It felt like driving towards a stage set dappled
with light filtered through colored gels.
The sun was setting and a blanket of subtly nuanced aubergine,
softening from shy purple to bold black,
covered the sky and land in false warmth.
“As I walk, as I walk the universe is walking with me.”
Like a tiny beacon from somewhere far away
a speck called Venus
and fleck called Mercury danced together with Earth.
It was a choreographed and timeless communion with the Universe.
Ever so slowly Venus and Mercury slipped lower
into the horizon.
“The universe is walking with me.”
This day faded and a new one began.
The sliver of the waning crescent moon
rose briefly before the sun was truly awake.
The locust tree, bare and with only a few rattling pods
stood silhouetted against the sherbet colors
of the waking day.
The journey of the earth,
was measured by the crescent moon
as it nestled in the crook of the locust branch.
As if resting in a nest.
And then, in the space of few breaths,
the thin sliver floated up into the sky.
Earth and moon moved on.
“In beauty it walks before me.”
Clouds appeared like pulled cotton
to soak up the colors of the dawning day.
Raspberry and orange strands melted away
as a deep periwinkle backdrop took over.
Three birds, small little moving black dots,
flew in front of the moon
as if to say “Follow us! This way!”
One fell behind for a moment then turned
and banked to return
to her small assemblage of cohorts.
“In beauty it walks behind me.”
The soft hills that cradled Springwater
slept under a puffy quilt
of snow-white and eider-down gray.
As the periwinkle sky changed yet again,
farms, fields, trees, houses, roads and cars came into focus.
Trees stood at attention, dark against the ancient light.
The moon was gone.
“In beauty it walks below me.”
All that remained to measure the movement of the earth
was the path of the sun.
Unfaltering, she seemed to rise from the depths
of someplace else,
in silent meditation she traveled along a private path
across the sky.
“In beauty it walks above me.”
Once again, the sun reached the horizon and began to sink
back to that place we can never go.
Like a performer in Cirque de Soleil,
she left, swirling whimsical
bubble gum pink and baby blue
ribbons throughout the sky.
“Goodbye!” she waved. “See you again soon!!”
Her dance took away the breath of a young man
who was uncontrollably stopped in his tracks
and forced, by sheer wonder,
to give witness this beauty.
His face could not hide
the overwhelming emotion
of awe and reverence.
All he could do was to behold,
in this one fleeting moment,
in this infinitesimal fragment of the universe.
“Beauty is on every side. As I walk, I walk in Beauty.”
Observations from the Jan. 16-19, 2015 retreat at Springwater Center for Meditative Inquiry, Springwater NY. Sentences in quotes are from a section of one of the many interpretations/translations of the 9 Day Navajo Night Chant. The young man is named Jonathan.