Day 3: Finding Light

walking

Last night I went to a Kundalini Yoga class, my first time with that practice.  Lots of “fire breath,” quick in and out through the nose, while we held long poses that challenged my muscles’ strength, as much as their stretch.  Kundalini is based on the concept of moving the latent energy at the base of the spine up, through the higher chakras, into the brain. During our final sitting pose the teacher said “May our bodies be more open and our minds quieter.  May the light in me find the light in each of you.”

Finding light.  That’s one of the answers.

Eric and I had a well-established tradition of creating our own holiday cards, using a poem I’d written and an image we often got off the internet, or copied from another card.  In early December I would give Eric several poems I’d written in the previous year.  Almost always he would easily pick the poem he wanted to use, saying about the others, “these are too dark.”

The year after Eric died I picked a poem from the manuscript of The Truth About Death.  I ran it by Adrienne and she thought it was fine.  I paired it with a photo Adrienne had taken that fall, of Matt and Sam walking under the tall white pines further down our road, a tunnel of diminished light.  The poem references that spot.  Perfect.

Except when Sam saw the card, which I’d already printed and had ready to mail, he said, “You can’t use this as a holiday card.  The poem is too dark, the photo is dark.  There’s a suicide in here.”  I knew he was right.  I scrapped the cards and started over.

This morning as I ran under those trees in the dimness I thought about that card. I thought about yoga class last night.  I thought about getting more energy up into my higher charkas, my crown.  I thought about looking for light and as I ran back to the house I noticed frosted grasses along the edge of the road, a hint of sparkle in the thin morning light.

First and Last

Dawn has shifted. This morning wild turkeys
scurry among the tall white pines that shelter
the farm dump, a needled lane lined with tires,
piles of scrap wood, rusted stoves and refrigerators,
a baler. A neighbor shot himself here, in his car.
The turkeys are short ghosts, short soldiers,
upright between long trunks, ruined rectangles
behind them, nothing but frozen road before me.
At dusk another shift, an edge of steel falls
from the sky. I watch it fall, hard and familiar,
comfortable and cold. I can taste the metal.

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About Grace Mattern

Grace Mattern is a poet, writer, mother, grandmother, partner, friend, family member, gardener, triathlete, hiker and for 30 years was the Executive Director of the NH Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence. She resigned her position at the Coalition on June 15, 2011 in order to concentrate on her writing, while continuing to engage in the movement to end violence against women as a consultant and advisor. Her chapbook Fever of Unknown Origin was published in 2001 and her full-length poetry book The Truth About Death was published in 2012.
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