Face to face

white bird flying over body of water

I come home unkempt with a hundred scraps of paper. Scribbled words. Big ideas distilled to three short words. One acronym with tacit vowels. Tasks undone. Gratitudes, whole-hearted, half-written. Condolences unspoken. The night rolls in. The moon sends the sun to sleep. I carefully pinch the pile in the middle, feel its solid well-intentioned core, and set it down. I’m tired. Each note a story, each sheet the white space in between. I lay a mask on top and breathe. Breathing in and out, returning again to the familiar rhythm of the days, this season, this sacred journey, that honest core.

Face to face with exile, with violence, and bold-faced lies. Lying, fading, facing inward to seek the strength of trusting, compassion and kindness will find the long arc of justice. A million flags wave in remembrance, in humid heat, in ice of winter, in the sun of spring.

Face to face with ocean waves, tides and eddies. I stand at the water’s edge and take my shoes off. The water’s cold and salty, promising to wash away the dust of today, to soften the sole for tomorrow. Waves crash and thrash leaving a thousand pebbled jewels drying in purple kelp and crevices of yellow sandstone. Our mothers and fathers have gathered here before. Lit fires, sang songs, gathered food and managed tribes as our children will before us. I see in your face the hope and fear of selfhood. It’s in mine too. Together we sweep and cast away, we carefully chip away the hard spots and with patience we find a way to raise our hands and hearts to hope and joy.

Face to face in time. Eye to eye, turn around to see the past. Stand still to watch the future. Running, pacing. Uphill, downhill. The river stretches straight with shallow waters. The wind is still and the white heron rises over lily pads and reflected glassy straights. Fawns lose their spots and turkeys take their families for sabbath strolls. And still we patter on — face up to dodge the potholes. And still the pebbles slide into our socks. Our breath, unminded, feels short and labored. Patter on, reclaim the breath, return again to the strength of being with.

Face to face in space. Eyes strain to see six feet apart. Arms reach out to touch in warm embrace. Who is it that steps forward? Leaning in to yud, tipping back to rest on hey. Standing tall for vav. Resting back, exhaling hey. Looking inward, inward facing out. What is, what was, what will be in this moment of the nexus face to face.

Face to face in solidarity with the Divine within. Face to face in companionship with the Divine without. Seeking solace in the divinity that shapes our imperfect, crevassed ends. Entering / exiting the space of at one ment with no checked baggage. Trees rise thick and strong for the sleepy sloth. The journey through the worlds begins tonight in darkness, seeking authenticity and love, we navigate the light tomorrow brings.

–Jodyn Platt