Monday 28 September 2020

“Cherish the Past, Adorn the Present, Construct the Future”

Sue and I recently spent a few days in North Wales. It was our first break away together since we married in March, at the very beginning of “lockdown”. Sue called it our honeymoon. It was lovely to spend some time away together, so needed. We spent time enjoying some of the natural beauty and other less than natural beauty. One morning we went to Portmeirion, made famous as the setting for the cult 1960’s television series “The Prisoner”. It was designed and built by Sir Clough Williams-Ellis between 1925 and 1975. It is a strikingly beautiful place to behold, decadent. It looks like a scene from a fantasy movie It is almost like a full sized model village. Some perhaps would say it is a pure “folly” as it serves no real purpose other than it being beautiful to behold. Maybe that is a purpose in and off itself, as life is surely more than prosaic utility. It was certainly a joy to get lost there and in the beautiful gardens and sea front. It did not feel like a “folly” to me. A thought that came to me as we wandered up to a “folly” built within the incredible natural gardens, with flora from all over the world. As we were wandering round we discovered a beautiful cemetery dedicated to beloved pet dogs. We spent a little time there as we were grieving the loss of “Poppy”. In the centre of the graveyard was a beautiful statue of a dog. Sue asked me to take a picture of her with it and then showed me a picture she had drawn of standing with Poppy in the very same pose the night before. Some may say that these sentimental feelings that we have for pets is a folly. Maybe it is, but I am not convinced. These loves, these feelings are what make life what it is. Who is to judge what is folly and what matters in life. I would say that anything that raises the experience and expression of love in a person is never folly. We should mark these loves too, they are never folly.

As I grow older I have a deeper respect for the life I have and have had. I know the people I have known and the experiences I have, made me into the man that I am. It is the past that truly allows me to bring the moment alive. The bringing of the moment I live in alive today helps me create something for the future. Not merely for myself but for others too. Well it seems that this is the philosophy, or something like it, behind the “folly” of Portmeirion. Clough William-Ellis book about the place is titled “Cherish the Past, Adorn the Present, Construct the Future”. When I read this I thought to myself, I like that, it speaks to me and as you can imagine it got my homiletic consciousness going. Maybe this is how we should live, something that got me thinking about gratitude and how to live with gratitude. Gratitude is not simply a passive thanks giving, it is an ethical way of living by recognising the gifts we have been given, often unearned, creating something beautiful with it and thus building something for those who will follow us in the future. It is about expanding our experiences of life and truly living in the “Long Now Moment”, in so doing you truly connect the past, present and future and widen your understanding and experience of life. This is not “folly”, this is life and this is love.

I would like to share a story with you.

A blind boy sat on the steps of a building with a hat by his feet. He held up a sign which said :  ' I am blind, please help.'  There were only a few coins in the hat.

A man was walking by. He took a few coins from his pocket and dropped them into the hat. He then took the sign, turned it around, and wrote some words. He put the sign back so that everyone who walked by would see the new words.

Soon the hat began to fill up. A lot more people were giving money to the blind boy. That afternoon the man who had changed the sign came to see how things were. The boy recognized his footsteps and asked, "Were you the one who changed my sign this morning? What did you write? "

The man said, " I only wrote the truth. I said what you said but in a different way."
I wrote : ' Today is a beautiful day but I cannot see it.'

Both signs told people that the boy was blind. But the first sign simply stated this fact. The second sign told people that they were so lucky that they were not blind. It’s no real surprise that the second sign was more effective.

As the song goes “You don’t know what you’ve got ‘til its gone”

We do not always notice what we have, the blessings we have been given until we either lose them or truly notice that others do not have them. So much of life is given unbidden, is a real grace a free gift. So much so that we do not always appreciate the fruits we are surrounded but.

We need to learn to offer thanks and praise for what we have been given and to use these gifts in creative and positive ways for the good of all.

A good and useful life is one in which we count our blessings, one in which we enjoy our days with a heart of gratitude. I know the challenges of these last months have given me a greater appreciation of the life I have. My problem is that I don’t always “adorn the present”, something I need to practice more. I do though attempt to “construct a future”, leave a legacy for others by what I create.

