February 16, 2021
Threshold Crossing Birthday
By Amba Gale
February 9, was my 76th birthday.
My husband and I took a journey to the Olympic Rainforest, to Lake Quinault, staying at the lodge for a couple of nights.
One morning, Don and I hiked up to the Falls’ Creek waterfall. Not having hiked like that in over a year, I was having a struggle, walking up hill, breathing hard. We almost stopped, before making it to the Falls. As the cascades we were seeing were so beautiful, we thought we had reached the top. Just as we were perhaps 10 steps away from the top of the hiking path, along came a couple, out of nowhere, like angels, guides. (We did not see one other person throughout the entire hike). Donning their masks, as did we, they started describing the falls in the most beautiful and poetic way — cascading terraces down the mountain. The vision of the beauty was so clear. “It’s a bit of a scramble, but well worth it,” the woman said, smiling with her eyes.
No way were we not going together to the top, hilly mud slide and all in front of us.
I asked, and received, Don’s support with his arm, in getting past the dicey parts of the trail. (It’s always good to ask, and then, receive, support).
The Power of the Vision won out again, allowing the difficulty of the journey to be part of the gift of the arrival.
A threshold crossing, indeed.
Given that I like to initiate inquiries: how does this story map on to your life? Can you allow the difficulty of your journey to be part of the gift of the arrival? What dimension or part of your coming arrival can you hear, even now? What support are you willing to ask for – to accept?
Given that I love to write poetry, invite reflections, take nature photographs, and tell stories, if you like this blog posting, you may like my book Crossing Thresholds, Island Reflections.
I invite you to read the poem below.
Threshold Crossing Birthday
This birthday morning, deep in the Quinault rain forest world,
I read a poem by poet Marie Scott, which opened a door to a moment,
“a moment inscribed on my heart.”
By Amba Gale, Poetic Contributions by Don Gale
Dark green vines wet
and deep with color lie
with ease on gnarled maple bark
while below, the river gaily dances its way
to the lake, singing all the while: Fall’s Creek.
This is my birthday hike.
Out of breath,
step after uphill step,
carefully skirting protruding roots and limbs
trying desperately to trip us up
letting me know that that huge, fat trunk tree is here
When the trail diverges,
one way to our car,
the other to the waterfall,
we choose the destination.
The river ever closer, ever louder in its voice, comes near.
We hear the rush of it,
the thrill of it.
With cascades below us,
we think we’ve reached our stopping place.
And suddenly, out from the woods
step two angels, donning masks to keep us safe.
We cover our own faces,
And they, smiling with their eyes,
tell us we are almost – and not quite – there,
to the waterfall,
where the river cascades
down step-ladder terraces.
“It’s a bit of a scramble, but well worth it,” they say.
Unsure footed as I am, I hesitate.
I know the destination calls to me
and ask my husband for a hand
to grant me his support
across the mud, across the slide,
across the mossy rocks, and uphill climb.
Always here, to grant me his support.
We find the steps to make our way.
On the bridge, we breathe in sound
and marvel at the life and beauty of the place,
the tumbling rocks
a step ladder for the rushing river
to find its way,
making music all the while,
musing in its own style,
delighting in its journey to the sea.
Musing, myself, here,
the next day – my birthday morn –
this “moment inscribed on my heart:”
The passing of two guides, angelic strangers,
smiles in their eyes,
inviting me to go the distance,
weather any danger that comes my way,
getting help where needed,
and meet my destination in all its splendor,
keeping my vows, tuning to the Power of the Vision,
unfolding the future into what it’s meant to be.
And, most of all,
the difficulty of the journey
to be part
of the gift
of the arrival.