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Threshold Crossing Birthday

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,

pausing often,

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

and here

and 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,

allowing

the difficulty of the journey

to be part

of the gift

of the arrival.

Additional Posts

June 8, 2021

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We are so filled with prescriptions for positivity, that sometimes we forget to include, to allow for, to put our arms around, all those parts of ourselves that are hurting, that are lamenting, that are grieving, to be with what has ended, and embrace those parts of our lives, or ourselves, that it is now time to let go. As I say in one of my poems, “Heartbreak,” in my book, Crossing Thresholds, Island Reflections, pain not honored or fully experienced hides in the years, hides in our body/mind, goes underground, and so we live with a brittle heart, not…

May 25, 2021

Magnificent Magnolia Morning

Each morning, before I go to my office, in my morning practice of drinking tea, and reading poetry, and writing, with an intention to “get out of my head” and “get out of my plans” and move into the natural world “out here,” something new clicks for me. The morning, noticing the bright red rhododendron blossoming near the greening of the leaves, and the waning petals of my magnolia tree, the poem, “Magnificent Magnolia Morning” came my way, opening the territory for me to reflect upon the impermanence of all things. Even though we often avoid it, or deny it,…

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