My Father’s Cane

I had to pull my father’s dusty old cane out of the closet this week.
I’ve had shooting pain in my left leg,
and I haven’t walked my beloved road for days.
That “damn cane” that my father cussed out so often,
has helped this lame goat
hobble around all week. Right now, I’m reeling a bit
from some body issues: a 3mm kidney stone that hospitalized me,
a gall bladder full of stones, a tooth that broke
while eating pasta which wasn’t even al dente,
and now the leg. In the Middle Ages they used to say, Momento Mori:
Remember Death.
This saying is not meant to be morbid, but rather
it’s intended to remind us of the shortness and impermanence
of this current incarnation, so that we can wake up
to live, and love, every moment —
no matter how painful or how blissful. The Tibetans call it:
“Living in the Mirror of Death.”
Carlos Castenada’s Don Juan always insisted that
without the awareness of death, everything was ordinary and trivial.
To realize that you have little time,
and no time for crap — what a wonderful gift!
So instead of an hour on the road, I shamble down to the fire pit
and sit there for a while just bathing in the kosmos
and the silence. Just tasting the blessing as the clouds
sail by in a lapis sky, high above the big green wall of sycamore, beech,
oak, bald cypress and weeping willow, that
line the dry creek bed down below. And I just smile,
feeling more alive than ever, grateful to be gripping my father’s cane.

The Long Road Leads to Love

Reflecting on the violence in Charlottesville, VA

We are all Dante, waking up in the middle of our lives
only to find ourselves in a dark wood,
the true way completely lost.
We are all Amelia Earhart, flying blind into the vast Pacific,
looking for our tiny, tropical island
where we can all rest and refuel.
We are all William Butler Yeats, walking through hilly lands
and hollow lands, searching for
that glimmering girl with apple blossom in her hair.

We are all on the long road that inevitably leads to Love.

And we all have to descend through the nine circles of Hell;
we all have to climb
the Seven Storey Mountain of Purgatory;
and in the end, we all have to walk through a wall of fire
to get to Love. It took Dante one thousand lines
of Italian metric verse to get there! But he got there.
And the good news is: all narcissists, all fascists and Neo-Nazis,
all politically correct social activists,
all the just and the unjust, all of us, will eventually get there.
But the shockingly difficult news is this: that all of us will have to
face, embrace and transcend
all the fear, hatred, violence and misunderstanding
that’s tangled up in our own minds, before we can get to
the Love that moves the Sun
and all the other stars.

And, by the way, there’s no road to Love — Love is the road.

13 August 2017