Home to Myself on the River and Elsewhere

The day begins differently than I had envisioned it to be. After a long wait in a doctor's lounge for routine blood work that somehow gets mixed up, I head out for my long overdue morning coffee!

As I wait in line to place my order, I strike up a friendly conversation with a WW II veteran, who tells me of going back to visit Omaha Beach for both the 50th and 60th anniversary of D-Day. Having just visited the landing beaches in Normandy last month, I can sincerely thank him for his service...

I head down to the river, and banter with a kayaker, and decide it is not too cold or windy, so I can make it in. I come home, and put on my boots for the first time since the early spring, and dress warmly...

The kayaker asks me what "Aligning with Grace" means. I have a decal of my website logo, on Grace, my kayak. He is intrigued by what it means and by the fact that I teach yoga.

I run into a dear friend and student walking her dog, and we share insights we've received, and catch up on details of each others lives. As we speak, a hawk flies over us, and perches on a tree for a while. Hawks are messengers which bring clarity, and power, and vision...

I go into the river and paddle for a while, then float, and note that I am slowly being drawn to the banks on the Maryland side, almost as if I am being invisibly pulled...I ride the waves in for a while, and then paddle the rest of the way...

I come home to myself on this river, and spend some time reflecting on my magical evening last night...

On the spur of the moment, I buy an online ticket to go hear Melissa Manchester, whose music has captivated my soul for decades. I go to hear her at the Barns at Wolftrap, which is the perfect intimate setting for her music and her sharing of the creative process of songwriting, and how that shows up for her. As a poet, who dabbled in some songwriting decades ago, I resonate with her story...

I laugh and I cry, and reminisce - such a kaleidoscope of memories colliding in my mind and coming alive once again!

The music is haunting...She begins with "Through the Eyes of Love," and continues with so many old favorites, new songs, and even showtunes - each one speaking to my soul - each one giving me a needed message on this day...

I wait in line at the end of the concert to meet her and have my new "album" signed. When it is my turn, I tell Melissa how every year, when I was in college in the early seventies, I went to her concerts. She smiles as she signs my CD. Then I add, that I remember her grandfather was in the audience every year. She always dedicated the concerts to him. And he, would give her a standing ovation...

She stops, and we look intently into each others eyes - she is visibly moved. There seems to be this knowing and eternal silence between us, and then she blurts out, "Gusman Hall!" Yes, that was the site of those very early concerts of hers, and I am sure she has not thought of them in a very long time...And for a moment this present moment that we share bridges our past - a place in time where we both were thirty-five years ago...A sweet connection is made...

As I float on the river which is starting to feel like winter, I think of all the connections I made in the last twenty-four hours - with a musical icon and life-long idol of mine - with a veteran of D-Day, with a student, with paddlers - and I am reminded how we are all part of one web of connections...

Here, on this river, as one of Melissa's Manchester's favorite songs reminds me, I come home to myself...

I think of the moving ending to the concert - the encore, a song titled "A Mother's Prayer," and I think of the child I gave birth to - I also think of a another child - not my own - that I have loved very deeply - and my thoughts turn as well to my cousin's child coming home from Afghanistan this week...

I ride home after a magical evening where I was so deeply moved, and listen to this song on the CD I just purchased, sending blessings to children, marveling at how we are all sojourners together. I come home and listen to it one more time in bed, as I offer prayers, a fitting ending for a blessed day...

"I know you're listening
in the silence of this night.
The news is blistering
but I hold on to your light,
and though there's darkness
all around us,
by my faith I know you are there.
Give me the strength to lead the way.
Send me the words I need to say.
Use me to guide them day by day -
This is a mother's prayer.

I know I can't do this by myself.
I thank you for your help.

I know you're listening
so I know I am not alone.
I feel you here with me
as we all face the unknown.
Could you return us
to your garden
where no one's hurt,
and no one's scared?
Free us from pride and bitterness.
Keep us so close we won't forget.
Teach us to love as you love -
this is a mother's prayer."

Indeed it is a mother's prayer, but it is also a prayer for all of us to say - mother, father, lover, friend, neighbor, lost soul, those in need, and those who feel alone. But the truth is - we are not alone - because there truly is no separation between us. That, is the great lesson that we must learn and that will set our hearts free...

Comments

Aralan said…
You write beautifully and tell wonderful, heartfelt stories
Olga Rasmussen said…
Thank you Aralan. I never know what and when I am going to write - but sometimes find blessings and inspirations in the simplest of things!

Popular posts from this blog

Sitting with Darkness

The Gift of a Blue Butterfly

Rumi - "The Lord is in Me" and "Love Said to Me"