Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Why I Began to Walk Again



author’s note:

The path is under your feet at
All times.
     --  Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, Cloud Hands Edition

Best wishes for 2014!


WHY I BEGAN TO WALK AGAIN

Before I knew
about the hands
I did not need
this much trust:

not this much--not until
I began to think
one day

because one thought
led to another
and another

until...

I started to wonder
if perhaps I could be
walking on cloud.

I knew that was not
supposed to be possible
but whatever lay
beneath my feet
suddenly
did not feel so solid
and if you’ve never seen
what’s under your toes
how would you know?

So...
I took a deep courageous breath
then looked down

and found all sorts of hands
providing a platform for my feet--

their palms uplifted, the fingers interlinked--
a solid cushion, a multi-hued mosaic:

a calm sea of hands as far as the eye could see--!

Since the hands were everywhere
I could walk anywhere
and still feel secure.
Right?

But what if I took a step--
   unknowingly
   the wrong step--
and the hand
under my heel
gave way--?--

then where would I be?

Though these hands
had supported me in the past
how could I know
what they might do
in the future?

Now I wished
I’d never looked down,
never seen a single hand.
Now, each step felt treacherous--
I became afraid
to move
even one toe.

I stopped...dead still.

But then
the next logical thought
fell like a domino:
what if the hands now holding my feet
began to sink--?--

what if all the hands
began to sink
and kept on sinking--?--

then where would I be?

I didn't know, I only knew
such sinkage would surely
happen to me.

So, I closed my eyes
and waited for the worst.

But though I waited
and I waited,
I went no lower...

nor, for that matter
did I rise
any higher

not a bit higher.

Well...
I couldn’t just stand there all day, could I?

Despite my fear,
I wanted to go on--
to take a step in any direction:
any direction
would be better
than being stuck
where I was.

Wherever I stepped,
wherever I went,
would just have to be
the place I needed to be.

So...I began to walk again

and the longer I have walked
the more I've felt the warmth
radiating up from each palm--

the more I've felt the intelligence
of the steady fingers and thumbs
beneath my soles.

Even so, my foolish head
is still learning to trust
the message of assurance
coming from my wise feet.


© 2014, Michael R. Patton
if you read only 500 books this year, this should be one of them

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