Making space for the words under the words

A morning walk in the cool woods, with the sounds of the birds and the sight of the poppies flourishing at the sides of the fields. Summer is incredible early and beautiful this year. Walking without expectation or goal. The Eastern idea of apranihita –  aimlessness. No need to have a purpose or to run after something. Making light space on the journey after some full, rich days. What is important is not necessarily what we are experiencing,  but how we relate to it.

My grandmother’s voice says nothing can surprise her.

She knows the spaces we travel through,  the messages we cannot send — our voices are short  and would get lost on the journey.

Farewell to the husband’s coat, the ones she has loved and nourished, who fly from her like seeds into a deep sky.   They will plant themselves. We will all die.

My grandmother’s eyes say Allah is everywhere, even in death.  

When she talks of the orchard and the new olive press,  

when she tells the stories of Joha and his foolish wisdoms,  

He is her first thought, what she really thinks of is His name.

Answer, if you hear the words under the words—

otherwise it is just a world with a lot of rough edges,  

difficult to get through, and our pockets full of stones.

Naomi Shihab Nye, The Words Under the Words


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