“O mountain friends!         

With mine your solemn spirit blends,         

And life no more hath separate ends.”           

— John Greenleaf Whittier, “Lake Winnipesaukee” 

Since I often feel like I’m seeking separate objectives from everyone else, as if my goals, or ends, were given to me alone and I must make my way toward them on my own, it was wonderful to come upon these words of Whittier yesterday. On the shores of Lake Winnipesaukee, the poet came to understand the truth that, in fact, there are no “separate ends” anywhere – that all of us who share this universe also share the same goals. We are all seeking, every second, a stronger sense of being simply what or who we are.

On our walk this morning, we saw this lone rower out on the Mystic River,

seemingly alone on the empty and silent river, but Whittier would say to him, “With mine your solemn spirit blends.” All of us – all people, animals, winds, and stars – are steering, in our special ways, toward being the best possible people, animals, winds, and stars. All of us are looking for light in a sometimes dark world, for comfort where comfort often seems distant. I can pretend that my goals are solely mine, but that’s a pretense that surely diminishes me. The truth is, as Whittier discovered beside the lake, that not one of us strives separately from others – that all of us who share this impressively mystifying universe strive step by step in a sometimes unseen but everlasting togetherness.  This Mystic River rower was one with us and we were one with him, as together as the countless drops of water in the freely rolling river.

+ + + + +


(about Sharon Z., 82, Blessings, CT)

Her dad always said

she should get her act together,

and suddenly,

at 68,

while shopping at McQuades,

she saw that

it had always been together,

and that it wasn’t just her act,

but that each moment

she performs with countless friends,

like the flowing sky,

and her talented lungs,

and the skillful movements

of sunshine and starlight.

She saw that even her thoughts

are daring dancers

that swirl and sway

with the limitless thoughts

that prance through the universe

as part of an act

that has neither starts nor endings,

and she and all things

are the clever performers,

even when wondering

which cucumbers

to choose.

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