, I reasoned as only a six year old can, I had excellent balance. I could not as well leave this brilliant light behind just to heed adults who wished me to come inside.

As with then, the fading light fills me with a silent, quiet, wild joy and I still imagine myself laughing and leaping and flying through that light, which is filling every space around me now with its mystery. I walk through this wondrous world, tracking the shadows in the wooded areas to my left where I found the picnic table that I am trying to locate again.

An older man, who I met once before in passing and know is quite lonely, says hello to me and I ask whether he knows if I’m near the turn off to the table. I think I am, because there are lights above and beyond the brightly infused sky flashing in the trees at this spot. But finding a picnic table while offroading with a guide dog is a hit or miss project. He assures me I am in fact close by, and asks if I don’t mind some company. I look around and don’t see Oisín nearby, so I agree that we can talk for a little while.

The two of us sit across from each other as he shares some of his life with me and I listen. A half an hour goes by, and now I do see Oisín standing at the edge of the clearing. I send him a picture of the situation, and he says not to worry, he’ll stay until the stranger leaves. So finally I say to the manifest man, “I am really enjoying talking to you, but I have to meet someone now. Can I be alone?”

I briefly wonder, as there are no other manifest people within sight range to speak of, if the man might think I’ve had enough and am just trying to back out of talking to someone twice my age. Fortunately, he turns out to be happy to grant me my request for solitude without question, and doesn’t appear to be taking it personally. When he leaves, Oisín walks over to stand beside me.

“There are a great many trees around here,” he observes, “So I thought to come show you to the one I spoke of yesterday.” This is true enough. Together we walk over to a tree which is at a diagonal from where I was previously sitting.
Once I am standing in front of the tree, Oisín vanishes, presumably so I can discover for myself what he’s left there for me. I have to admit that I am now feeling a bit like a kid on a treasure hunt. No point in ignoring the curiosity of my inner child now, I decide.

Cautiously, unsure if I’m looking for something sturdy or fragile, I reach out my hand. The tree is eucalyptus, like every other of its myriad cousins in this area. But the branch my hand encounters is not only very detached from the tree, but is actually made of Oak. It is placed rather impossibly around the trunk, and to this day I haven’t been able to get anything else to stay up there. I’ve tried, I admit.

Antler Branch On Wall

I take the branch down from the tree. It’s big! From one end to another is approximately two feet across. There is a section of branch which is just the right size to fit my hand around. Holding it there, the rest of the branch splits into two halves that arc away from each other in a kind of narrow semicircle. On each end, two twigs stem out giving the whole of it an uncanny resemblance to deer antlers.

I know the significance of deer to Oisín’s immediate family. His father, his son, and himself were all named for this animal, after all. As a totem animal, a concept from a culture which Oisín’s clan would have never known existed, deer are usually symbolic of inner gentleness and compassion, as well as protection. I mean, that can be quite true of them and everything, but deer aren’t like that all the time! They’re also wild, fiercely territorial and adaptable, resourceful, and don’t hesitate to answer to a challenge. When I have looked into Oisín’s eyes, I have seen all these things, and more of course. I for one think that if a totem is going to give insight into the spirit of a person,, it’s probably best to recognize that nonhuman animals can have natures as complicated as any human. I digress, however.

I imagine that if clan Baiscne, to whom Oisín belongs, had a family emblem, I am holding a representation of it in my hand. I have too many thoughts and feelings occurring at once. I am astonished and happy and wondering how many people it took to get this branch here—it’s so big. I am moved by how one physical object could convey so much meaning to me. If I had ever worried about being accepted, it looks like that worry is both unreasonable and I not only belong, but somehow have been accepted into Oisín’s family. This realization overwhelms me. It would be hard to believe if I weren’t holding tangible proof of it.