There is no doubt that this year has been a difficult one, the troubles are not over. They will not end soon, there will be many more challenging days ahead. We have all known much loss, that said we have also perhaps found new treasure and love within the troubles. Maybe we have had time to reflect on the past, this is difficult at times, but there is also treasure there. Maybe, if allow the past to bear fruit we can find ways to adorn our present and from this construct something for others to enjoy in the future. It matters what we do in this time, not only for ourselves but for others too.

The story I just shared reminded me of an old friend who sadly died a few years ago. I spent quite a bit of time with him over the summer that his life came to an end. I was thinking of this as I thought about how I would be unable to do this at this current time. When this pandemic is over I hope I never forget the precious gift that is being in the company of others. The beauty of being close to another, to simply shake hands and or hug. We do not know what we have got until it goes do we.

Those last few weeks and months with my friend, as his life came to an end were painful, but also beautifully moving. I recall other moments with congregants who have passed over the years and other friends too. How those moments have enriched my life and hopefully made a better person who can adorn his present and therefore construct something better for the future.

My friend had over the last twenty years of his life had lost his sight and had also had to face many other physical difficulties. Finally, he slowly succumbed to cancer. What moved me greatly about him was how he accepted whatever happened with Grace. He did not waste his life wishfully thinking that he could have back what he had lost. Don’t get me wrong of course he grieved his losses, particularly his sight, but he adjusted and he accepted. I remember several years ago marvelling at his ability to memories passages from books he had read. His memory was a real marvel as he developed a new gift that he would never have known but for the loss of his sight. He found ways to adorn his present, despite the real losses he knew.

The greatest gift he gave to me as I sat with him over the last few weeks of his life, was listening to his stories. He shared a rich harvest with me. It was both a blessing and a joy to sit and listen to him. He did all the talking. In fact the last thing he said to me, just two days before he died was “The next time you come Danny, I’ll let you do some of the talking”, sadly there was not a next time.

My friend lived a full life. Like any full life there were many things that he got wrong. There was some regret, but not too much. Those last few weeks he passed on much of his knowledge to me. It was a fruitful time as I harvested so much from his life. It has adorned my present. I have been able to pass some of this on to others and helped construct something for the future. I have nurtured those seedlings that he planted that I hope will bare fruit at some point in the future.

This year has been hard for all of us. That said I do see seedlings and shoots of hope that can bear fruit in the future.

I am glad the memory of my friend returned this week, it has helped adorn my present. I offer thanks and praise for the life that my friend lived and harvest that I have shared in. I offer thanks and praise for all the lives I have known and all that they have given to me and countless others, the wisdom that they shared. I offer thanks and praise for all that has been so freely given and I hope I can make the most of it and pass it on to those who follow. I hope I can construct a future from it.

Harvest is a time to offer thanks for all that has been given us. To do so we need to see what has been given to us. It is so easy to see what we do not have and therefore fail to see the gifts that we are surrounded by, gifts that are there for all of us to share in, gifts that are so freely given.

How do we do this? Well I suspect all we need to do is live by what seem as the “folly” of Portmeirion”, to live by the principles that Portmeirion was envisioned and constructed by, in the words of Clough William-Ellis “Cherish the Past, Adorn the Present, Construct the Future.”

So let us be thankful for what we have and what we have to share and see the gifts we have to give to others. For one day those very gifts may well be gone.

Sunday 20 September 2020

Breaking Open the Heart

 I will begin this "blogspot" with this rather wonder reflection from Parker J Palmer

“An Invitation to Heartbreak and the Call of the Loon” by Parker J Palmer

Heartbreak is an inevitable and painful part of life. But there are at least two ways for the heart to break: it can break open into new life, or break apart into shards of sharper and more widespread pain.

A brittle heart will explode into a thousand pieces, and sometimes get thrown like a fragment grenade at the perceived source of its pain — there’s a lot of that going around these days. But a supple heart will break open into a greater capacity to hold life’s suffering and its joy — in a way that allows us to say, “The pain stops here.”

The broken-open heart is not restricted to the rare saint. I know so many people whose hearts have been broken by the loss of someone they loved deeply. They go through long nights of grief when life seems barely worth living. But then they slowly awaken to the fact that their hearts have become more open, compassionate, and welcoming — not in spite of their pain but because of it.

