at an evening gathering in the Friendship centre,
listening to one of my sisters speaking
within a passion that felt so important
to my sense of solidarity
in that moment,
a teaching unfolded quietly.
Time has a way of honing
and sifting what draws our attention.
All these years later
it is the presence of
an elder I recall,
whose gentle teaching
transpired without a single word spoken.
The grace of his weathered hand
gliding along the metal frame
of the chair he sat in,
following the movements of my infant daughter
crawling on the floor next to him.
I can recall now more vividly
than it seemed I did in the moment
the exchange between them
as they gazed at each other
in the unabashed way a baby
will drink in a face and see beyond,
into places I would have been
uncomfortable to peer into,
this permission extended by One
who has nothing to hide.
The memory of how gently he expressed
his deep respect for her
remains with me
while all the other details have faded.
The elder I aspire to be feels like this,
like a gentle presence who sees
what is taking place in the community garden,
the kind of elder who drinks in the radiance
of flowers and the harmony of biospheres,
who isn’t shy to be fully present
for every plant, insect, bird, microbe and human
whose wings, beaks, wet bodies,
large or tiny
hands and feet
weave a tapestry of such beauty
my whole heart lights up
and my eyes and face cannot keep
from expressing this joy.
While I am becoming the elder I aspire to be,
I will stop to admire
fresh mushrooms and plump earthworms
springing up with the rain,
whose place in our ecosystems
is as foundational as evolution itself.
I will cherish spontaneous bursts of creativity
like a sweet south Asian call and response
sung between 4 men
on a construction site,
my heart echolocating
like my cousin the bat.
I will rejoice in fathers and mothers,
who speak tenderly
and listen deeply to what their young ones
and youth are expressing.
While I am becoming the elder I aspire to be I will remember
to treasure every person
who stops to ask for directions,
admires a view with me
or braves snippets of conversation
either one of us initiate
that form a beautiful bridge
with no greater purpose
than to co-create a field
honouring the Love we are made of.
I will vibrate my
with every awareness that falls
in my heart pond I will ripple out
to the whole cosmic field
while I am becoming the elder
I aspire to be.