Equally overwhelming, however, is that, as I gaze at the branch in my hands, it seems to emit a soft, continuous glow, as if the very wood could radiate that divine spark at the heart of itself out into the changing clay world. This is all quite enough to take in, so I do what I usually do when I have more energy than I know what to do with: I choose a direction and take off. Full of a wild inexplicable joy that seems to suddenly come upon me, I gather up Allegro and we walk so fast that we are practically running. I’ve never run with a flashlight, having never had the need for one, but the blazing light around the antlered branch in my hand illuminates the night, casting bright shapes across the landscape. Sometimes, when I look through the middle where the branch splits in two, I feel like I am almost catching someone’s eye. I definitely do not feel like I am walking alone. There are no manifest people in the park at the moment. Somehow everything around us holds still, while we, myself and what feels like many who I cannot see but seem to be with me, traverse the trail back to my apartment. I, or perhaps we, make it home in record time, and the whole return journey has oddly felt effortless.

Once I walk through the door into the kitchen, I carefully set the branch down while I go get a vase from above the refrigerator to place it in. This is not because it needs to be placed in water, but just because I can’t think of another way to make sure it won’t fall or get broken. I’m trying to grab a glass vase precariously from a cupboard which is slightly too high for me to actually reach safely. But I’m in a great mood and not alone. This means I’m determined to attempt to accomplish what I’m aiming to do successfully, since I feel I can do just about anything at the moment.

“Don’t do that, you’ll get yourself hurt,” someone is saying with concern, and when I turn around I see Oisin standing behind me.

“You think so?” I ask cautiously, “I think I can reach up there. I’ve done it once or twice before.”

“Well, it’s not a great idea for what you are aiming to do at the moment. Are you sure you are not actually trying to do something again beyond your limits to prove to yourself that you are worthy of our company?” Oisín asks, challenging me with his compassionate, yet wildly fierce eyes. “We want you safe, child.”

Is that what I was really trying to do, I ask myself a bit reluctantly? Well, okay, yes that was a substantial if far from explicit part of my motivation. It would be too awkward and self-defeating to deceive myself into thinking otherwise.

“Thanks,” I say, and grab a chair from the kitchen table to stand on. The particular vase I need, it turns out, is behind a bunch of other smaller vases and would have been impossible to grab from my earlier vantage point on the floor. I am growing, even now, but I just have to remember that won’t translate into physical height.

The antlered branch is still shining with otherworldly light where I’ve placed it on the counter. It’s amazing in its own right, but perhaps more, well, awesome still is that I have become like family to Oisín and the fianna. I am trying to integrate this into my world and it’s happening very slowly. Attempting to sort out my thoughts, one in particular suddenly comes unbidden into the forefront of my mind. Is it possible, the thought interjects, that I have always been a part of this family and just don’t know it for certain yet? How else to explain why I’ve felt like Oisín is a long lost grandfather? Why else does he call me child? But I can’t even entertain the idea. I almost desperately shove the thought out of my head so that I don’t have to possibly face another instance in so many days of my beliefs being turned upside down.

So instead, I turn to Oisín to thank him properly. In response, he simply fills the room with light. We are, I realize, speaking without words. And in the silence there is understanding, of what is, which words don’t ever seem to capture adequately. I’m glad that I can let go of trying to put everything into language and can communicate through wordlessness. This wordlessness is, I am beginning to realize, the grammar of being, it is why silence is intelligent, and how existence speaks for itself.

Living In The Light

The fire in my bones
Sings without words
Lights each of my steps
Inside out, from beyond the stars

Shatters the darkness
Joy calls me home
In this turning world
I sing of a timeless space

Beyond all names
From which I’ve come
I’ve settled in
I live there now

How can I speak this powerful love
Humming to itself throughout all things
Calling, calling me on
I am leaping within the cords of life

I am seeing the unfolding of the skies
And the dreams taking shape before my eyes
I am weaving myself into life
I return to my address of nowhere

I have touched the boundless center of being
Seed sparks flung out from the core alight with wonder
breathlessly I live the awesome beauty
Now and now, the quiet acceptance taking place within me

I have new eyes, glinting, for I surrender
To the sea of uncertainty, having nothing to fear
Here I am, moved, excited to be moving
Through every day and night, take flight once more

Beyond all wrong and right
Beyond the need for doors
Burning through the rays of the divine
I burst into this moment, free and soaring

Every inch of me gleaming with an indescribable feeling
Such expansive belonging, an endless tide
Open and still, around me silence is glowing
And at peace with unknowing, here I reside

To The One Who Listens, Spring 2008

I want to be found. I will sing the song of remembering and walk into the patches of light that mark my way, searching for solace and finding kinship once again with my own soul. Just as I learned to experience again in this world, without my sight, so I will patiently relearn to see with inner sight and wind my way back to the origin of my belonging. I will reconstruct the bare bones of my living out loud. From there I will venture on, beyond all I have known, beyond the thoughts and feelings of other people, and past the fields that stretch beyond that, with their tall grasses, where lost ones are no longer empty, where there is no scarcity of freedom, where I am once again mine.