So here’s a question I like to ask myself: What can I do day-by-day to make my heart more supple?

In the poem below, Mary Oliver invites us into heartbreak — not because she wants us to wallow in suffering, but to help us become more open and responsive to a suffering world.

I spent last week in a part of the world where loons like the ones Mary writes about make their summer homes. If ever there were a sound that could break your heart open, it is the cry of a loon late at night on a moonlit lake.

“Lead” by Mary Oliver

Here is a story
to break your heart.
Are you willing?
This winter
the loons came to our harbor
and died, one by one,
of nothing we could see.
A friend told me
of one on the shore
that lifted its head and opened
the elegant beak and cried out
in the long, sweet savoring of its life
which, if you have heard it,
you know is a sacred thing.,
and for which, if you have not heard it,
you had better hurry to where
they still sing.
And, believe me, tell no one
just where that is.
The next morning
this loon, speckled
and iridescent and with a plan
to fly home
to some hidden lake,
was dead on the shore.
I tell you this
to break your heart,
by which I mean only
that it break open and never close again
to the rest of the world.

It has been a sad time in our house in the last couple of weeks. We had to say goodbye to Poppy our much loved Labrador Springer Spaniel. It has affected us all is different ways. She was such a loving and lovely dog, just the best. It has been particularly distressing at times watching the little dog Charlie come to terms with the loss of Poppy, I believe it is fair to say she is somewhat heartbroken. There has also been some family loss and all kinds of other griefs too. It is hard for me to watch those I love in pain. I can live with my own suffering, but that of others I find harder. To know love is to know grief.

We have all experienced a variety of griefs these past few months, even if it is not the loss of a loved one but instead the loss of some of the things that we love to do in life. The whole globe, to a greater and lesser degree, is experiencing many forms of grief and it does not appear to be coming to an end. To some degree or other we are all going through heartache. We are all heartbroken. Grief is something that we are all living with.

I have led a grief group for a few years now, it has been some of the most important work I have done. I have hosted it on Zoom fortnightly ever since the beginning of the pandemic. Yes there is always grief, there is always sorrow and there is always heartbreak in all of our lives, these feelings though have been amplified these last six months.

All of us belong to the largest community on God’s sweet earth, the community of grievers. Grief is the price we pay for love, it is a price worth paying, for what is life without love? It is nothing, it is meaningless, just an empty vessel. The only way to escape grief is to totally armour your heart and deny love. Now who would want to do that, to live without love, to live the life of a zombie?

Grief changes you. That said it is not really the loss that does this, but the love that is at the core of grief. When we lose someone that we love, it changes us forever. Life will never be quite the same again. We do not rise above the pain of grief, we cannot pretend that it is not there, we don’t simply get over it. What happens is that we are changed by it and as a result our hearts are enlarged and we grow as human beings, if the love has truly been realized. You see grief is really about transformation, rather than transcendence, by the way this is the true nature, the purpose of religion. Grief is not an attempt to explain the loss or even understand some meaning locked into what happened. Instead, it seems to me that grief is more about finding meaning in the absence of an explanation.

Grief is about finding meaning in the absence of an explanation. This is what the transformative power of love is about too. As I look at my life and my ministry it is really about meaning rising once again from the ashes of defeat and loss and suffering and doing the work I am here to do. I know why I am here today, there is no despair, for I have a life rich in meaning despite the very real experience of suffering, of loss and grief. My heart has been broken open many times and no doubt it will continue to be done so.

Who among us hasn’t known heartbreak? No doubt throughout our lives our hearts have been broken, perhaps broken open. Here is lovely little poem by Gregory Orr “Some Say You’re Lucky” about a heart that has been broken open and not broken apart. It beautifully reminds us that loss can allow us to experience beauty, as well as both give and receive love. The fact that our hearts have been broken open allows us to do so.

Some Say You’re Lucky
by Gregory Orr

May it be so for all whose hearts are broken.

Some say you’re lucky
If nothing shatters it.

But then you wouldn’t
Understand poems or songs.
You’d never know
Beauty comes from loss.

It’s deep inside every person:
A tear tinier
Than a pearl or thorn.

It’s one of the places
Where the beloved is born.

