Friday, January 10, 2020

On How to Be

by Dennis Hunter
January 5, 2020

Be like the water of the lake:
Calm and steady, but fluid,
reflecting the clear sky above.
Let the cool morning breeze make ripples
Across your surface and pleasant goosebumps on your skin.
Watch the ripples come and go
without disturbing the nature of the water.
You do not need to climb down in the lake
with the alligator and the catfish,
and try to smooth out the water's wrinkles
with your hands, like a bed sheet.
Be like the sky above,
clear and bright and open,
the low Florida sun beaming across it,
warming your bones and reflecting
on facets of the rippling water like glittering jewels,
inviting the trees and the grass to stand up straighter,
to reach higher, towards the life-giving light.
Here, there, a cloud dots the sky, lingering,
passing across the open expanse.
The sky doesn't mind.
You do not need to stand up
and wave your arms at the clouds,
gesticulating like a madman, trying
to chase them away.
Only stay. The way the lake stays,
ripples not disturbing its deeper stillness.
Only stay. The way the sky stays,
holding space for clouds to come and go.
Only stay, the way the sun stays,
bringing light and life to each part
of the turning world, this part then that part,
each corner waking and sleeping, sleeping then waking again.
Each new day that breaks is an invitation
to root down in stillness like the water
and to stretch open in welcoming like the sky,
to both root down and stretch open like the trees and grass.
But look, now. You stood up too fast,
and startled the catfish
in the muddy shallows at the water's edge,
where she had come, like you,
to warm her scales and blood
in the morning sun.

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