You take a final step and, look, suddenly
You’re there. You’ve arrived
At the one place all your drudgery was aimed for:
This common ground
Where you stretch out, pressing your cheek to sandstone.
What did you want
To be? You’ll remember soon. You feel like tinder
Under a burning glass,
A luminous point of change. The sky is pulsing
Against the cracked horizon,
Holding it firm till the arrival of stars
In time with your heartbeats.
Like wind etching rock, you’ve made a lasting impression
On the self you were
By having come all this way through all this welter
Under your own power,
Though your traces on a map would make an unpromising
What have you learned so far? You’ll find out later,
Telling it haltingly
Like a dream, that lost traveler’s dream
Under the last hill
Where through the night you’ll take your time out of mind
To unburden yourself
Of elements along elementary paths
By the break of morning.
You’ve earned this worn-down, hard, incredible sight
Called Here and Now.
Now, what you make of it means everything,
Means starting over:
The life in your hands is neither here nor there
But getting there,
So you’re standing again and breathing, beginning another
Journey without regret
Forever, being your own unpeaceable kingdom,
The end of endings.
I am in San Francisco for the Spiritual Directors International conference. I will be signing books tonight, helping to lead the opening ritual tomorrow, and co-leading a workshop on Saturday. I arrived last Sunday night and have been sick all week, not the romantic few days with my beloved I had been anticipating. And yet, the time for cocooning has been welcome. In my turning inward I am being restored. In the time for rest after working so hard for so long, I am discovering new visions. Poetry has been such nourishment for me this week, the one above landing in my open arms and expressing longings I didn’t even realize were there. I love that about a good poem. More reflections when I return on Monday.
Sign up for the Easter Season E-Course on practicing resurrection through the elements – the book will ship by Priority Mail on Monday when I return and you will receive it in time (if you are in the US) for the class to begin on April 18th.
© Christine Valters Paintner at Abbey of the Arts:
Transformative Living through Contemplative & Expressive Arts