The poem starts here. Each time I press pen to page and attempt to create some semblance of understanding within the chaos. As I attempt to learn what I am thinking. Feeling. Fearing.
The poem starts here, with a gentle untangling. A tug here, another there. The knots in my head, in my heart, in my gut slowly beginning to unravel with each word that finds its way onto the page.
The poem starts here. Walking into the grocery store that Sunday night over a month ago. It was right after teaching what I didn’t realize was my last in-person yoga class for who knows how log? It starts with the empty bread shelves Bread, the staff of life. Gone.
The poem starts there. With me gripping the handle of the chart with one hand, the other at my heart. A new knowledge beginning to settle in. This is big. This is bigger than I imagined.
The poem starts there, with that dawning rippling through my body like waves crashing to shore.
The poem continues that night as I wash my face. A normal, ordinary activity when life feels anything but normal and ordinary. It starts with these words skittering across my consciousness, lightly like a stone skimming perfectly across the surface of a lake:
And everything changes.
First, it felt like there was an implied “now.” And (now) everything changes. Everything you thought you knew. Everything you have been doing. How you have been living your life, how you’ve been planning for the future. How you buy your groceries. It all changes now.
And it has. We are sheltering in place. Many of us are not working. For many, work has become hazardous to their physical, mental and emotional health.
And (now) everything changes. We pause. The entire world pauses. Skies brighten as the veil of pollution dissipates. Water runs clear, teeming with new life. There is beauty in the pause. And fear.
And everything changes. A simple statement of fact. Or perhaps a gentle reminder. Everything does, in fact, change.
The poem doesn’t end there. It doesn’t begin there. And who knows if it is even in the middle?
And everything changes. These words offer comfort, yet are also frightening. Everything? Does everything have to change?
The poem starts with the answer to that question: Yes.
The answer feels like tough love.
Like tender love.
It’s always been true. But in the busyness of our former lives that rarely left room for a moment to pause or reflect, that one essential truth was forgotten.
So, the poem starts with a remembering.
Remembering the everything changes.
Th tree outside this window. Still bare but with buds starting to break free, soon to be spilling into huge white blossoms before filing with the green of summer then the fire of autumn before, once again, retiring to the stillness of winter.
Because, you see, everything changes.