Stop and look at where you are.
Many shots are similarly composed,
but this is here and now.
Do not let the thought of
writing a poem about it
take you out of the moment.
Do not strive to say something fantastic --
just let the sun rise.
When I started practicing yoga, I stopped writing poetry. I was sixteen, and I’d developed a codependent relationship between my poetry and my personal drama. That is, writing was how I processed complicated emotional stuff, but I was also starting to take it seriously as an art form. I really wanted to write well and prolifically, but I only knew how to write about intense emotional experiences. Like most young writers, I cut my teeth on heartbreak and rejection, and when I started practicing yoga and meditation, my mind started to quiet down. I felt much more stable, peaceful, and able to float on the moment rather than getting emotionally spun up all the time. This difference was so drastic that there were times when I stopped doing yoga specifically because I felt it was making my life too boring. I still struggle with that balance, but I’ve now reached a place where meditation is a required part of my day. Life is plenty exciting, and I don’t need any anxious tailspinning just for kicks. Now, the challenge of my days and of my writing is staying in the moment, feeling what’s happening, being fully present for it and knowing when to write it down and when to just sit still for the experience — just let the sun rise.
This poem and photo came together during a short family vacation to Deep Creek Lake with my husband’s parents and siblings. There was much to wax poetic about — the outdoors, the joy of family, the peace of waking up alone and being with the water. I could write for centuries about the way I feel about lakes and rivers, how the earth holds us, how the water soothes, and how it feels to be suspended between air and water, on a pier in the sun, a part of nature … This is one of those times when there is too much to capture on paper, and my poem can’t possibly do it justice. The best thing I have to offer at times like this is presence — neither projecting this experience into some kind of future meaning, nor comparing it to any past nostalgia or regret. This was one of the truly beautiful moments of 2019 for me, and I do hope we get to do it again in 2020. But even if we don’t, I’m thankful for this.