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A Day's Journey Into Night
The dull grey of first light shows the path that you
have placed me on, my Lady, forks up hill and away
from the shadows that the fragile, unworthy
part of myself would rather skulk in: another
gauntlet at my feet, another loving dare
to choose the merciless light that nourishes
and exposes me, to myself and to others.
I cannot turn away -- you forbid my cowardice.
Dawn breaks, stretching amber and scarlet across
the immense sky, and far above my head, a falcon
soars among the few littering clouds. And I smile
as I put one foot in front of the other, and again,
and again. The yawning expanse of light slowly
reveals the thorns that will cut me to ribbons
if I veer too far off my path, and the rocks that
may yet cut into my feet if I proceed.
I cannot avoid the pain -- you would not coddle me.
Daylight and a sky the blue of Frigga's cloak seems
to reach down to kiss the ground I'm walking on.
It's a beautiful day, not a cloud in the sky
and I'm afraid. Crawling about in the darkness was
not my path, but it was, at least, familiar. I fear
this exposure, this clarity, and I cannot help
but second-guess myself. That, of course,
is when I stumble, scraping my hands and knees on
my own ingratitude and self-loathing.
I cannot miss the irony -- you smile knowingly.
High above, the midday sun is hot and bright and
I can feel its warmth seeping into my bones, chasing
away the cold of neglect and self-sabotage. Like a
flower, I arch towards the dazzling brightness.
Even behind my eyelids, I can see Your radiance, Lady,
and the glory of this new day. This is what I must
cling to in my worst moments of doubts and despair.
I cannot express my gratitude -- you seem to understand.
Sunna dips lower in the sky and still I walk the path
you've chosen, my journey into the evening taking
a more pensive tone. I've come so far that
there are twists and turns here not unfamiliar to my feet
old lessons with new hats, bridges that I've built
with the sweat of my brow to avoid fording through the
raging rivers that have all but drowned me many times.
I cannot indulge in such self-flagellation -- you tell me I'm learning.
At the dimming of the light, I become aware of my companions
on this journey. Beloved faces of those gone before, smiling
and offering a helping hand or a leg up when I stumble.
A warmth that has nothing to do with sunlight settles over me
and I take each new step on faith. This is not my darkness;
it is yours, Lady. It has always been yours and that
is the lesson that I have never understood until now.
I cannot miss it -- and you offer your hands to me.
© Maris Pái
Huginn's assistant editor, is a heathen
based out of the West of Ireland.
She is a writer, poet, digital artist and
crafter dedicated to finding the sacred in the everyday.
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