Monday, February 1, 2010


Stand still. The trees ahead and bushes beside you
Are not lost. Wherever you are is called Here,
And you must treat it as a powerful stranger,
Must ask permission to know it and be known.
The forest breathes. Listen. It answers,
I have made this place around you.
If you leave it, you may come back again, saying Here.
No two trees are the same to Raven.
No two branches are the same to Wren.
If what a tree or a bush does is lost on you,
You are surely lost. Stand still. The forest knows
Where you are. You must let it find you.
- David Wagoner, in Traveling Light: Collected and New Poems

I first heard this poem while watching the film Deep Presence: Meditations on a Wild Coast. The poem is growing on me...I am beginning to understand why and how.

I have felt lost (and sometimes still do). Lost in this geographical region, in this subculture, in this vocation, in this disconnected-from-the-world apartment (we don't call it 'the hermitage' for nothing!) and in living part-time away from my honey. The lost feeling follows me like a shadow, encouraging my depression, my own self-pity.

Ah, but the long hallways and trauma bay beside me are not lost. The blue sterile gowns and gloves I wear with infectious patients are not lost. The great number of families in the critical care waiting rooms are not lost. All these give me a sense of Here. This is a powerful stranger.

When I feel lost, I must ask permission to know it and to be known by it. This place I am in breathes. I listen and hear the echoes in my heart.

Here has made this place around me. Here is making it's way into my soul as a powerful stranger whom I accept with fear and trembling.

Here is the grace of God. Here is the Spirit of the winds. Here is not lost. I must let it find me.

When the LORD saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, "Moses! Moses!" And Moses said, "Here I am." "Do not come any closer," God said. "Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground." Then he said, "I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob." At this, Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God. - Exodus 3:4-6

From what are you NOT lost, in this moment?

1 comment:

  1. I had a bout of nostalgia earlier this week about the 30+ year job that I gave up 2 years ago. I wallowed in it for a day and then realized I need to embrace the now. Grace followed. I'll not be going back. So, I guess you could say I was lost to memories. I was not lost to the importance of connecting to people. I am not lost to the people I am with now.