Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Somewhere out there

I posted this image on my poetry blog yesterday, and though I dashed off a poem, I remember thinking later that it ended too abruptly; that something was missing.

This morning I went back to John O'Donohue's book of blessings, and the one that seemed to call to me was one that clearly described what I think of as liminal space, that space between:

"You are in this time of the interim
Where everything seems withheld.

The path you took to get here has washed out;
the way forward is still concealed from you.

The old is not old enough to have died away;
the new is still too young to be born...

Your eyes are blurred
and there is no mirror..."

and then he goes on to say:

"As far as you can, hold your confidence.
Do not allow your confusion to squander
This call which is loosening
Your roots in false ground,
That you might come free
From all you have outgrown.

What is being transfigured here is your mind,
And it is difficult and slow to become new.
The more faithfully you can endure here,
The more refined your heart will become
For your arrival in the new dawn."

What I read has a way of lurking in the background while I meditate -- which is why I am very careful about what I read in the morning -- and so this sat there, percolating, while I resisted and my mind continued to protest and distract me. And then I realized why this image had had such a pull for me, and what my poem missed: it's that this place (which I feel certain must be Vermont; probably along the Connecticut River, looking across at New Hampshire) is SO BEAUTIFUL and yet I don't seem to be able to step over the fence. I'm stuck in the road; I'm not even sure there's room for me to stand safely on the other side of the fence without falling in.

And then, because the last thing I did before going to bed last night was listen to this beautiful Eva Cassidy rendition of Somewhere Over the Rainbow that my friend Karen posted on her blog yesterday, I remembered the OTHER Somewhere song, the one from West Side Story:

There's a place for us,
Somewhere a place for us.
Peace and quiet and open air
Wait for us
Somewhere.

I remembered singing that with longing as a teenager, feeling that sense of somehow being in the wrong place and time. But then, when I looked up the lyrics for this post, I happened upon a third Somewhere Song, quite possibly my favorite of the three: the one Feivel Mouse sings so adorably in An American Tale when he is separated from his family:

Somewhere out there,
beneath the pale moonlight,
someone's thinking of me and loving me tonight.

Somewhere out there,
someone's saying a prayer,
that we'll find one another in that big somewhere out there.

And even though I know how very far apart we are,
it helps to think we might be wishing on the same bright star.

And when the night wind starts to sing a lonesome lullaby,
it helps to think we're sleeping underneath the same big sky.

Somewhere out there,
if love can see us through,
then we'll be together, somewhere out there,
out where dreams come true.

... and through the magic of music I see that this malaise I feel is just that sense of separation, of otherness, that is always so much a part of the Lenten journey; a mourning for all the distractions that keep me from really feeling connected to whatever it is we call it: God, Divine, Source, True Self, Christ...

I see that the fence separating us is very low; quite manageable really. And that the glory on the other side longs for me as intensely as I long for it. But I just can't seem to step over into the soft green grass.

NOTE: All John O'Donohue quotations are from his wonderful book of blessings, To Bless the Space Between Us (© John O’Donohue. All rights reserved). To learn more about John O'Donohue, be sure to visit his website: www.johnodonohue.com

2 comments:

Stacey Grossman said...

Diane, beautiful picture and post. I instinctively crave to get down on my belly and go under the fence, crawling through the green green grass to glory. Yes, the longing and the beckoning are there. Being in among the fresh new blades, pressing myself to the earth, is sometimes the only place that sustains me...

karengberger said...

I remember hearing Linda Ronstadt sing this song, years ago; today it makes me teary, for the obvious reason. I love the poem about loosening our roots...and the path that has disappeared, before the next path appears. I want to sit with this reading for a while...Thank you for it.