I have been giving more thought to my 2014 plan of spending a night each week alone at the cabin. Part of me is incredibly excited to deepen my inner journey and discover in solitude what is impossible to find outside of myself. So much of my life has been spent creating the person the world calls John, and yet I know that person is not the entire story.
One of the gifts of reconnecting with photography is that I am now able to appreciate more deeply the beauty that is right in front of me. The image today of the Skykomish River in Washington reflects my inner wonder and awe about the mystery to be uncovered when we really go in search of ourselves. It is a mystery, both what is to be found in seeking the contemplative path, but also why such a journey to something so important remains elusive to most. Perhaps it is because to ready ourselves for making the trip we must first experience all the pleasures, pains and lessons that only come from our cumulative time on earth.
Another part of me is scared to death of what the year will bring. It is so much easier to stay immersed in the daily administration of life and avoid going near the edge of the unknown. At the same time, I know inside there exists a luminous thread to guide me to exactly where I need to be.
The late William Stafford, who happened to live just minutes from our current house, wrote a poem titled The Way It Is just 26 days before he died in 1993. I have found no better description of the thread that is available to us all. Of course, that is if we go looking for it.
The Way It Is
There’s a thread you follow.
It goes among things that change.
But it doesn’t change.
People wonder about what you are pursuing.
You have to explain about the thread.
But it is hard for others to see.
While you hold it you can’t get lost.
Tragedies happen; people get hurt
or die; and you suffer and get old.
Nothing you do can stop time’s unfolding.
You don’t ever let go of the thread.