Beyond all that pain has taught me, the soft well at the base of time has opened, and life touching me there has turned me into a flower that prays for rain. Now I understand: to blossom is to pray, to wilt and shed is to pray, to turn to mulch is to pray, to stretch in the dark is to pray, to break surface after great months of ice is to pray, and to squeeze love up the stalky center toward the sky with only dreams of color is to pray, and finally to unfold again as if never before is to be the prayer.
– Mark Nepo –
Almost three weeks away from home – the first time in over two years – and into my eleventh day of walking, I chose Mark Nepo’s poem to uplift and amplify my commitment to knowing my life as poem and prayer, and sensing I might be in need of its kind sustenance and tender reminder.
What if, on the first sunny day, on your way to work, a colorful bird sweeps in front of you down a street you’ve never heard of.
You might pause and smile, a sweet beginning to your day.
Or you might step into that street and realize there are many ways to work.
You might sense the bird knows something you don’t and wander after it.
You might hesitate when the bird turns down an alley. For now there is a tension: Is what the bird knows worth being late?
You might go another block or two, thinking you can have it both ways. But soon you arrive at the edge of all your plans.
The bird circles back for you and you must decide which appointment you were born to keep.
– Mark Nepo –
I have a poetry folder in my SAVED Facebook posts, collecting ones that strike a chord, or ring that inner bell. This wasn’t one I’d saved. Prompted by another, wandering down a short rabbit hole, I discovered it. With so many people leaving their homemade, makeshift offices to return to their worksites and places, I thought this might ring a bell for them.Ironic how now, once again when the world sits poised on a 5th wave of covid, we have to consider which appointments we need, want, or were born to keep.
I’ve been watching stars rely on the darkness they resist. And fish struggle with and against the current. And hawks glide faster when their wings don’t move.
Still I keep retelling what happens till it comes out the way I want.
We try so hard to be the main character when it is our point of view that keeps us from the truth.
The sun has its story that no curtain can stop.
It’s true. The only way beyond the self is through it. The only way to listen to what can never be said is to quiet our need to steer the plot.
When jarred by life, we might unravel the story we tell ourselves and discover the story we are in, the one that keeps telling us.
– Mark Nepo –
I’ve been thinking a lot about what comes next as vaccination rates around the world increase, countries “re-open,” and people resume life as they’ve known it. I’ve been thinking about what we learned over the past fifteen months, when “jarred by life” by the pandemic. Have I unraveled the story I tell myself enough to discover the story I am really in? The story that keeps telling me? And how will I know?