My eyes blinked open a little earlier than usual to pink light streaming through my bedroom window. Barely out of a dream, I jumped out of bed, grabbed my camera, and dashed across the road to the riverside. The sunrise sky changes from one moment to the next, and I had to wait for a few cars to pass before crossing the road. The opening lines of this poem started drifting through the air as I wondered if the sunrise colors would wait for me to cross the road.
After capturing some images, the dramatic, early sunrise colors faded, and I lingered on the riverside as the rest of the poem developed. (Fortunately, there is a small notepad and pen in my camera bag for such occasions.) Before the sun appeared above the tree line, I returned home with both a picture and a poem.
Maybe it’s not the sunrise sky.
Maybe it’s the way the budding trees
Are silhouetted by the angle of backlight
Or the sound of a woodpecker across the river
Providing percussive accompaniment
For the songbird symphony.
Maybe it’s not the great blue heron.
Maybe it’s the cluster of forget-me-nots
Growing out of the rocky wall
As you paddle by.
Maybe it’s not reaching a certain
Destination or state of mind.
Maybe it’s the sound of your paddle
Dipping into calm, reflective water
Or each footstep touching the ground.
Maybe it’s not the white swan
But how it inspired you
To pay closer attention
And to have enough hope
To take the next step.
Maybe it wasn’t getting the shot.
Maybe it was being there
And experiencing what was there
Instead of being disappointed
By what wasn’t.
Maybe waiting for the sun
To emerge from or duck behind a cloud
Is an invitation to notice
Something small and lovely
That would have remained unnoticed.
Maybe it’s not something tiny
But taking in the whole landscape
That includes you sitting or standing here,
Part of it all, breathing.
Maybe it’s not a sight but a sound
Or an opportunity to adjust
The focus, the angle, the depth
Of your field of awareness.
Maybe what you were looking for
Was just one of infinite possibilities
And your expectations not being met
Is a gateway to something greater.
Maybe it’s not about happy-ever-after.
Maybe it’s feeling alive and engaging
With the magic of the moment,
Which is the only moment we have.
Maybe it’s not the place you go to
But the person you’re with,
Or maybe it’s the other way around.
Maybe it’s not a particular thing.
Maybe it’s the emotion it calls up
And how it can wisen you.
Maybe what you set off in search of
Isn’t what you will find.
Maybe its purpose was to set you
On the path in the first place.
© 2021 Susan Meyer. All rights reserved. You are welcome to share this post or excerpts of it as long as you give proper credit to Susan Meyer and SusanTaraMeyer.com. Susan Meyer is a photographer, writer, and spiritual teacher who lives on the Hudson River in Upstate New York.