Just A Way of Saying

taken at the cliff house in San Francisco. At this angle the opening in the rock makes a heart shape.

taken at the cliff house in San Francisco. At this angle the opening in the rock makes a heart shape.

If the river runs to the sea, 
it is easy to claim that is what
it wanted all along. Or is it
just gravity that pools every
thing at the center? 

The human capacity for “pattern detection” and assigning meaning makes it is easy to perceive human qualities, needs, desires, and ethics, in other life forms and even in “inanimate” things. This ability is the poet’s playground, a field of play ripe for metaphor. Determining purpose is one of the most challenging areas of life for us as individuals. But we can look to other life forms and quickly make up a kind of purpose: all rivers flow to the sea because that s where they belong; plants “drink” the sun because they are lovers of the light. To me, metaphor opens a channel to our wisdom, a way of finding and giving guidance about how to live.

If the redwood stretches
to the sky, holds its branches
out and drinks the sun, 
could you say it is a lover
of the light? Or is it
the earth breathing? 

To what sea would my
untethered soul go? When I
am at the edge of that unbearable 
lightness, I feel all of life breathing me 
with an almost desperate sense
of hope and I shiver at the
frightening possibility that I
will fall upwards if I let go. 

I ask, “Who moves these limbs?” 
Because I want to run with gravity 
toward the gathered center, 
which is just a way of saying, 
“Let's hold onto each other 
before we disappear.”

© Nick LeForce
All Rights Reserved

If rivers run to the sea, where would your untethered soul go? This question may be about what happens after you pass away. But, for me, it is raises the beauty of embracing mortality, which ups the ante in choosing what is precious in life and taking action on what it important. A persistent theme expressed in those nearing death is the regret of not spending more time with loved ones and not sharing your self with others. Who do you hold onto in your heart ? How might you express the place those dear ones have in your heart before disappearing?

Exercise: Pick someone that is in your life now and write a letter for that person as if it will not be read until after you pass away and you no longer need worry about being polite or cautious. Speak your truth about the person from the heart.