By Vi Englund
A door had closed in my life. One morning I awakened at dawn: I lingered by that closed door. Then, as in previous losses, I walked alone.
The wet grass beneath my feet healed my body. The trees overhead fed my spirit. And I kept hearing, or thought I heard: Live it now. Live it now. You cannot live tomorrow unless you live today – this moment.
Then I became aware of the great process of time. We hold nothing. All things go. I became part of that stream of time when the ancient life-forms started. I could see those life-forms as though in progression. Vivid as a chart on a museum wall. Yet the ancient oaks speak only of today. An unbelievable optimism overflowed me. The Life-Force moves. It continues to grow and change. It re-creates from decaying hearts new grasses – perhaps in different form. And there is an expanding consciousness to perceive the wonder of this movement of Life!
Suddenly I knew my part in this. It is not to war with progress. Not to spend my force grieving because the buffalo are gone and the whale may be leaving. Not grasping for some utopian future. But from my thought and feeling first in mind and heart and then in words, tell what it is – just what it is this day.
So, this day I saw a crimson blossom of a trumpet flower in a pine tree. It bloomed above fist-sized cones. I saw the arched head of a deer; the gentle grace of a doe in movement. I saw a cottontail, poised as a statue. For a while I walked in the tracks of a raccoon. I sat on a moss-covered stump and wondered, what myth am I living? Promptly the answer came: Emerson’s woodlot myth, I smiled. I thought I heard the chuckle of a friend.
I departed the woods and went to the beach. Through cracks in the pier, three inches from my eyes, I saw two barn swallows with their golden lined beaks closed. In their carefully feathered nest, they slept the deep sleep of infants’ sleep. Their elders sat on the dock rail. They chatted together before starting the day of feeding their young. I heard the quack of a blue heron, and the plop of the dive of a tern. I listened to all the birds, and did not care about their names.
Today I walked in the good earth. I felt a gnarled oak with these fingers. I saw a blossom in a pine tree, and it healed me. I said, “Let the past go. Let the future be. It is enough to feel, and see, and be in this instant in time.”
I understood that the door was not really closed. All the life and live I’d known walked with me beneath the trees. Life flows in an endless stream. Being a part of life, we flow with it.
The swallows gather food
for their young.
I gather a different food,
for a different young.