Dear Friends ~ We are walking our daily forested loop, my dog and I, this softly gray afternoon. We crunch through the colorful patchwork blanket of autumn foliage so recently laid down. The leaves obscure our well-worn footpaths each November, so I'm bushwacking my best approximation of a trail, checking for familiar markers to keep me from wandering off the route I usually traipse without a second thought. I find myself smiling—at the playful leaf riot kicking up with each step—and at the unexpected thrill of entering a well-known space with fresh eyes and curiosity.
Much like the forest floor, often our inner landscapes are marked by habitual patterns of thinking and emotional rumination that we tend to follow because...well...that's the way we've always gone. Sometimes what we really need is a crisp November gale to shake loose old habits and map out new possibilities for the journey.
Let our hands be astonished at what we have made, and glad.
Let us follow ourselves into a present not ruled by the past.
If we jump up now, our far will be near.
someone asked Robert Frost, toward the end.
Yes, and even for the past, he replied,
that it will turn out to have been all right
for what it was, something we can accept,
mistakes made by the selves we had to be,
not able to be, perhaps, what we wished,
or what looking back half the time it seems
we could so easily have been, or ought...
The future, yes, and even for the past,
that it will become something we can bear.
...Hope for the past,
yes, old Frost, your words provide that courage,
and it brings strange peace that itself passes
into past, easier to bear because
you said it, rather casually, as snow
went on falling in Vermont years ago.
and only a few very simple questions: did I love,
finish my task in the world? Learn at least one
of the many names of God? At the intersections,
the boundaries where one life began and another
ended, the jumping-off places between fear and
possibility, at the ragged edges of pain,
did I catch the smallest glimpse of the holy?
We should like to skip the intermediate stages.
We are impatient of being on the way to something unknown, something new.
And yet it is the law of all progress
that it is made by passing through some stages of instability—
and that it may take a very long time.
The first thing
The last thing.
Start from where you are.
It's a journey . . . that I propose . . . I am not the guide . . . nor technical assistant . . . I will be your fellow passenger . . .
Though the rail has been ridden . . . winter clouds cover . . . autumn's exuberant quilt . . . we must provide our own guide-posts . . .
I have heard . . . from previous visitors . . . the road washes out sometimes . . . and passengers are compelled . . . to continue groping . . . or turn back . . . I am not afraid . . .
I am not afraid . . . of rough spots . . . or lonely times . . . I don't fear . . . the success of this endeavor . . . I am Ra . . . in a space . . . not to be discovered . . . but invented . . .
I promise you nothing . . . I accept your promise . . . of the same we are simply riding . . . a wave . . . that may carry . . . or crash . . .
It's a journey . . . and I want . . . to go . . .