Trace the backbone to where it disappears.
There, gentians suck the color from the sky.
You will see dancers, barely visible,
stumbling through the aspen as if drunk.
When you hear a crow’s call rise like hunger,
travelling south, turn and sit. A fine pollen
will settle on your hair and shoulders.
Bring no weapons. Several bears will cross you—
even if a grizzly raises up and rakes the air,
hold your ground. Breathe. Speak sharply.
Video from Heartsongs presentation, February 13, 2014.
See Acknowledgments for details.
It will be years before you get here.
The first time, be alone. If you need me
look over your shoulder, fifty paces back.
Call and I will see with you through your eyes.
And on this morning, this first morning,
you will sense love, the skin laid out for you
to put on for the rest of your life. It
will be blue—not the color of mountains
as the sunlight fades or of mourning,
but the color of feathers and of eyes
and of old ones who live beneath the snow.
You will hear the rhythms of an ocean
and your body will rise in slow spirals
up to the high place. From there you will see
the deep obsidian face of your past.
Deny the terrors. Let the quick lightning
writhe through you to set root at the center
of the earth. It will turn your blood to vapor.
You will smell, then, something like gardenias,
but far beyond its wildest echoes, so
clean you will weep tears of tourmaline.
You will know when to come down. Follow the
old road, the glad ice on the stream of light.
There are no dams here. The bark on your hands
will be white, my son, your eyes green moons.
Begin running ahead of time, into time,
no matter—you can dream now, forever.