Don’t Blame the Wind

a butterfly’s journey

This poem was inspired by a small pale yellow butterfly I watched fight its way up a steep cliff a few years ago. The winds were brisk with downdrafts and updrafts sweeping the small creature to their will.
But my butterfly hero was undeterred.
I watched this brave creature fight forces it seemed so powerless against. After a long fight, it finally made its way up. It didn’t tary or do a celebratory circle or fly by. It just continued on its journey.
For many of us, 2020 was a year like that and I think we’re almost up the cliff.
We can’t control the winds or the rocks, but we can certainly control our wings.

Don't Blame the Wind
Don’t blame the wind for it blows with no care.
Don’t blame the rocks for the flesh they would tear.
Don’t blame your wings for the strength they must find.
Don’t blame the sun for the eyes it does blind.
Don’t see the course as too long or too sheer.
Don’t see the drop as penance to fear.
Don’t see the ridge as the end of the road.
Don’t see the flowers as a jealousy to goad.
Look to the wind for the lift it provides.
Look to the rocks for the boundary to glide.
Look to your wings for the power they possess.
Look to the sun for the warmth it begets.
Do see the course for a path to reveal.
Do see the drop for motivating appeal.
Do see the ridge as a link in the chain.
Do see the flowers as friends on the way.
Some loops bring you forward
Some swerves set you back.
The journey’s rarely straight lines
We must be ready to tack.
So drink in the sun
Make the toil delight.
Keep beating your wings
And your life will take flight.

Self Evident

Cloud Sunrise

On a few of my first trips to see the sunrise, I was a little disappointed. I had it in my head that the morning display would always be this big perfect circle of thermonuclear fire rising majestically from the cool blue sea.  However, I have learned that quite often, it’s not like that at all.

Frequently, clouds and mist obscure the horizon.  I know the exact time of the sunrise since Siri tells me.  Although I don’t doubt her accuracy, minutes after that time has passed, there is no sun to be seen.  Instead, all you’ll see is an almost begrudging purpling, then graying, then an amber pinkening.

As you listen to the waves consistently inconsistent percussion of the Earth’s heartbeat, you may be fortunate to see a cumulus cloud’s sharp outline glowing brightly like the yellow almost white hot edge of a dead leaf alighting its silhouette in a bonfire.  The sun is there, but we can’t see it.  We see evidence of it, but it is not quite… self evident.

So much of what we strive for – love, joy, recognition, affection, acceptance, success, peace, satisfaction, friendship, validation, strength, wisdom, excitement, adventure, contentment, health, creativity… is there for us. The clues are all around, but they are obscured by the clouds of our own making.

We say sun “rise,” but it’s really us riding atop the Earth spinning down toward the relatively stationary sun. So too must we spin our minds to see our larger truths.  The hazy mist of confusion, the drenching rain of despair, the suffocating darkness of loneliness, the thick clouds of doubt – there are a thousand obstacles that float in our way, but our truths are there.  The goal is to make them obvious… to you.   It may not be swift or easy, yet that should not be a deterrent.  Frequently, the rewards we receive with no great effort are valued very little in the end.  Contrarily, the most satisfying goals achieved are the ones that required the most work.

Over these early mornings, I have learned lessons of patience.  Lessons of appreciating subtle change.  Lessons of valuing what is there, rather than lamenting what is not.  The clouds have taught me that in addition to Jefferson’s self evident truths of the equality of all people and our unalienable rights of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” there are so many more relative truths out there waiting for me to become aware of them.

I went to the beach to seek the sun, but have also become so very thankful for the clouds.