For Blogging from A to Z: letter P in my virtues and views theme

I wrote this after a run in 2002. My mother had died of cancer in May of 2000 and I was struggling with grief and reevaluating my life. I really did sing to an eagle and lose track of the footprints I was following. At the end of the run I thought that I could be in grief, like the rocks and the water. Even if no one else was there, the waves and the rocks were still present, I could put my hands on them, the feeling of wet and cold grounded me and made me feel less lost.

Prayer to a rock

I went running
along the sunny beach
and ran into shadow

I kept running even though
there was beach with sun
because the shadow felt right
I ran towards a dead snag
Huge rocks were scattered on the beach

I stopped and placed my palms on one
And asked the rock to take away my grief
And then though, no, that wasn’t right
I asked the rock to lend me its strength during grief
I ran on

I took some comfort that there were
footprints in the sand
Someone had preceded me

I ran to the snag
an eagle sat on top
I sang America the Beautiful
to the eagle
and bowed
when I looked again
the eagle soared, wings spread, out of sight

I turned to run back
and now there were only my footprints
I thought I’d imagined the other set
in my grief
Then I passed the woman and her dog
who now were tracing my footsteps
I had passed them
I ran within my grief
I let it rise
and dissipate

I stopped twice more at rocks
One to change my prayer again
ask the rock to inspire me with its strength
Once to thank the rocks

I passed from the shadow
again into the light