This is an illustration of the Walkabout practice of letting
“the ‘here’ of ‘I am here’ open into the fullness of space.”
If you can, try listening to this song while reading this post as an aid to deepen the experience…
I have friends. Some of them as old or older than I, and as my friend and poet, Ken McKeon said, talking about the struggle to achieve as the body’s time runs out, “…warmth is needed as mortality’s chill shadow makes its presence more and more known each passing day.” Though seldom mentioned, this resonates in this beating heart. It is perhaps one side of why melancholy is married to joy, sound echoes in silence, or something appears from nothing and returns to it.
In the flow of living there are, like the tides, currents that become urgent and then recede, the drive to achieve can be like that, perhaps ego eventually gives way to doing for the sake of love of doing. And appreciation for being busy opens to a love of the space for being calm. Gradually it dawns that from within the calm is where everything ascends, where the essence of life, its vitality and spark arise. I can feel that when I read this….
By Ken McKeon
For Jack and Ben
The river awaits.
This river, all set for:
Geese needing water, food,
A refuge on their journey south.
Maybe canoes with a couple of
Canoeists on board
With six-packs of beer,
A few towels, sunglasses,
Tubes of sunscreen.
But here now another river, not a thing,
More a wet still flowing,
As we all are, as today is
In the wringing out of a pair of frayed jeans
Smoothed for drying on a more than warm boulder,
Fabric face up glaring at the sun
With the sun glaring right back at it,
The rivets too hot to touch.
The leather plaque bearing the brand name,
Stretched stitching, shrunken raveled skin.
And the person who wore them
Gazes at the bone dry stream-bed
And closes his eyes and sees
There dream clear a flow of water,
And strips off shorts and shirt
And steps carefully over the fringing stones
As he makes his way-ankle deep now-
Into the current, so pleased to have feet
Settle into the yielding sand,
And yet more to rock knees down
Into the current, and then groin waist belly,
Shoving off into deeper water,
The dusky light above, and now
Here the cooler depths pouring
Into mouth nostrils ears the sheer
Wet presence of being
All in it so easily, and comes
A notion to roll the eyes, opening
As and to the unsought blue sky,
And the current holds and takes
Him to where the still river flows.
And still too the whole of the dry river bed,
The hot sand, hotter stones, the sun
Itself unbearable, all this a never change,
All this, but not an all done, not a for now and forever.
For this river too, even within the
Blistering heat, the unsought
Redemptive ways of the never sought,
The I can never do, does,
And the open hold is sure, and
The wavering light play found
In the rippling sand, the occasional
Browsing fish, and, in silence, the bluest sky.