Monday, November 11, 2013


A sky so empty it’s full.
And my now-grown child’s long-ago question from the back seat of a mini-van: how can you feel something you can’t touch?

Today, having left Bloomington for the northern shores of Lake Michigan, I creep to the edges of things. Seeking rest, my mind wanders busily off and comes back.  I look up, look down the curved stretch of beach and in a dizzying moment of exposure to the elements, think it’s a teeter- totter world. 

Another word for teeter-totter is see-saw -- an Anglican version of the French,  ci-ca, literally translated, as This-That.

On a playground of my youth, we spent recess on long red boards across from one another. We learned to move up and down on a fulcrum, pushed with our legs, felt in our bellies the effects of weight and effort.  Physics before there were formulas.

Push too hard for a thrill, and you get bucked into the air.  Step off before your partner is ready, you send them hard to the ground.  We learned the power of plummeting, of holding on, of scootching by inches to find the perfect balancing point; the this and that of collaboration, cooperation, trust.

These lessons continue well into adulthood.  I know I’m not alone in a quest for the right balance of things, and though I cannot exactly achieve that balance often, I can feel it every once in a great while.

I cannot touch the emptiness of this sky, yet as I listen to wind across the water, as I take in a great emptiness above me cupped in the flaming colors of autumn, the blue lake stretching to the horizon and a smaller version of me contained therein, I feel the comfort of containment.  With very little effort, I feel a momentary weightlessness.  Here, so small in the large world with forces of nature in their own moment of unforced perfection, I FEEL what I cannot touch. The bigger thing.   Held in the Mystery.  A direct line of connection to the empty sky above. 

There’s an equilibrium to this.  A balance of empty and full.  Getting away from my daily routine helps.   I see it.  Next week I’ll need to remember that I saw it today.  

See-Saw.  Teeter-Totter.  Most days, and the whole rest of my life is an up and down ride. My longer-term stability depends on the moments I listen to the wind, feel without touching the real gift of emptiness and look for signs that remind me ultimately that there are instances, however rare, of perfect balance, if only we look and listen and feel our way into them.   

BLR  for the Poplar Grove Muse 

1 comment:

  1. lovely, as always, Beth. Makes me homesick and happy at the same time. See Saw!