Sunday, December 1, 2013

Autumn into Winter: The Turning


See with every turning day,
how each season wants to make
a child of you again, wants you to become
a seeker after rainfall and birdsong,
watch how it weathers you to a testing
in the tried and true, tells you
with each falling leaf, to leave and slip away,
even from the branch that held you,
to go when you need to, to be courageous,
to be like a last word you’d want to say
before you leave the world.

  David Whyte *

If only I could find such courage, such child-innocence, right now. I do remember how it felt. Aliveness seeping through each pore. Meeting the spectacle of Leaf Flurries and the taste of Fresh Air, upon opening our big front door to step outside. 

Six years old and the entire outdoor world was enchanted! Drenched in early morning sunshine: steamy wisps of mist, rising from the mossy green fields to dance in shimmery golden light. Eucalyptus and Pepper trees. Blue Sky. Birdsong. Vacant lots. Wood Piles. Horses, sheds, and rabbit hutches. Cherishing this solitary wonderland with all my heart and soul. The old wooden bridge over the sandy wash.

While the family still slept in their beds, I vividly remember making those very first, fresh, crunchy foot prints across the crisp sheet of morning frost, that glazed the surface of our yard. And each next step was a brand new breaking of ground--just like the first one--over, and over, again. Starting anew. Stepping through the crust. On my way . . .

" leave and slip away, 
even from the branch that held you, 
to go when you need to, 
to be courageous..."

Something about Life right now, wants to slip away. Wants to let go of the whole tree. Climb down from a bare branch, once full of leaves and sap. Something knows it is time to go. Time to find a hidden courage. To face the Vast Unknown without flinching.

What might that 'last word' be? Before leaving the familiar world behind? What would I want to say? What would want to be expressed through me? I no longer have any idea what 'the tried and true' even means. Certainly, courage seems elusive at best. Clueless is the closest I can come to describing where I am. I feel tested on every level. 

Once, I thought I knew what I wanted (ultimately, anyway), and there was a dream inside, with something stable at the core of it's ever-shapeshifting nature.

It is important to pay attention to the branches: IF we do not know when to let go, LIFE steps in with it's saw, it's ax, and it's purpose. Without asking, LIFE can make swift, determined moves. I am not clinging to anything. Merely peering out the window as leaves turn red, yellow, brown, and flutter to the ground. If I put on my boots, or stepped outside, with my car keys; there would still be the same issue:

How to let go? And then there's the little matter of that 'last word'. But most of all, I have no idea what, where, why, when. There was a time when I did know all of those things. A time of certainty. A time when words never failed me. I don't know anything, anymore.


* Excerpt from ‘Coleman’s Bed’ in ‘River Flow:
New and Selected Poems’
©David Whyte and Many Rivers Press