So long ago now
So long ago I hardly remember
I stood in the tall grass
For the first time
That the world was so large
So large that I could barely see my toes above the sharp blades
That housed the hopping
So large that it could encompass my every dream
Dreams that altered space and time
Dreams that excited me
Now the world is small
Infinitesimal in comparison
And nearly meaningless
Except for those dreams
Of so long ago
Note: I think I will rewrite the end. I was probably not feeling terribly optimistic at that time. If written now it might end something like:
I left Mobile with a smile late in the afternoon yesterday after a last reshuffling of plans and unpacking/repacking of the car.
The original plan, based entirely on cautious habits acquired over the years, was to bring everything with me in case things didn’t work out.
I’ve gotten very good at eliminating all but the essentials. When I left ND to come here I left a fully furnished, down to silverware, toilet paper, and made bed house behind.
This time something had changed. I found myself wanting to load up everything and that wasn’t going to happen because it seems that when the wiring harness in my SUV melted down a few months ago it took out my trailer lights and I wasn’t about to risk another meltdown by attempting to repair them, which meant I couldn’t rent a U-Haul.
There was no way I was going to take everything with and that bothered me.
It wasn’t until a friend stopped by to send me off with a hug and a smoothie (Thank you, Professor!) and began pointing out things that I shouldn’t bother bringing with that it all began to make sense.
I was attempting to pack up something that is impossible to get into a box or a bag and I could spend the rest of my life trying to squeeze it into every available space I could find and never get it all in because its is larger than a $20 blanket or a rug I picked up from the curb:
I’ve spent so many years without a home that I forgot what it felt like. I even developed this inner philosophy that said wherever I go I’m always going home because the only sense of home I had for so long was the one I carried with me.
Over the last dozen years every time I’ve headed off to a job in the oilfield it eventually lead to another. Then another. And another. Until I ended up alone and isolated.
These things I’ve felt over the last week, the things that have kept me up at night, that frustrated and irritated, aren’t there because I feel alone.
I am not alone.
I have made strong friendships and have the support of people who love me as much as I love them.
The feeling isn’t that of being alone but of becoming alone, again, which is something that scares the crap out of me and keeps me up at night.
I had forgotten what it feels like to belong somewhere. I never would have guessed that place would be Mobile, Alabama and maybe it won’t be forever, but there it is, home.
So I unpacked everything and moved it all to the attic of the mansion I rent rooms in, much to the delight of the owners who were so honestly relieved and happy to know I would be coming back that they hurried to help me.
I left later in the day than I wanted but made it to Missouri around midnight.
When I looked in the back of my little Rodeo I saw that I brought so few things I had room to arrange a makeshift bed. I walked Brown Dog, the best traveling partner I could ever ask for, offered gratitude to the powers that be, shifted a few things to make enough room to stretch out in, then lay down and slept better than I have in days.
She makes notes
To write her poems
To keep my story straight
I didn’t know I had a story
She pays attention
Wants to know it all
Shares in the gathering
She writes them in a shorthand
I can barely read
Recites them like a prayer
What I drink
Where I go
What I do
Nothing at all about who I know
Or where I’ve been
Only where and who I am now
She taps them out with her fingers
On my skin
Makes a rhythm with them
That she keeps while making love
With everything she does
In the morning she leaves them behind
They are hard to read
But their meaning is clear
I touch the pen she wrote with
The warmth of her remains
I trace the impressions in the paper
Like the lines in my palm
and find her there
I’m not sure when I scribbled this poem on a loose sheaf of note paper (now in the “Final” file along with empty cans and banana peals as all illegible scribbles later clarified end) that suggests there was at one time more to it. Still, it stands on it’s own as a contemplative piece.
Catching on the web of it
Hurtling through the thick of it
In to the past
Hanged on every word of it
Passing through the heart of it
By the act
Bleeding with the pain of it
Shooting past that part of it
To someplace better
that stepping to the side
of the ongoing ride
to watch it rolling by
frozen in a space
about the size of nothing
at the slowly melting something
leaving just the core
while the unreality of it all
just makes me want to smile
Sometimes Life with a capital “L”, that interruption to our usual routine, can be an intrusion, unwanted. The car breaks down. The job I do becomes unstable. New bills. New hassles. Life getting in the way of Living.
Other times it can be a most welcome gift from the Divine. Unexpected and welcome. Invited. Life and Living working together to create new paths.
The last seven days of my life have been just such a gift.
Seven days of smoky skies and noisy rides and sunsets and of rediscovery and of joy and of meaning. Of long hikes and sweet nights and endless sunrises and hard laughter.
I have doubted myself many times over the years. Doubted that what I have been working for could be accomplished. Doubted that my constant calls would ever be heard. Doubted that I am who I present myself to be. Doubted even my faith in the Divine that I have devoted so much time to.
