Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Live In a Way That Lets You Find the Hidden Poem: Seeing Connectedness

Jogging the reservoir during peak post-work hours was more of an exercise in patience and serpentine steps.  Previously unemployed, I had the freedom to go during off hours, enjoying a wide-open path, occasionally aware of someone just ahead, my pace rabbit, or that person doing interval training, with whom I kept a regular pass & nod schedule.  Just before sunset was a lesson in the art of dodging dogs walking humans, strollers pushed, groups of four meandering and chatting. I found myself slightly annoyed that they were on my path.  In my way.

Until I circled upon a view of the water, the porch lights of homes turning on all over the hillside, the seagulls and ducks in a row.  They rocked peacefully on the waves in the aftermath of the setting sun. Suddenly the crowd of people reminded me that I live in community, sharing life and the running|walking|dog-filled|stroller-strewn path.

I paused in my moment of zen to snap a photo.  It's actually easy to feel connected here, to return to this moment. 

Reservoir at dusk, through the chain link.




The challenge is on the L.A. subway. The man playing tinny music without headphones, the 17-year-old punks dudes jumping on and off cars at each stop, probably playing a game, but just young and dumb enough to feel threatening to a girl with only a book as defense. (Hardback, but still.)  The angry girl scowling at everyone, clearly ready for a fight.  Avoid eye contact.

Where is the connectedness here?  When I realize that the boys are BOYS.  They are bored, and have nothing better to do on a Saturday. Angry-girl may have had a hard day, or a hard life, and has put up a wall to protect her vulnerability that has been shattered when offered to those also living in pain, and unable to hold it with care. (I don't know about the guy sharing his bad music with all who happened to choose his same train car.  He's just rude.)

When I close my book, take out my earbuds, and pay attention, I see, just like the ducks resting on the water, the peace behind the chaos.  

“Anyone who says, 'Here’s my address, write me a poem,' deserves something in reply. So I’ll tell you a secret instead: poems hide. In the bottoms of our shoes, they are sleeping. They are the shadows drifting across our ceilings the moment before we wake up. What we have to do is live in a way that lets us find them."  ~Naomi Shihab Nye

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