Life

Sitting by newly lit campfire
Next to river
Dusk approaching
I listen
 
To the conversation of
Uncountable trillions of atoms of hydrogen and oxygen
Bound together as water molecules
Loosely coupled to neighbors
Cascading
Babbling
Affiliated in their allegiance to gravity
Aligned
Flowing
Continuously moving
Down the upper reaches of Ohanapacosh River
Past the La Wis Wis campground
Where my wife and I
Enjoy the last evening of our vanagon camping trip
Washing evening dishes
Watching an aerial handover
From
Four swifts swooping downstream flitting after insects
To
Weaving bats continuing the insect harvest
Above the uncountable trillions of water molecules
So busy
So active
Sliding
Colliding
Making this pleasing ruckus
 
Meanwhile
 
The molecules in the dust below our feet
Sit silent
No rush
No hurry
No sliding and colliding
Waiting, perhaps, for a force to motivate them to action
A breeze
A raindrop
A chipmunk's paw
Somehow
Someday
Someway
 
Later
 
Dusk descended
My wife
Ascending river bank
Announcing
Cold, that river
Moments later
Sitting beside me in the other camp chair
Wrapped in thick soft fleece
Dog curled on lap
Quietly listening
Cozy, aren't you
Um hum
 
Morning
 
The river ruckus continuing unabated
Trillions of water molecules alike and un-alike
Rushing downward along the earth's tangent
Dust sitting where I left it
Stellar Jay's raucous alarm cry
Blaring from tree above our van
While my wife snoozes anew
Beneath a pile of coziness
Next to a similarly ensconced dog
Confirmed in its optimistic attitude toward life
 
Aikido is my teacher
Existence is my dojo
My environs are my hakama
Wrapped around me
As I practice to
Be
Be fully
To live
To be alive
In the six directions
That encompass
That is
This
Heaven and Earth
Tenchi nage
 
I turn and begin
Facing the line of the river
Spreading my arms wide
Plugging into the river's flow
Stretching right to left, left to right
Tenchi nage
 
Standing upon the earth's soil
Reaching up through my spine through my head
Aligning with the old growth Douglas Firs standing quietly beside me
Connecting down through my legs and feet
To the uncountable cumulative weak gravitational forces
Connecting, holding, aligning me to the 
Totality of the earth's mass
Stretching up to down, down to up
Tenchi nage
 
Facing the continuously flowing river
Studying liquid flow
Admiring forested slopes of old growth ascending up, around, over, into, behind rock outcroppings
Embracing the beauty
Expanding my back body
I encompass our vanagon in which
The love of my life snoozes away
Connecting my lifelines
My futures
Our pasts
Weaving my lines-of-becoming
Here
There
Stretching back to front, front to back
Tenchi nage
 
Right to left, left to right
Up to down, down to up
Back to front, front to back
I am the center of the universe
The universe is I
I connect to all
There is no difference
No separation between me and that, that and me
 
Heaven and earth
 
A week later
Prone in reclined dentist’s chair
I breath
Expand
Down my legs, past my feet, through the houses across the street, past Green Lake
Up my head, past the hygienist, through the walls and the buildings, past Lake Union
Left through the wall, over the hill, past my Ballard house
Right out the window, across the freeway, past UW – my alma matter and employer
Forward through the ceiling, past the roof, into the hot Seattle summer sky
Backward through the dentist’s chair, through the basement foundations, past compacted glacial till, into the earth’s mass
I relax into
Tehchi nage
As metal picks scrape plaque, bruise gums
As water is sprayed and sucked from my gaping mouth
Until the hygienist voice
Severs my expanse
Draws me back
To
This
Here
One part of
And the whole of
Everything

David Socha