I am sitting here on the ground
surrounded by remnants of frayed rope.
Hemp rope, rough and scratchy.
My hands are red and burned,
and my body is bruised.
But the pain in my body is
small
right now,
when compared to the
existential pain
of so many years
of trying.

If I wasn’t an optimist,
I might envision this
the ultimate
cosmic
joke.
Each time
a new rope descended from above,
I reached up,
grasping with the full force of my human strength,
willing to climb
all the way
to the sky.
And each time,
just as I found my way
through the clouds,
and began to
acclimatize to the
thinning air,
SNAP!
The rope would give way,
and there I was,
falling falling falling
through the air.

If I was paranoid,
I might imagine the
Great Council of Beings
up there, laughing at me.
Yep, she fell for it again!
Ha ha ha!
Not only once, or twice, or even ten times,
she fell for it every day for more than
thirty years!

But I am not paranoid.
Not really.

And the Great Council of Beings
up in the sky
is not laughing.

Back in July,
I found myself deep in the woods,
praying that I might learn how to pray.
Not the eloquent,
self-conscious kind of prayer
that called me up another rope,
but the kind of prayer
that the trees offer the Sun
day after day,
grateful and utterly open.
The kind of prayer
that makes me forget my name,
that makes me forget where I am,
and where I have been,
and where I’m going.
I didn’t even know what I was asking for,
not really.
But they did.

The clouds burst open,
and it rained like no other day
had ever rained.
Cold filled me to the bones,
and the shivering consumed me.
Lost.
I may die here.
I am a refugee.

They came to me with ropes,
and in the quickened
moments of
all-consuming desperation,
I reached up to each and every one.
One by one,
they gave way,
falling at my feet.
There is no way out.

I fell onto the muddy Earth.

I have been sitting here for a long time now.
For a while, I believed that I was being shown
the only way out.
Now, the mud has dried on my bare skin,
and I have learned to listen
more deeply than before.
I see that there is no way out,
no more than there ever was a way in,
and
it’s time to
burn these ropes.

 

*** first written and released on March 27, 2010

Ropes

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