This gentle melancholy,
have you felt it?
Has it come to you like an uninvited and invisible guest
joining you and your friends,
enjoying with you the time and company?
Did you wonder if you were the only one feeling it?
Did you too ask yourself the questions:
Why has this feeling come, and from where?
Do not be so stuck on answering these questions, or any others.
Let the questions remain with you, unanswered,
as you linger late with your friends, yet remain unattached,
as the feelings dwell within you, as yet unexplained.
Resolve not to need to resolve
or explain away what you feel.
Let yourself feel it,
Let it grip your soul
the same way you would grip the hand
of a long-lost lover on her death-bed
for a moment and then let go.
Have you watched as this gentle feeling turned vicious?
Did you too try to run from it,
to lose it?
Or did you listen to it,
walk with it,
slowly feel it become gentle once more,
become subtle and sweet?
Listen now to this gentle but quietly persistent melancholy,
don’t you hear it?
I walk through the town where I am a stranger
and do not feel strange.
I wander through the country where I am a foreigner
and do not feel foreign.
I feel closest to those farthest away
and most connected in the most remote places.
This is why I sit in a cabin
surrounded by pines miles above town.
Not to distance myself;
I have no desire to be aloof or detached.
Rather, to close the gap,
to reach my hand out,
to attach and let go,
to catch the blessings the leaves bring
as they fall so winter can rise,
as I fall out of line so something within me can rise.
As night falls, I go outside.
I breathe in, I breathe out,
and in the silently approaching night,
I settle into myself and watch the moon rise.
I rise well before dawn.
The stillness and darkness bring me good news,
Old news I had forgotten.
I am alone,
But I do not suffer.
I receive the gift of aloneness,
A gift no one else can give.
I accept it like I would accept
A loving embrace from a friend
Who was away and has now returned.
Where did my friend go? What did she do?
I am curious but do not ask her.
Sometimes she has to go off alone.
She returns when she knows she is needed,
When she sees I am alone and suffering.
This friend offers the gift of not needing,
Offers it without needing it to be received.
Demanding nothing, she offers all:
The mysterious gift of being,
The gift of not speaking,
And the gift of being heard.
She does not ask me to believe or disbelieve,
Does not force me to follow her,
Does not force me to lead,
Asks nothing of me but that I ask for nothing,
That I need seek no thing to make me some one,
Reminds me to look up,
For isn’t the world remarkably beautiful this morning?
Reminds me to look in,
For don’t you feel you’ve come home this morning?
And wasn’t that what you were searching for so desperately?
All the time,
Alone and suffering,
Weren’t you only craving to feel at home in the world?
I am grateful to have such an understanding friend,
Who lets me be alone and be glad,
Who reminds me of what I had forgotten,
And welcomes me home.