deep wood

dark wood

I am in a dark wood, trying to find my way. All the trees look the same. What seems to be a path will disappear in a tangle of brush after just a few steps. The moon has not come up. The sounds of the night wear a menacing edge.

I try to keep from panicking. I tell myself to breathe. How did I get here? How can I find my way home? It is as if I suddenly came to consciousness in this place. It seems I’ve been here quite a while, but unaware. Which means, unfortunately, that I can’t retrace my steps.

There is no visible threat, but my heart is beating in my ears. I can hardly think. I’ve heard the stories of terror and all of them are breathing down my neck at once. My imagination fuels my fear.

As I cast to the right and to the left, I see the dark form of a large tree. I make my way there and, circling the bulk, I push aside a low branch, and crawl inside the canopy. I find a place where there is a bit of room and I lean myself against the trunk.

With my back to the tree and a large branch on either side, I feel my panic begin to subside. Here, at least for a moment, I can breathe and take stock of my surroundings. Here, cuddled up against the bulk of the tree, I release my frantic wanderings and whisper a prayer.

Then, to my surprise, I begin to notice other things. I feel the slightest breeze and it carries the scent of pine upon its breath. I notice that the ground beneath me is covered with a blanket of pine needles, softening its surface. The branches on either side are full of life, earning their monicker of ever-green. I raise my eyes to see the stars through the highest branches, punctuating the night sky with hope.

The moon sneaks out from behind a cloud. It had been there all along. It’s face wears a craggy smile as it sends its shimmering light upon the grasses down the hill. Turns out, this tree is at the edge of a clearing. From it, I watch a cautious doe lead her fawn out into the open space. She lifts her head at a sharp sound and sniffs the air. Then she resumes her grazing.

The wood is full of undeniable danger, but it is also filled with beauty. Now my prayer has turned from desperation to gratitude. For a moment I am in a wood that is deep with wonder. It is the same wood – mysterious, and whispering grace.

 

[photo by ShinyPhotoScotland per cc 2.0]

early morning stupor

cup of coffee
Slow head
Slow heart
Slow hands

I sit in a stupor on my couch
And wrap my hands around a cup of coffee
As stupor wraps my soul.

Would that I could change this dullness
Into the quiet of meditation.

I can’t conjure up mystery
But I can find my way to gratefulness.
And I slowly turn my heart to find that light.

It’s a start

 

[photo by Danila Matveev per cc 2.0]

deep

moon on water

Deep calls to deep, they say.
I believe it.
It skips my head and grabs my heart.
The universe moves
And something shifts within me

I feel the quantum change
Small and vast at the same time.
There is a truth spinning at the center
Humming in my soul
Vibrating across the strings of my heart

You can’t pin it down.
Observation, itself, makes it shift.
Only one aspect at a time can come into view.
It is simply too big, too vast,
Too deep.

Logic looses its grip.
It cannot hold.
But where logic pushes away,
Love draws close.
The heart of it all calls to my heart.

I know that it is true,
Not because I’ve figured it out,
Not because I’ve grasped it,
But because it holds me
And I feel its embrace.

Deeply.

[photo by NJ per cc 2.0]

salvation

the face of quandary

Sometimes it seems that when I turn toward you, I must first unclench the muscles of my soul. I must tell my heart to put down its shield, and open, just a bit, to your music.

I suddenly realize that I have been straining to hold the quiet at bay.

Why would I do that?

Is it because I cannot be open without also being at risk? Until I remember that you love me, the risk is far too great.

Every time I turn toward you, it seems I must push aside the dogma of the world – a dogma that pits me against all others, in a fight I’m sure to lose. The messages in the litany of the world are deeply imprinted on my soul. I cannot easily shake them off.

It is as if, in that moment of turning toward you, I cross into another world, another culture, where everything works by different rules. Where things seem upside down, and I have to listen hard to understand even the simplest things.

Yet, even with its strangeness, I am more at home in this space than in the world of my daily existence. My old clothes no longer fit. Nor do my old excuses. Yet, somehow, I do fit. Somehow this is my soul’s true home.

Is that what ‘salvation’ really means: finding my true self, suddenly at home in you?

[photo by Crystian Cruz per cc 2.0]