Tuesday, December 31, 2019

to know where we are

spatial sense

where are we?
and where is everything else?
we rely on the senses for they reveal the other to us,
and thus place us in the world:
the smell, the touch, the sound, the sight,
ways that the outside world reaches back to us,
and we know some of where we are,
the more we can know where everything else is,
the more surely we can see into the larger sets
that can reveal more of who we are
by how we fit in, or don’t,

where on the mountain am I?
and, thus, where is everything else?
topography, geography, whisper definitions of place,
and I reach to feel myself in context,
most days, in my early morning meditations,
I concentrate on a Native American prayer,
for Earth to teach me,
for each cardinal point to help me learn 
what the North, the East, the South, the West,
can teach me about how the universe offers insights
into who we are, and how we should be:
how to be braced by the North,
lightened by the East, and starting over,
comforted and held by the warmth the South sends,
eldered and reassured by the West,
and the potential glory in endings,

all of this is a spatial sense,
an intelligence that helps me make sense out of all that I am,
and all that seeks to help me be even more,

I would add the temporal, too,
the sense of where I am within past and future,
for who I am extends back to how I got to the now,
and who I am extends forward to where?
our tomorrows will reveal or deny 
the hope that calls to us,

only if we are grounded by knowing where we are,
can we know how to venture true into where we ought to go.

by Henry H. Walker
December 29, ‘19

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