Unless we live with armoured heart it is inevitable that we will experience heartbreak. In fact, the only way to avoid it is to immune ourselves from love and who would want to live that way?

We cannot prevent heartbreak; it is natural consequence of love and care. It is something that we begin to experience very early in life and something that continues throughout our lives. David Whyte put it this way: 

“Heartbreak begins the moment we are asked to let go but cannot, in other words, it colors and inhabits and magnifies each and every day; heartbreak is not a visitation, but a path that human beings follow through even the most average life. Heartbreak is an indication of our sincerity: in a love relationship, in a life's work, in trying to learn a musical instrument, in the attempt to shape a better more generous self. Heartbreak is the beautifully helpless side of love and affection and is just as much an essence and emblem of care as the spiritual athlete's quick but abstract ability to let go. Heartbreak has its own way of inhabiting time and its own beautiful and trying patience in coming and going.”

Heartbreak cannot be avoided and perhaps it is the very essence of our humanity. We feel it deeply too. I know how much I carry my suffering in my body, grief is particularly heavy. It does seem to weigh you down at times, it certainly eats away at your energy levels.

Our hearts, of course, do not only break due to things close at hand. We can feel the ache of the world at times, I know I do. As Sarah Rudell Beach has stated, “Some days, the world breaks our heart. We turn on the news and we learn of another act of violence and anger and hate and rage. Our stomach sinks. Our heart aches. Our throat clenches. Our bodies do feel the suffering of the world.” I have certainly felt the world aching, in my own body these last few months. I know that I am not alone in this.

Of course, sometimes this heartache comes out in anger, which can become dangerous if it means our hearts begin to harden. Something the great religious traditions warn against. A constant biblical theme is a warning against hardened hearts. The Buddhist teacher Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche suggest that to become a true spiritual warrior means

“renouncing our hard-heartedness and allowing ourselves to be tender, sad and fully present.” This true courage and compassion. You see the breaking open of the heart is about expanding our ability to love. Our broken hearts have the potential to open us to the wider world, to see beyond the confines that keep us separate from others and the world.

The key is to keep our hearts open, to live with broken open hearts. You see love, kindness, generosity, companionship, joy, delight and happiness are rooted in the very same place that sorrow, pain, loss and heartbreak grow. They are rooted in the very same soil, you cannot know joy without knowing sorrow, or perhaps sorrow without joy.

There is a deep love there within each of us, a love that needs to be given birth to. As Wayne Muller so beautifully put it in “A life of being, having and doing enough”

"Here is the final thing we must know. We carry within us a fierce grace that will not be extinguished, does not break, cannot ever leave us comfortless. It lives in us. This life force, whatever it is that allows a blade of grass to push up, up through concrete to reach for sun and warmth, this lives in us, this is what we are made of. If we trust in this impossibly resilient capacity to bear all we are given, and recalibrate our speed in such a way that we allow ourselves to feel the searing burning loss of something or someone precious, then we can stand passionately and honestly before one another and offer our most deeply impossibly suffering heart's fearless, honest, loving kindness. And it is from this shared kindness, born of our own sorrow and loss, that we find, with and for one another, in shared, loving companionship, some tender budding fragrance of enough."

Heartbreak is a part of life, the price that we pay for love. We cannot avoid it, in fact in trying to do so all that we do is armour our own hearts and somehow cut ourselves off from the love present in life whilst also ensuring that the love present in our own hearts cannot be given birth to. Heartbreak can actually lead to a new kind of opening; our hearts can actually be broken open and we begin to give to one another the greatest gift we have and one our world so desperately needs us to share.

There is no immunity from heartbreak, such things are a part of life. All we can do is remain open so that we can continue to touch and be touched by life.

So, let’s give our hearts to one another and to life.

I am going to this morning with a short poem of India origin I am told, an ancient piece on beauty.

I know a cure for sadness:
Let your hands touch something that
makes your eyes

I bet there are a hundred objects close by
that can do that.

Look at
beauty's gift to us —
her power is so great she enlivens
the earth, the sky, our


Monday 7 September 2020

Tales of the Expected and the Unexpected

A question I have been asked many times these last few months is “How is married life?” I usually answer with a smile, well it’s not exactly what I expected and then add, but then no one amongst us were expecting these last few months. This year has been like one long episode of the 1970’s television series “Tales of the Unexpected.”

