NAVIGATE

For my sister

Once content with
familiar brooks
I feared intriguing
turns and stopped
the flowing
in my heart
that leads to
greater knowing

Then I dreamed
an undertow that
pulled and changed
my course
Forced to brave
a stranger stream
I worried where
it was heading

Now I know sweet
sparkling creeks
trickle in and out of
small ponds
But some fall into
currents swift
Into beautiful rivers and
Beyond

river into ocean

Top photo Chester Creek Trail in Anchorage, Alaska; bottom photo of Plawagan Puger, East Java by Ikhlasul Amal

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30 thoughts on “NAVIGATE

  1. I really like your use of metaphor for different phases of life. The last stanza is a very effective contrast of two different paths in life, with one not better than the other, just different.

  2. A wonderful reflection on the human experience that struggles to find balance. We all want to live boldly, with courage and yet, we have that inner fear and angst of the unknown, of losing our way. Until one day we accept the risk because we are no longer “content with familiar brooks….”. Isn’t it ironic we want certainty, but we live our best within uncertainty. I especially appreciated that you dedicated this poem to your sister. Would you give me permission to recite this poem? Hugs!!

    • Oh yes, Rebecca! We desire certainty, but life has a way of upsetting that lovely apple cart. Living “our best within uncertainty” is our reality; to constantly struggle against it isn’t peaceful or positive. An unpredictable undertow can force us to travel the river of life in a direction opposite our comfortable flow. How we navigate that reversal greatly affects ourselves and loved ones.

      My sister was a risk taker, and this didn’t always work out well for her. But her heart was as steady and certain as a rock. I was overly cautious, often with good reason, but this too wasn’t always conducive for growth. You most definitely have my permission to recite this poem. I would be honored, as always! Hugs and more hugs!

  3. Love this evocative little poem! Your featured photo of Chester Creek also struck a chord, as I have fond memories of jogging along that trail when I lived in Anchorage many years ago. Sometimes strange streams bring us back to where we started, but we aren’t the same….

    • Thank you, and it’s wonderful that you’ve jogged this beautiful trail! The funny thing about Heraclitus and his famous saying about not being able to step twice into the same river…is that it’s also not the same person who steps into the changing stream!

  4. Ah, Mary Jo, we never really know where the path will lead us but it’s a beautiful journey, all of it. As is your poem, flowing words carving beautiful paths… Many hugs, my friend!

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