Monday, July 12, 2010

Many Miles

The feet of the heron,

under those bamboo stems,

hold the blue body,

the great beak

above the shallows

of the pond.

Who could guess

their patience?

Sometimes the toes

shake, like worms.

What fish could resist?

Or think of the cricket,

his green hooks,

climbing the blade of grass-

or think of camel feet

like ear muffs,

striding over the sand-

or think of your own

slapping along the highway,

a long life,

many miles.

To each of us comes

the body gift.

I am thinking of those who do not move on feet. Fish, snakes, trees, and infants who never toddle and fall, except into death. What of human quadriplegics from birth? I wonder how their body is a gift to them - a body that brings them pain and frustration? I have a first cousin whose two younger children have cerebral palsy. These two are now young women, and their life has been one of surgeries, crawling along floors instead of walking, wheel chairs and walking assistants, and near death issues that accompany their bodies everywhere they go. From afar their lives do seem a gift - such sweetness and uniqueness and the beauty of humanity I see in them. From afar I also see the long days and long years they and their parents, brothers, grandparents, and friends have suffered. From afar I have not walked in their shoes, or in any other being's. I do not know what gifts are theirs to give and to receive - yet it is through my body that I know them and through theirs that they know me. Perhaps that is enough of a present, this presence?

What gifts come to you from your body and other bodies?

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