tern moonLooking up in the sky in Tulum, Mexico one day, I noticed this juxtaposition of a tern (any ornithologists out there: corrections please!) and the half moon. The half circle shape of the moon mirrors the half circle shape formed by the soaring wings. The leading edges of the wings mirror the half moon line. I watched as this graceful bird circled and drifted seemingly effortlessly in the currents. It started me to think about how difficult it is to soar in our normal lives. We have no wings to catch the currents. We have to make our our own uplift.

After thinking this over, and re-reading more poems by Rilke, I realized this constraint is entirely an artificial construct. We wait for things to arrive and then act. Instead of acting and then waiting in serenity–loving arrival for its own beauty. This applies not only to our individual relationship with ourselves: it applies to our waiting for the currents to enable acting on our relationships with others. And we wait….for someone or something that never arrives because we refuse to create the soaring currents of acceptance.

Rainer Maria Rilke:
You Who Never Arrived

You who never arrived
in my arms, Beloved, who were lost
from the start,
I don’t even know what songs
would please you. I have given up trying
to recognize you in the surging wave of
the next moment. All the immense
images in me — the far-off, deeply-felt
landscape, cities, towers, and bridges, and
unsuspected turns in the path,
and those powerful lands that were once
pulsing with the life of the gods–
all rise within me to mean
you, who forever elude me.

You, Beloved, who are all
the gardens I have ever gazed at,
longing. An open window
in a country house– , and you almost
stepped out, pensive, to meet me.
Streets that I chanced upon,–
you had just walked down them and vanished.
And sometimes, in a shop, the mirrors
were still dizzy with your presence and,
startled, gave back my too-sudden image.
Who knows? Perhaps the same
bird echoed through both of us
yesterday, separate, in the evening…


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