Before I leave,
I want to say I was here,
witnessing seventy years
of the grief and glory
of humanity struggling to be free:
the civil rights movement, the anti-nuclear
movement, the make love not war movement,
the women's rights movement,
the Black Lives Matter movement,
the gun legislation movement,
and the most precarious of all,
the climate crisis, in the middle
of a global pandemic.
I was here for all the assassinations,
our hopes withering along with
all our fallen leaders.
The dark side won: corporations
too powerful to reign in,
money and power more important
than populace or country.
I was here through personal crises
that brought me to my knees; yet
somehow I found the strength to rise,
and rise again.
A hopeful heart and a cackling laugh
brought me to these peaceful days
of watching with wise eyes
a space apart from the tumult
and the struggle; the choice
of peaceful days.
In the middle of it all, a life:
soft summer mornings, birdcalls
and cloud art against blue sky,
life seen through the many windows
of my many homes as
day after day of peace
slowly meandered by.
Before I leave, I want you to know
how much I loved opening my eyes
on another day of beauty: green outside
my window, dogs padding to the door,
looking up with eyes of love;
ordinary days becoming years,
then decades. I want to say
how grateful I am for the journey through
this beautiful landscape: first the desert
with its sage and Ponderosa pine,
its blue lake and apple orchards
full of memories of when my life began;
then, ancient forest, breathing peace;
moss, salal and old man's beard,
and Mother Ocean: waves
rolling eternally in to shore,
sunsets during my own slow fading sunset,
and me still here, so present to the beauty,
so glad to be alive for one more
on Planet Earth.
Inspired by "I Want to Say" by Natalie Goldberg, a poem of being present. The italicized words are hers.