....and the only thing which lasts
is the work; start then, turn to the work.
Throw yourself like seed as you walk, and into your own field,
don't turn your face for that would be to turn it to death,
and do not let the past weigh down your motion.
Leave what's alive in the furrow, what's dead in yourself,
for life does not move in the same way as a group of clouds;
from your work you will be able one day to gather yourself.
from Throw Yourself Like Seed
, Miguel De Unamuno
(translated by Robert Bly)
This poem grounded me today, as I grapple with the strangeness of dropping back into Planet Bay Area, where nothing appears to have changed since I left 8 months ago. How is it possible that one of my worlds, Kenya, has been ripped apart, lies in bleeding fragments, while another is still lush, tranquil, and unmoved? How to even begin to answer, when a checkout clerk says cheerfully: "New Year going well for you?"Work
is the constant I orient myself around. What am I here to do, in the next 6 weeks before I return to Kenya?
Kahlil Gibran's phrase runs through my mind a lot: Work is love made visible.
My ritual, since I landed, is to set my alarm for 10 minutes before sunrise each morning. I propel myself from bed before my first waking thought. Fumble on clothes, socks, gloves, woolly hat, with chilled fingers, to get outdoors under the sky by the time it lightens. Everything is so sharply etched in the knife-edge cold of dawn - leaves, magnolia buds, the Marin headlands over the pale waters of the Bay. In that stinging silent clarity, I can contain all the contradictions. Stretch my lungs to the icy air, stretch my mind and body to the privilege of being alive, of throwing myself like seed into what I can do.