Onward

Age 50 is a milestone; another of life’s markers along the way.

At this time, I find myself at the side of a road, taking the time to pause and reflect

and I glance neither back at the asphalt traveled, nor ahead where this trail leads.

But I’m wholly distracted by ants, darting every which way over the stones –

sheer determination, seemingly inexhaustible energy; some unfathomable purpose.

One ant labours hauling a carcass of some larger bug; it’s his Sisyphean rock!

Along side, and then up over successive stones, the ant pushes onward.

Passing milestones will mark time and distance,

not achievement and progress; not energy and purpose;

and peering forward and back like some stupefied Janus

provides no true measurement of self; only details without essence.

I stare and blink, then forcibly hold my eyes shut

turning thoughts over in my mind – here and now – roadside with ants

I’m struggling to focus beyond the kaleidoscope of past memories

of my youth and the paths chosen:

vivid, colourful images, yet distorted, all moving sideways, front to back

Bewildering time shifts; far more fiction than reality

For there’s no comfort in re-treading forgotten pathways

Nothing but empty feelings; not regrets, but a gnawing, pit-of-the-stomach ache

and a realization: half-baked, stale memories are indigestible.

Self-consciously, I look down at my leg, and at the dirt beneath it,

and at the shadow the leg casts in the dirt.

I trace along the ground, where the darkness meets light;

my knee, shin, ankle – noting my shadow is much larger…

I’m not sitting here alone. There’s more than my bones and skin.

I hold the thought that I’m here with all those who have met me

My friends and family; lasting unions, even fleeting connections;

all who I’ve known are ever-present in that elongated shadow –

providing me not with a specific location, but a measure of something more:

a wondrous shade to be comforted within – here and now – roadside with ants

I fixate on the horizon – needing to discern some landmark that can place me

and, perhaps, place this road and the direction I’m heading.

Wisps of distant clouds and a light breeze against my face bring sweeping realizations:

I gaze far ahead, appreciating now, that details are for the young.

Perspective is only found in big sky and where that thin line marks our earth.

On every road there are bumps, turns and many long bends;

yet, be confident about your direction, determined in your stride,

and trust in the horizon line before you.

Passing milestones will mark time and distance,

not achievement and progress; not energy and purpose;

take to the road, aware of the shadow your presence casts,

and trusting you’ll arrive one day at your spot on the horizon.

The ants continue their tasks, unconcerned that I’ve stood

casting a long shadow, out onto the asphalt.

Time to pick up my feet and push onward,

lock-stepped with my loved ones.

Time to dance with my accompanying shadow

pass those milestones that lie ahead.

 

Chris George

June 2012

1 thought on “Onward

  1. Clyde Hodder

    awesome piece of poetry chris…..a lot of heart and depth of soul. Get ‘er published and compose more.

    Reply

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