I want to be found. For I hunt like the wolf and gather like the squirrel. I am the core of the apple, the heartwood of the oak, and the acorns squirrels gather. I am the running and the taking, I am the giving and receiving. I am the end of hunger. I am my own pathfinder.

I want to be found. So it is that I live and die and am reborn, to race the wind, dance with the passions of the flames, whose truth falls like ash upon the earth. From whose spark of truth I rise, I will rise, I will send my cries across the waves, singing out clear the voices of the many colors, the song light weaves throughout the world which mends, and heals the brokenness until I remember I have always been whole.

The Enormity of Our Selves

For a second, I turn my eyes inside away from the glare of noise and lights and sirens and crying babies and dire news blaring into eyes and ears. I listen to something other than the clatter of a world begging for attention from every direction, every time and space, every joy and need. There are sunrises and sunsets, trees, pets, opportunities and friends, all for which to run about, to notice, and to heed.

Yet, somewhere beneath the surface of the self I present outwardly, is a wild, fearless, determined, patient unwavering light. It glows blue and green and violet. There is still, peaceful, expectant water in a pool just below the rocks. There are places for sun and shade. There are places to be overcome with joy. There are places to lay my sorrow and watch it seep away, slowly transforming into what will grow into new life. This is a place for me, all for me.

I don’t know what tomorrow, or next year, or the year after will bring or why I persist in the things I do, or where my path will lead, or what being of this time and not another has fixed about the perspective I will either share or not share with other people. But in that space beyond the ordered chaos of the comings and goings of the calamity of living, I am collected like tears out of disparate rivers and there unknown destinations, and coalesce that way transparent and clear, whole regardless of how many signals pulse out from that one, centered bead, and fragment into the broken information that travels trembling and unsure of itself to the outside where others might listen and receive.

If only we had ears to hear the songs of each others’ beginnings, we might not respond to love with fear. Being close would not be a burden, a burst of concessions: “I am vulnerable and just as human as you are.” Instead, everything would testify to life.

Awful and awesome once shared similar meanings. The sublime is not just in nature outside us, but our own nature as well. We are mysterious and mesmerizing, the kind of being that inspires wonder and terror, joy and caution. To understand ourselves, we cross a threshold out of which nothing exits tamed. I think this is what captures us, captivates us. The enormity of ourselves. The wildness at the heart of us. Strong and intricately woven like spider’s thread.

We scream and cry and flail and judge and give and take and try and fail and soar and fall and act and sleep and love and push away and build and tear apart and fear and long and hurt and heal. We are none of these things.

We are the streams of blues and greens, we are the songs throughout the woven sky sung through the stars and the silent seeds that spring from moonlit nights and soaring things. We are the stillness that contains the wild cry, we are knotted so inextricably into the weaving, and when we cast aside our needing to keep grasping what we mistake for what we are, no longer fear its loss and leaving: then we arrive at the threshold of being, part of a strange and endless dreaming, where tides will shift without receding. We are the light by which we’re seeing, our shining radiance is spirit singing.

How many dive beneath the waves that crash relentlessly upon fragile, fragmented lives, to find that glow so deep inside, enfold them in silence, until they recognize who they really are for the first time. I am the light in every world. I’ve let go of what gets left behind. I have heard that wild song, belonging to everyone, yours, and mine.

I will love and fear and do and plan and strive and wonder if I’ll ever fly. Still, the enormity of ourselves dares and calls and cries to us to look into each others’ eyes and stand with nothing left to hide, together in the mystery that shines, and shines. In each of us the mystery: flesh and bone but made of light, vast and small within us all, finite and ephemeral, but so alive, ever alive.

