Sanctuary

Happy Corn/Barley moon, which is actually a full moon in my birth sign of Pisces! Full moons in astrology bring a lot of energy and full moon’s in Pisces bring about emotion so if you’re feeling a bit emotional yesterday or for the last few days or a few days following, it could be the full moon in Pisces. Often, full moons bring out emotions. Pisces is the sign of ‘the hidden,’ it’s ‘the underworld.’ So astrologically one could expect some strong emotions to resurface. It’s also September! I don’t know what it is, and I just wrote a new poem about it yesterday, but there’s something about the switch from late August to early September. I always feel like it’s the one month that I actually am aware and present to the months shifting. There’s something different about the transition between the two months. I’m sure it’s, we as a society, kind of equate it with ‘fall returning,’ when that does not really happen technically until almost the end of the month. Still, many kids go back to school and possibly, even as an adult, we hold the memories of our own youth when the final days of August were our final days of summer before returning to school in the fall. It was challenging to choose a poem for today. I have a poem from a collection of poems I have not put out anything from yet called “Moon,’ and I debated it heavily. I also have a lot of poems set in the time of year from late August to early September, so there were contenders. I chose the poem I did because it’s where I’m at. It’s strange because last week due to the heat, my apartment not having air conditioning, and having to work from home for two weeks and then one in the office, I decided to return home to my parent’s house. I have not stayed at my parent’s house due to the pandemic in months. I was tested for COVID and was fortunately negative. I returned home and it did bring up emotions from my past. I started thinking about things I have not yet thought about in years. Perhaps it is because throughout my adult life, the longest amounts of time I’ve spent at my parent’s home have been periods when I was in transition. It was typically a few weeks while awaiting a move, a summer home from college, time after I injured my leg to heal, when my mom was sick. Those times were all of great transition. Right now, I’m in the transition that we all are in, which is finding our ‘new normal’ in this collective time in history. I have, for years, ran the same running route when I have been home. This route is ‘almost sacred,’ to me. It’s my favorite place to run. I used to get home and that was the first thing I would do. This is the first time I recognize and accept my body is not able to run the route due to injury. I did spend quite a bit of time walking the route. It’s like the route holds my history and just being there, not only do the memories come back, but I can actually feel them like I did when I was on it. It represents hope to me, more than anything. Even when I was running to escape the idea of my mom having cancer, it was positive. I was letting out emotion. When I’m there, I’m reminded of how many times I’ve been down for the count and got back up and started over. The feeling of getting a ‘new start’ is something I love. I love when I hear others talk about ‘new starts,’ in their lives and I love that feeling. There was no ‘new start,’ unless we count ‘this new normal,’ for me, but it’s been going on for some time. There was an absence of a new love interest or a new move. This time, it was only, the joy of being back on my route. The one thing that was new was that there was no pushing to be faster or better. There was just a feeling of thankfulness for being present, right now, where I’m at. There was a sense of growth though, as I realized I had never been on the route and just been focused on the experience of being present right at that moment. It was really wonderful to walk outside, to breathe fresh air, to put myself in a place of quiet after a busy day of seeing patients via tele-health, to disconnect. Although it’s in the city, compared to where I live, walking the densely populated route (mostly swamp and woods) felt far away from the chaos of the world. With everything turned off, I could hear my thoughts and check in with my own feelings. In the morning when I was doing my meditation, they quoted Zadie Smith who wrote, “The wicked lie, is that the past is always tense and the future is perfect.” As I reflected, I thought about how old mistakes repeat when we refuse to learn from them. For all the ‘new starts,’ there were a lot of mistakes, but, maybe, what felt different this time was that I have actually learned from some of them. In itself, this is a ‘new start,’ the start of accepting the truths of old mistakes and accepting the changes I learned as a result and being ok with them. I often talk the talk of the necessity of self-care with my clients. I am always advocating for them to give themselves ‘permission slips,’ ‘to relax,’ ‘to emotionally check in.’ The last few days I took my own advice. It’s been quiet and peaceful. I may not get the excitement I got from a new love, a new start in a new city, etc., but there is also joy in knowing you’re ok not to need that. There’s a certain joy that comes from accepting where you’re at and not needing anything ‘new.’

Sanctuary

I love walking at night

down under the highway overpass,

a gateway to the Coniferous Swamp,

listening to the geese honk over Tamaracks

and White Cedars. Leaving the concrete world

of nine to fives, under strong determined streetlights,

into a thicket of frogs and cricket songs,

deer nibbling on herbaceous plants,

that still as you near them, and stare deeply.

I too have looked at people and with my eyes asked,

Is your intention to hurt me? Alone under starlight,

I have always been able to find home here,

in this urban wildlife refuge. Of all the places

in the Milky Way, this is where I find a sense of home.

I don’t know how to be a man sometimes,

how to love right, how to be at peace within myself,

but here I only know that I don’t know how not to be thankful,

even when the soil is saturated in water with nowhere to go.

I can relate when I am here

because when I’m melting

and it’s raining

and the ground is too frozen to absorb anything,

I know, this place, is ok 

holding the mess that is me.

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