I am Going to Start Living Like a Mystic
Today I am pulling on a green wool sweater
and walking across the park in a dusky snowfall.
The trees stand like twenty-seven prophets in a field,
each a station in a pilgrimage–silent, pondering.
Blue flakes of light falling across their bodies
are the ciphers of a secret, an occultation.
I will examine their leaves as pages in a text
and consider the bookish pigeons, students of winter.
I will kneel on the track of a vanquished squirrel
and stare into a blank pond for the figure of Sophia.
I shall begin scouring the sky for signs
as if my whole future were constellated upon it.
I will walk home alone with the deep alone,
a disciple of shadows, in praise of the mysteries.
Earlier this week we had a couple of very foggy days here in Seattle. I love the fog, it conceals the world in a great cloak of mystery and reminds me of the spiritual path in which we only can see perhaps a few steps ahead of ourselves, and this present moment is the place of clearest vision. The way our journey will unfold we do not know and there is anticipation and anxiety in that truth. As I walked past misty groves of trees I was reminded of the poem above by Edward Hirsch, one of my favorites. This line began to sing within me: “The trees stand like twenty-seven prophets in a field, each a station in a pilgrimage–silent, pondering. . . I will examine their leaves as pages in a text.” I passed each tree honoring it as a part of my pilgrimage to the holy that foggy morning, trying to read the bare branches and evergreen needles as pages of a sacred text. I became a disciple of creation, listening for how the world was speaking to me in that moment. It whispered of stark beauty, of continuing to let go of all that drains me, of the tiny shoots of new life just waiting to burst forth from the ground, of the promise of fog lifting and how one day very soon, I will dance in a shaft of light.
-Christine Valters Paintner @ Abbey of the Arts