Choosing a Life
I am surrounded by beauty I have never seen –
the dry woods behind my house, filled with trees.
Birds, squirrels, rabbits, nestled elsewhere, yet unseen,
because I have not opened my eyes, nor tuned
my ears to their music, the unique sounds and calls.
I dare not attempt to raze the walls I methodically
built, finely crafted, then mortared together in a pattern
of my design with the sturdy, rocky neglect of
As each morning dawns, each evening fades, each
empty day leaves me the poorer because I
choose safety over discovery. Building walls is much
easier than searching ways to build a life that matters;
even though I could change my world, it is there, where
I am sure to find leaping tigers beyond the changeable,
unpredictable brook that runs too close to
Age whispers in my ear, “Stop building walls; tear them down.”
“Pave instead a new path, away from comfort, with
the salvaged rocks and bricks of your fears. You will see.
with each step they are trampled into the earth. With each
wasted day, it will be one day later.” I cannot shut out
time’s unrelenting force. I cannot shake the phantom of
I am filled with trepidation of the unknown, although today,
in my mind’s eye, I see myself as leaping the brook, jockeying
to an intrepid win, riding the beast in victory, through the deep
dark woods, to shine my tenuous but growing light into
the hollow trees, the dry leaves crackling beneath the tiger’s
Suddenly the world is alive – with danger,
but in the face of such wild and fragile beauty, fear melts,
dissolving, evaporating in the wake of my new-born desires.
More attuned to our noise than I, the wood-dwellers
are far ahead of us – the squirrels, and rabbits; birds,
twig by twig, transfer their nests to higher limbs and more
hidden crooks and forks in the limbs of leafy trees.
But I will not care. Surely there are places they
cannot run, walls they built themselves out of fear
Has all creation chosen to build their own safety walls?
Although false, they offer the illusion of warmth, and
a simulated love that can manage to trap the unimaginative
And here I sit, mildly warm, kind of cozy, with a fairly
comfortable love. A quiet life that knows mere
aggravation, never having learned the joy of
challenging life, or the satisfaction of death from a
well-lived life of courage. Never having demonstrated,
even if only for myself and my children, that seeking to
build and live a sacrificial life. proves perfect love
Such a life would most certainly be enough. . .