This Night

Outside, still darkness
cloudless clear sky
twinkling with stars —
sparkling, glistening —
satin-soft sky tickling
gnarled oaks and tall straight pines.

Within, my breath pauses
as the night overwhelms me
the shawl of the heavens —
knitted from the prayers of saints —
wrapped about my shoulders
starlight dancing around my head
a tiara, a crown.

Around, the dark silence
intrudes on my senses
and I capture the essence of silence in this place:
river wavelets lapping at the pebbled shore
gentle breezes teasing leaves, carrying rumors from tree to tree
an air conditioner humming,
the only voice of man accompanying the song of this night.

Above, the Big Dipper
directs us to Polaris
as surely as this perfect night
directs me to Creator.

Below, my feet are charged
from the heartbeat of the earth
Creation guiding me from miracle to miracle
from clamor to quiet
from busy rush to emptiness
from light into darkness.

Eternally, God
conducts this grand symphony
weaving the songs of silence
voices of darkness
strings of intention
drums of the truth
into one glorious fantastical whole

One body —
earth, water sky
man and woman
all colors erased
in the darkness
the stillness
the prayers
of this night.

(From our parish retreat to Chanco on the James, May 22, 2009)