I am sure that we all had plans for this year, ideas about what we would like to be doing, perhaps certain expectations and they have not quite worked out. I am sure that all of us have had to live with much disappointment at times. Many with deep tragedy, it has been a difficult last six months, of this there is little or no doubt.

Not that they have all been bad, there have been some lovely surprises too, some unexpected gifts have come our way no doubt. Sometimes these things can come from our greatest challenges as new connections and perhaps creations have grown from the suffering, perhaps you have risen to the challenge in new and surprising ways as so many have. Maybe you have been surprised by spontaneous and perhaps continuous acts of kindness, I know I have.

This brings to mind the wonderful poem “Kindness” by Naomi Shihab Nye

“Kindness” by Naomi Shihab Nye

Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.

Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness
you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho
lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone
who journeyed through the night with plans
and the simple breath that kept him alive.

Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.
Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day to gaze at bread,
only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
It is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you everywhere
like a shadow or a friend.

In an interview with Krista Tippet on “Onbeing”, that Sue recently shared with me, she explained what the poem is about and where it came from.

“Well, I really feel, amongst all my poems, that this was a poem that was given to me. I was simply the secretary for the poem. I wrote it down, but I honestly felt as if it were a female voice speaking in the air across a plaza in Popay├ín, Colombia. And my husband and I were on our honeymoon. We had just gotten married one week before, here in Texas. And we had this plan to travel in South America for three months. And at the end of our first week, we were robbed of everything. And someone else who was on the bus with us was killed. And he’s the Indian in the poem. And it was quite a shake-up of an experience.

And what do you do now? We didn’t have passports. We didn’t have money. We didn’t have anything. What should we do first? Where do we go? Who do we talk to? And a man came up to us on the street and was simply kind and just looked at us — I guess could see our disarray in our faces, and just asked us in Spanish, “What happened to you?” And we tried to tell him. And he listened to us, and he looked so sad. And he said, “I’m very sorry. I’m very, very sorry that happened,” in Spanish; and he went on. And then we went to this little plaza, and I sat down, and all I had was the notebook in my back pocket, and pencil. And my husband was going to hitchhike off to Cali, a larger city, to see about getting traveler’s checks reinstated — remember those archaic things?”

She continues

“And so this was also a little worrisome to us, because, suddenly, we were gonna split up. I was going to stay here, and he was gonna go there. And as I sat there alone, in a bit of a panic, night coming on, trying to figure out what I was going to do next, this voice came across the plaza and spoke this poem to me — spoke it. And I wrote it down. I was just the scribe.”

So out of this terrible situation, when something horribly unexpected happened, beautiful unexpected things also occurred. The response to what happened was in so many ways beautifully creative, both the kindness of the stranger, but also from this unexpected voice of inspiration that just came to Naomi as she wrote the poem, while waiting alone and somewhat terrified, waiting for her husband’s return. Where that inspiration came from is a beautiful mystery, but perhaps not to those of us who believe in the God of Surprises. That said I know many folk don’t believe in that kind of God, but God for some of us comes alive in that loving and creative response to life’s challenges, some pretty horrific at times.

I love that she described the poem as just being given to her. It is said that Mary Oliver’s poem “Wild Geese” was one of the poems that she said was just “given to her”. Some call this grace, others give it another name. As anything ever been given to you in a similar way? Perhaps something to ponder.

I wonder what we expect from life when we step out into the world. I wonder what we receive, do we notice all we receive, do we only notice the blessings or the curses that come with choosing life. What do we do with what life offers to us, does to us, how do we respond ourselves? How do we respond when something happens to those around us, do we ourselves offer kindness to strangers like the man who offered love to Naomi and thus inspired that loving voice to be heard as she sat down with her pen and pad. It matters how we respond, it really does, who knows what chain reaction we might set off with any and every interaction.

It matters how we respond to the unexpected things that happen in life. Perhaps even more during these times of global disturbance. How we respond to events matter, do we respond with more fear, or do we respond with kindness? For me God is in the action, the response. People can believe and disbelieve what they like but surely our faith is shown in our actions, in what we do and what we do not, the seeds that we plant each and every day in our simple human interactions. We plant seeds and if they are nurtured properly, they will grow into who knows what, perhaps something beautifully unexpected.

