I got away for the summer, seeking a sabbatical away from the city. I wanted to slowly chew on what this year has been. The quietness of the Island made the memory of this year alive with the newness, change, grief, and relationships it brought. I had nothing to distract or inoculate the process, just the gift of this get-away, and the realities that accompanied me here. The poet Rumi writes, “die and become the quiet. Quietness is the surest sign that you’ve died. Your old life was a frantic running from silence. The speechless full moon comes out now.” This has felt accurate. I had been running all year, anything to keep from landing in the grief pools. This sabbatical was like the hot springs of what I’d been avoiding. What is written below was born out of my first night away on the island. It is was a night of discovering mystery. MyStory.
First night on the island.
Tonight, I walked down to the water.
There is a trail way the leads to the Sound so mossy and enfolding, it surprises you.
All the sudden I was in a secret garden, clothed in green life and birch. I cried.
I forgot how alive my soul becomes with nature, with quiet. My spirit naturally became very young as I skipped along the water, hugging the large drift wood, and smelling the sea.
There was even a clearing out in a meadow with grass taller then me, a large piece of wood laid there with flowers encircling. I went and laid upon it. covered. hidden. sky above. water and green beneath.
I heard, “he makes me lie down in green pastures. he restores my soul.”
I felt God’s kindness towards me. Words are very small here.
I walked along the water, listening to the tide sing and sway.
I had conversations with the sea, the tipping moon, and shadowy sand.
I held broken clams, and rubbed the cold smoothness on my face.
Alive. I am alive.
Healing, and more tears.
I heard a sound like soft rain. It was not rain, but little amphipods hopping on seaweed. There were so many of them, a playful, liberated family. Laughing at their dance and noting our difference. I longed to be invited into their kelp world. I am too big.
I felt young and old, sweet and innocent, and unafraid.
Walking back towards the trees, I looked one more time at the water. I wasn’t alone.
A deer friend stood beside me. ‘when did you get here?’ I whispered.
A doe. She is sweet and brave, not surprised by my being there. She is small like a pre-adolescent girl whose body hasn’t grown into legs yet.
She is me. I am her.
Carrying with her a memory without pictures of who I was.
We stand together, looking at the water.
Friends that knew how to sit together without saying anything, saying everything.
God is here.
Absorbing the mystery.