Yesterday I went for a walk by the lake, and I had a mystical experience—that’s what I am calling it anyway. Today, it is a little harder to see it that way. I walked over to my favorite spot by the lake where there is a stone bridge at just the right height for me to hold onto as I look out at the water. If I look down, I get discouraged by the trash that is trapped by a large grate just in front of the bridge. Every time I go, I tell myself that I need to take a bag to pick up trash—at least the trash that I can reach without falling into the lake. At any rate, if I hope to find any sort of peace, I have to look out instead of down. I found my stone pillar and I gripped it like the lectern I use when I am teaching. Instead of speaking, however, I let myself be spoken to, or at least I tried to quiet my mind as much as possible. When I came home, I felt utterly changed, and I wrote this poem:
Shot Through with the Fire of God
Light and wind coming over the lake—
flashing fire inside me, inside my eyelids,
all through my high voltage veins.
I opened my eyes and saw at the place
where my hands were holding onto a rock,
more redness, but this was as small
as the other was all-encompassing,
tiny red insects on the rock,
all around my electric arms,
dozens and dozens of them, as if
scrambling to write out
a message, "God is here, too."
I caressed that old, buggy rock
because I loved it—
for that moment,
I loved it all.
I went to that same stone pillar today and nothing spectacular happened. The sun, wind, and water were all there. The little red bugs were there, although not so many as before. I closed my eyes and felt nothing