Saturday, January 24, 2009

A place I know not yet....

Whispers: by Mary Oliver

Have you ever
tried to
slide into
the heaven of sensation and met

you know not what
resistance but it
held you back? have you ever
turned on your shoulder

helplessly, facing
the white moon, crying
let me in? have you dared to count
the months as they pass and the years

while you imagined pleasure,
shining like honey, locked in some
secret tree? have you dared to feel
the isolation gathering

intolerably and recognized
what kinds of expressions can follow
from an intolerable condition? have
you walked out in the mornings

wherever you are in the world to consider
all those gleaming and reasonless lives
that flow outward and outward, easily, to the last
moment the bulbs of their lungs,

their bones and their appetites,
can carry them? oh have you
looked wistfully into
the flushed bodies of the flowers? have you stood,

staring out over the swamps. the swirling rivers
where the birds like tossing fires
flash through the trees, their bodies
exchanging a certain happiness

in the sleek, amazing
humdrum of nature's design -
blood's heaven, spirit's haven, to which
you cannot belong?
(Dream Work: Atlantic Monthly Press, 1986)

When I need a break from the desert I can drive up the long canyon road and enter the mountains. I see them from my backyard, mystical, and beckoning, as in the photo at the header of this blog. The mountain has a familiar terrain for me - rocks, trees, steep inclines, water, as in the photo at the beginning of this post. It isn't the desert at all.

The desert is not yet a place I feel I belong. It remains foreign in so many ways. It speaks a language I do not understand. It reflects light in ways I cannot recognize. It has a rhythm unfamiliar to me, warm when it should be cold.

On a winter day, when much of the world as I used to know it is experiencing single digit temperatures and deep snow, I sit here, barefoot, a bit warm in my jeans and long sleeved tee shirt. The sliding glass door is open the screen is closed, fresh air blows in. And birds are raising a sacred riot in the trees.


Presbyterian Gal said...

You have very special birds who raise a "sacred" riot. Our mockingbirds raise hell out here!

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't mind being in the desert today...minus 20 wind chills.

Ruth Hull Chatlien said...

Whenever I've visited the southwest, I feel like an outsider so I know exactly what you mean.

Great poem. I've just started reading Mary Oliver because of encountering her on blogs like yours . . . and I'm so glad.

Processing Counselor said...

It sounds nice.

Hot Cup Lutheran said...

ah... finding the landscape of who you are, that sacred inner, soulscape... sounds like the journey you are on. actually we ALL are on... only some ignore it, hope it goes away, flush it out with work, business, addiction... only those willing to sit in the warmth, listening to the birds or in other places the snow falling... have a chance of finding it.

Jan said...


Processing Counselor said...

How are you? Is everything ok?

How to know what I don't know that I don't know....

What are the things that I don't know that I don't know? This is the primary question that Faithwalking asks each person to consid...