Nothing Mysterious

Out on the flats, a heron still
as a hieroglyph carved
on the soft gray face of morning.

You asked, when I seemed far away,
what it meant but were gone
when I turned to you with an answer.

Nothing mysterious—hunger,
a taste for salt tides,
distance, and a gift of flight.
~Leonard Nathan, “Out on the Flats” from The Potato Eaters

All winter
the blue heron
slept among the horses.
I do not know
the custom of herons,
do not know
if the solitary habit
is their way,
or if he listened for
some missing one—
not knowing even
that was what he did—
in the blowing
sounds in the dark,
I know that
hope is the hardest
love we carry.
He slept
with his long neck
folded, like a letter
put away.
~Jane Hirshfield “Hope and Love” from The Lives of the Heart

I know what it is like to feel out of step with those around me, an alien in my own land. At times I wonder if I belong at all as I watch the choices others make. I grew up this way, missing a connection that I could not find, never quite fitting in, a solitary kid becoming a solitary adult. The aloneness bothered me, but not in a “I’ve-got-to-become-like-them” kind of way.

I felt like nothing mysterious, this having simple need for compatible companionship.
I just followed my own path, never losing hope of who I might find.

Somehow misfits find each other. Through the grace and acceptance of others, I found a soul mate and community. Even so, there are times when the old feeling of not-quite-belonging creeps in and I wonder whether I’ll be a misfit all the way to the cemetery, placed in the wrong plot in the wrong graveyard.

We disparate creatures are made for connection of some kind, with those who look and think and act like us, or with those who are something completely different. I’ll keep on the lookout for my fellow misfits, just in case there is another one out there looking for company along this journey and doesn’t mind me tagging along.

Walk down that lonesome road
All by yourself
Don’t turn your head
Back over your shoulder
And only stop
To rest yourself
When the silver moon
Is shining high above the trees

If I had stopped to listen
Once or twice
If I had closed my mouth
And opened my eyes
If I had cooled my head
And warmed my heart
I’d not be on this road tonight
Carry on

Never mind feeling sorry for yourself
It doesn’t save you from your troubled mind
Walk down that lonesome road
All by yourself
Don’t turn your head
Back over your shoulder
And only stop
To rest yourself
When the silver moon
Is shining high above the trees
~James Taylor and Don Grolnick

Look down, look down
That lonesome road
Before you travel on

Look up, look up
And seek your maker
Before Gabriel blows his horn

I’m weary of toting, such a heavy load
Trudging down, that lonesome road

Look down, look down
That lonesome road
Before you travel on

I’m weary of toting, such a heavy load
Trudging down, that lonesome road

Look down, look down
That lonesome road
Before you travel on
Before you travel on
~Madeleine Peyroux

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2 thoughts on “Nothing Mysterious

  1. Excellent meditation with which I resonate.

    There are many misfits who work hard at fitting in and live an unfulfilled life. I have been a misfit from the time I was born. As I get another year closer to my eighth decade of life, I wonder if my calling was to be a Fransiscan friar. I chose a different path and am richer for it. Maybe it doesn’t matter which road we take as long as we keep our eyes on our Lord.

    An aunt, a brilliant scholar, chose to follow Christ by becoming a cloistered Carmelite nun. She always welcomed our visits when we brought Hawaiian biscuits for her and her fellow sisters. We passed them to her through heavy steel gates. Her countenance was always serene and she knew she chose the right path even though she appeared to be a prisoner held in a convent. She passed on many years ago yet I cannot erase the memory of her serenity and still picture her smile.

    Thank you, Emily, for sharing bits of your life with us. The photos, poems and music are always uplifting and often thought provoking.

    “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.” —Proverbs 31:8-9 ========== This communication may be unlawfully collected and stored in secret by national security agencies around the world including the National Security Agency (NSA). The parties to this email do not consent to this nor to the retrieving or storing of this communication and any related metadata, as well as printing, copying, re-transmitting, disseminating, or otherwise using it. If you believe you have received this communication in error, please delete it immediately.

    Liked by 1 person

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