A trip to Black Elk Peak, that sacred place in the Black Hills of South Dakota where the Divine always stands with outstretched hands and a compassionate heart that I have visited before when seeking answers, was made at the end of the seven days and this time the Goddess herself granted me an outpouring of blessings with a delicate rain from her very hand that crossed my face and mixed with my own tears of loving gratitude. An undeniable message that my path is true, my footing sure, my future promised.
There are times when Life gets in the way and there are times when it opens a doorway to a lifetime of meaning and purpose and of love. Be ready. Do the hard work now so when that door opens you can spread your wings and fly through it.
after a lifetime of drifting
on this empty sea
carried by winds
past welcoming shores
and island oasis
where the promise of life
this tiny tattered raft
cursed home for far too long
tossed on waves
of my own making
that crash and pound
threatening to upset
the tenuous balance
of need and desire
by faith in a wisdom
greater than my own
now settles to calmer seas
fanned by a wind
of Divine intervention
to keep steady course
by tenacious degrees
to beach upon the paradisaical coast
of an island named
where the oceans turbulent breath
settles to an intimate whisper
the waves dance tenderly
on halcyon shores
lit by fires of passion
and the sun shimmers
on rippled depths
teaming with life
I set my foot on stable ground
the path revealed in a touch
advance to a berth
with solid foundations
of care and compassion
from the tempest of my past
I enter with calm chaos
this new home
by the hearth
in the glow of Eros
true love stands
I step into her embrace
my mind is set to ease
my soul finds connection
my heart beats again
and I know
In the Tarot the Hermit stand alone on the top of a mountain with lantern held out to see and to illuminate. He is both student and teacher and he tells us that the answers we seek can be found within.
The card has two basic meanings;
First; the need to withdraw from society to become comfortable with himself.
Second; the return from isolation to share knowledge with others.
Several years ago I decided to withdraw from the world. There were many reasons for doing this. Some of them were valid. Most were not.
One of the biggest reasons I did this is because being alone hurt. It hurt so much that I became a hermit. Funny animals us humans; we withdraw when we feel alone.
I’d like to tell you that in those years I became wise, all-seeing, all-knowing, but I did not. What I did do is learn much about myself. Where I came from and how that affected who I am. How to reconcile my life experiences with where I was physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually.
When I raised my lantern on those things that shaped me, there were things that came into focus that made me uncomfortable and though they initially made me want to remain in isolation they also became the things that drew me out of it. By examining each act of rage or insolence or passion or love or joy or whatever, without passing judgment, neither good nor bad, but simply as a thing that happened or that I did, I was able to gain a clearer image of who I was and, more importantly, who I was not.
In that process I learned one simple truth: If you want to be who you are meant to be you must first stop being who you are.
Once I gained that clearer view I began the excruciating and liberating job of dismantling who I was and recreating who I was meant to be. I say “recreating” because I have come to believe that we are born exactly who we are meant to be and life, doing what it does best, getting in the way of living, rewrites that person. We may be raised or live in a way that is destructive and damaging or make mistakes or have experiences that reshape that person, but that original person, the ego-free infant with no concept of time or space or tragedy or love or hate or pain, remains at our core. Always there vying for our attention. Waiting to be realized.
This process is never ending. I am complete and whole but my work, examining and re-examining and freeing those parts of myself locked away and learning to become a better person, will never be done.
I chose to release myself from the isolation last fall. For me the process took seven years. It was long and painful and lonelier than I can possibly express but it was worth it. I am beginning to realize that person I was born as. Become the person you see now. I like this person.
This is not the only way to become a fully realized human. Not even close. It was my way and the methods I chose ran a high risk of failure so I won’t share those methods but for me they were worth the risk.
What I will tell you is that it came down to this one thing: Courage.
If you are not who you want to be all it takes is the courage to forget who you have pretended to be. There is nothing more liberating than being yourself.
A little piece I wrote this seveal years ago when I was facing the necessity of rejoining “civilized society” after being off-grid and pretty much off the map for a time.
It’s interesting to go back in time and find these little sparks that encouraged the flame within that burns so bright today and to recognize the dark places they came from.
The lesson for me is clear; embrace my past and be grateful for what I learned. But never go back.
Here, at the edge of the world, I find contentment and chaos. Old friends, both. Neither expected nor warranted.
I find myself frozen in this pivotal moment. Momentum gathers with the clouds that seem determined to follow.
Not long ago I sent them back to spread their seed of malcontent upon the shoulders of those who manipulated. The cries of their masters, now quelled by the wind that always lives in the canyons where I take refuge, were never heard. I cry instead for them.
Here, where the Universe Herself sings with such beauty that my soul aches to touch Her just once again. Such things may not exist.
Here, I am at peace.
Here, standing at the brink, I wonder; Stand or Fall.
Beyond here lay the rest of the Pack, ferocious and cunning and ready. I will join them for now, but they will know; I do not belong.
My guise will last, my purpose will be fulfilled, and I will flee to the Refuge of Love with Life renewed and Balance, at long last, achieved.