These thoughts bring to mind the following beautiful words of wisdom from Octavia Butler’s series “Earthseed: The Book of the Living” the collection that made up "The Parable of the Sower" and "The Parable of the Talents"

“All that you touch You Change.

All that you Change Changes you.

The only lasting truth Is Change.

God Is Change.

In this work of science fiction Octavia Butler depicts God not as a figure or an all-encompassing nature, but “change”, a process that is somehow out of humanities control and yet working within humanities actions either for or against its will. In this work of fiction, the believers did not pray to their God, instead they learnt to shape and be shaped by God through their actions.

“We do not worship God.

We perceive and attend God.

We learn from God.

With forethought and work,

We shape God

Octavia Butler wrote some fascinating science fiction including two pieces that looked into what the world might be like in 2020 “The Parable of the Sower” and “The Parable of the Talents”. I wonder if she would be surprised by what she saw, in some ways yes, in others perhaps not. Of course we cannot know the answer to this as she died in 2006.

This final quotation from Earthseed does seem to speak of our time;

“When apparent stability disintegrates,
As it must-
God is Change-
People tend to give in
To fear and depression,
To need and greed.
When no influence is strong enough
To unify people
They divide.
They struggle,
One against one,
Group against group,
For survival, position, power.
They remember old hates and generate new ones,
The create chaos and nurture it.
They kill and kill and kill,
Until they are exhausted and destroyed,
Until they are conquered by outside forces,
Or until one of them becomes
A leader
Most will follow,
Or a tyrant
Most fear.

Does this speak of our world today?

Our world needs us to find a way to unify to work together, to connect to that power of change that brings about love and kindness and thus inspire one another to live from this loving kindness rather than fear. The seeds we plant today will make the difference not only now, but in the years to come. We must become the change we wish to see in the world, we must bring to life that Divine change.

Did you have plans my friends. I know I did. I had great expectations about my life, particularly this year. It has not gone the way I would have expected. I know I am not alone in this.

As Robbie Burns famously wrote

The best laid schemes of mice and men
Go often askew,
And leave us nothing but grief and pain,
For promised joy!

No matter how careful we plan and scheme life never works out exactly as we would like. Life is full of surprises, we all live tales of the unexpected some amazing, some terrible. Life is awry and usually or do I mean unusually incredible. Brother David Steindt Rast said "Another name for God is surprise." Ah yes the God of surprises, isn’t this the true nature of life? Surprise. It fills me with awe.

We cannot predict the future; it truly is unwritten. We do not know what is coming. There will be some difficult challenges ahead, there will also be beautiful moments too, some will be unexpected. They will come perhaps in our most difficult moments. These moments will affect us and change us, just as our responses will change and affect others. Therefore, it is important what attitude we take into life.

We can’t really live with expectation about what might be, but we can live with hope. I suspect that to live a life without any sense of hope may be the hardest thing to do. For it is hope, in life and humanity, that will allow us to live from that place of kindness, to give love form out hearts, so that those around us, including strangers, will hopefully receive what is needed when things go wrong. Hope and kindness will inspire us to stay open to that voice of love present in life. It will inspire us to plant seeds of love for others to share.

So, let us go plant seeds of love and let us become fertile ground for those seeds to fall on, to be nurtured and cared for, to flower and grow.

Let us go out into the world in hope, if not expectation.

I am going to end this morning with a little bit of David Whyte “Learning to Walk”

“Learning to Walk” by David Whyte

Walked out this morning
into a broad green garden
with the rising sun in my eyes
and the first hint of the day’s heat
touching my face,
feeling as broad as the garden
and young as the day
and soaking up the heat
in my black tee-shirt,
walked straight forward
out of the gate,
through the wood,
along the river,
toward the mountain
and thought of the future
I could make in the world
if I walked toward it
like this,
with my face toward the hills
and my eyes full of light
and the earth sure
and solid beneath me,
walking on
with a fierce anticipation,
and a faithful expectation,
with the sun and the rain
and the wind on my skin…

From “River Flow: New and Selected Poems”