Journeying Here to Here

I named my place on the mountain “Here” after the poem by David Wagoner called Lost.

Stand still. The trees ahead and bushes beside you
Are not lost. Wherever you are is called Here,
And you must treat it as a powerful stranger,
Must ask permission to know it and be known.
The forest breathes. Listen. It answers,
I have made this place around you,
If you leave it you may come back again, saying Here.
No two trees are the same to Raven.
No two branches are the same to Wren.
If what a tree or a bush does is lost on you,
You are surely lost. Stand still. The forest knows
Where you are. You must let it find you.

I am not living “Here” anymore. Now I am living in town, not quite full time yet, but mostly. I believe I will call this new place “Here” as well. These last years I have lived the advice of this poem, standing among the bushes and trees on the mountain. Now I will live it among the buildings and streets of Asheville. Stand still. The building ahead and the street beside you are not lost. I must greet them as powerful strangers. They breathe, I will listen. Surely they will say “I have made this place around you, if you leave you may come back again saying Here.” I want to let them find me.

There is a terrain to be traveled in order to make a radical move toward the future. You don’t just go from Here to Here without making the journey across it, you cannot. You don’t have to know where the journey leads, but you do have to remember from where you have come or you will surely get lost. Unfinished emotional and psychological business will haunt the mind like a thousand demons, paralyzing movement and obfuscating the way forward until it is faced and cleared. It is a warrior’s quest. I know why it is hard to change.

One of the most humbling and exquisitely moving things I have learned in the crossing is the impossibility of doing it alone. I have learned that one plus one equals a million. Just one other mind or body to help think or do makes the impossible possible. Touches of heart that come from near and far, friends and strangers, are the manna that keeps a pilgrim from starving.

As Meister Eckhart says, if the only prayer you ever say is “Thank you,” that would suffice. It is the most constant prayer on my lips, day and night.

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2 Responses to “Journeying Here to Here”

  1. daritarose Says:

    I LOVE this, especially the quotation at the end. I say, “I love you, God,” often, and by that I do include, “Thank you.” I will save this. It’s so powerful and wise, to name you space “here.” Because God is only here, not there. God is only now, not then. I feel some sadness at the thought of your leaving your mountain. That’s OK. We get to feel sad at endings. But I also love thinking about you in your new space, too. I hope that Asheville is magical.

  2. daritarose Says:

    I am absolutely certain that you cannot be led astray if you are constantly saying, “Thank you.” Universe will protect and lead you to the holy center.

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