Saturday, November 11, 2006

Working It All Out; Phase 9: Signs One / Sonnet Sign

Something will certainly lead you to the essence of things. All you have to do is follow. Let me tell you a little story.

Unlike Madonna, I was never a material person. I was agnostic, doubting, even unfaithful to the universe, but I always knew there was more to life than possessions and power, although I do like my toys. And I came close to the line just once, and I thank god I never crossed it. But I was waiting for someone or something to show itself, and I always felt it never had. And possibly never would.

I reveled in the outdoors, hiked in Acadia, and felt a kinship with nature, but never could make that infinite connection. Last year I was laid off from a job I had for eighteen years, and decided it could be my long overdue sabbatical. Again I hiked and felt a kinship with nature. But this time something more occurred.

I began to disbelieve in coincidence; I swear to you I saw signs. Not miracles mind you, although I now believe that everything is such, but everyday normal occurrences that most people would call coincidence.

Let me take a moment to discuss such coincidence, or spirit moments. Harvey Arden and Steve Wall, in their book ‘Wisdomkeepers’, discuss a certain Native American world view and its take on such signs, those moments when the universe sends you a message. Again, most call them coincidence.

But that coincidence is really a sign if you let it be a sign. Arden and Wall, through the Native Americans they interviewed, began to believe the universe is a great poem that talks to us in metaphor. You can’t sit there looking for it, but when it comes, you know it’s a sign, if you’re paying attention.

And I had the wealth of time to pay just such attention.


The Sign of a Sonnet

I see a great blue heron spread its almost
prehistoric wings and know I’ve seen
a sign. I see a red-tailed hawk fly circles
over Harvard Square and know I’ve seen
a sign. I see graffiti carved upon
an ash tree spelling out the byword ‘free’
and know I’ve seen a sign. I see a snowy
owl above the winter dunes and know
I’ve seen a sign. I see a common loon,
I see a harbor seal, I see a book
I’ve never read before and know I see
these signs I’ve always seen before as something
common now to be significant.
I see a fourteenth line and sign this sonnet.

~Son Rivers 2006

5 comments:

DonW said...

Yes, we do try to seek out signs from the universe or God or creatures or rocks. So many layers of seekers looking for signs that give significance to one's life.

Cathy said...

Yes, Greg, I've had a few moments over my lifetime like this. I believe it's Annie Dillard who wrote that with these experiences we are "rung like a bell."

Greg said...

Hi Don, I've begun to look at this in a different light as of late. But I'm not sure if I can actually verbalize it. But here goes. It's not tryig to give significance to one's life. It's taking back what is significant. It's a simple matter although it takes unlearning so many things. Then these signs are there for the asking. They don't have to be great though. But when they are, that's your time of greatest need. It would behoove you to pay attention. But most of the time they're like an innuendo. And all you can do is try to catch its breeze and let it take you where it may.

Greg said...

Cathy, I haven't read Annie Dillard in a while. I may need to pay her a revisit. Thanks.

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