To All My Relations

August 28, 2011

On this small road winding through, it’s one step taken at a time. If my mind doesn’t remember the way, the blood in my veins pulses with knowing it, and the knowing of it courses through me fiercely, like I might burst with it, might fragment like broken pieces of wood, scattering.

I want to cry, I want to shout, I want to close my eyes, dream away the dark, dream until even my waking hours are of nothing but hope. I want to run, run and soar across this landscape howling with abandon, my voice flinging what eerie wails of sorrow and the sudden shrieks of joy only the earth beneath my feet and the sky above have cried.

I want to hold small children and comfort them, I want to stand in the middle of a field under a radiant sun, a warmth that could quell the chills that come with changes. I want to stand on a cliff so I can feel what it’s like to teeter on the edge of falling and not make a sound. I want to dive into a mountain pool, reassuring the water by my body turning cold that I am living, so my warmth can try to melt the icy past that causes me to freeze sometimes, even now, then rush to the surface, calling upon the wind to give breath to all that needs saying.

I want to know who I am and who we are, I want to hear my own songs echoed in others’ voices. I want to recognize myself in what others tell each other, I want to tell you my dreams. But most of all, I want to tear all I know apart until I come to the heart of the matter, speak softly, flail like an abandoned child, laugh until tears come to my eyes and the earth shakes with me, and hold you as if we were dying to live.

I say I am powerful, for I have made choices and will make them again, and I want to mold myself into words, spell them through my own motions, dancing them over and over, until, springing into action, I am whole and freed of standing still.

I say I am an ocean, for there is so much living within me, because I am gentle and strong, both crashing waves and tide pools hosting young. I am water, for I cannot be contained, I am the fires you lit on the hills, for I burn to rekindle the dreams we have lost, to leap into what is to come. I am drifting leaves, I am the cry of ravens and the lost and the found. I am the wind, for I will not stop rustling between the trees and around the faces of our children until I have carried all our tears and all our songs around the world. And I am the landscape that calls, that calls, which is why I must answer, speak for myself.

Strength is not just the courage of facing death, or hardship, or loss. It takes courage to love, to feel your own joy and the happiness of others engulf you and sweep you away, out of your own cocooned fur lined shelter you call your head. It takes strength to walk the path of those who have gone before, to weep with those whose despair has never left them. It takes strength to lie still, giving into another’s touch, to another’s dreams, and even to acknowledge needs of my own. I only hope I have that inside, when it is my turn to grow up, take my place in this world. And first I will return,and then, and then, and then, I cannot even imagine what will happen next. What will happen next?

Perhaps nothing will happen. Perhaps I will simply sigh with relief, or find nothing at all. But that will just mean more choices, more wondering, more wandering… and for a while now it has never been an easy thing to call somewhere home. It is all I long for. It is worth searching for who, for what you love, even if you never find it, even if you don’t know what you’re looking for.

Trees do that: witness, become part of, the passing of generations. Why not us, then, rooted as we are to the earth, our hands reaching, many leaves reaching across many branches for each other, silently guiding us back to our beginnings.

The Activity of Being

The wind breathes life into the leaves
And they are dancing,
To the music of the sunlight streaming.

High above me, the birds are not afraid
To let others hear their songs,
And with them I would wander, sharing music of my own
If only elements were all I had to live for.

So many voices, drown out by airplanes and great rivers of cars.
And the light within each creature hardly seems to shine,
Lost beneath the tides of artificial illumination
They vanish as we take what belongs to them, make it ours.

Like the birds who greet the sky at dawn,
With their ancient song of wisdom,
I will scatter drops of melody upon this place.

Perhaps, one day, every life will hear
What long-ago we soon forgot to be ours,
And as silent time passes, we’ll add back our voices
Rekindle our shining, recognize our wholeness.

It is time to remember,
For being is the great activity
Moving us, moving through us all,
And in it we have never given up participation.

Among the two many reasons, the gnawing unknowings,
Even where shadows blossom and the kindred we continue not to claim are keening,
always wonder and belonging, to hold us like beloved children,
Call us to return. Call and await us at the center.