river-2By Lynn Wyvill
This morning while walking up the old lane, I felt warmth in the sun that touched my face. I felt it right through my light jacket to my shoulders. It was as soul-enriching as the hug I received from my two-year old grandson last week in Hong Kong. This kind of feeling goes deep inside me, where words are empty and where I want to open my chest of memories and lock it away, So I write them down. Even when I cannot describe the joy, the sheer happiness of that daffodil shoving its deep yellow richness through the dead fall grass, the pencil finds a way. Not always, but often the path to my self expression lies at the end of my Bic pencil.

Now life isn't always about walks on Hong Kong beaches or standing alone listening to birds in their morning salutations. Often the beaches of Hong Kong are crowded with sound and bodies. My grandson has a meltdown and my own body remembers the weariness of carrying an unwilling and protesting two-year old. Life gets in the way. It gets in the way of writing. It gets in the way of scheduled plans. That Bic pencil of mine stalls on the tracks to good intentions.

As a child myself I used to love to sit by our farm creek. It meandered through twisted cedars, often shallow and burbling. I found peace in those shadowed places. It was something I searched out, not understanding then how necessary this quiet was for my own soul. It has taken me a lifetime of repeatedly losing and retrieving that awareness of the need for quiet to understand how precious this is. Here I find the Divine. This is where I am at home. A few minutes alone in quiet reaches into the tight gut, the overwhelmed spirit and goes, 'Ah'. A moment on the dock by the river simply watching...well, watching. All around me is activity. Birds, wind, bugs, water, all reach inside me and push a button that releases tension. God is there, in that busy silence. I hear Him dancing through the trees, snapping a branch under the foot of a deer, scurrying through the Joe Pye Weed and croaking in the elastic throat of the frog near the water's edge. Me? I sit there and breathe. Simply breathe. I can sit at the bench on the hill. The swing in my quiet space under the pines. Or on those wintry days Grey County treasures, sit by the warmth of a fire in the stove. It is an extremely adaptable practice. Anywhere I am, there is God.

As muscles rest, curtains are pulled back and the pencil flows. It isn't magical. It is simply finding the door open instead of shoving my shoulder against a door my own foot is holding shut. There is a beautiful stained glass window in our church based on the painting The Light of the World. Jesus stands at the door knocking. The door in the painting has no handle, and can therefore be opened only from the inside. The painter, William Hutt, spoke of Jesus not being able to help him because of his "obstinately shut mind". Undoubtedly Hutt broke through that obstinacy by letting his version of a Divine presence in. Simply opening the door.
Lynn Wyvill is a poet living near Markdale.


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