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The path is under your feet at
All times.
    --  Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching,
  Cloud Hands Edition


HOW MY HEAD LEARNED TO FOLLOW

Before I knew about
the hands
I did not need
this much trust.

I did not need
this much trust
until I began to think
one day
because one thought
led to another
and another

until

I started to wonder
if I might be
walking on cloud.
I knew that was not
supposed to be
possible.
But whatever lay
beneath my feet
suddenly did not feel
so solid
and if youíve never seen
whatís under your toes
how would you know?

So
I took a deep courageous breath
then looked down

and found
all sorts of hands
cushioning my path.

Red hands and blue hands and green.
Sunset red, aqua blue, seaweed green--
the palms uplifted--a solid field
of hands as far
as the eye could see.

Red, blue, green,
but also
pink and orange and yellow--
heartfelt pink, energetic orange,
and thoughtful yellow--
the fingers held tightly together
giving each step
a little spring.

And since the hands were everywhere
I could walk anywhere
and still be safe.  Could I not?

But what if I took a step--
       unknowingly
       the wrong step--
and the hand
under my heel
gave way?

Then where would I be?

The hands had always
supported me in the past
but how could I know
what the hands might do
in the future?

Now I wished
that Iíd never looked down,
never seen a single hand.

Now each step
felt treacherous--
I became afraid
to even move
one toe.
I stopped
dead still.

But then, the next logical thought
fell like a domino:
what if the hands now
holding my feet
began to sink--
what if all the hands
began to sink
and kept on
sinking?

Then where would I be?

Well, I didnít know
so I closed my eyes
and waited for
the worst.

But though I waited
and I waited,
I went no lower.

Nor, for that matter
did I rise
any higher--

not a bit higher.

Well, I couldnít just
stand there all day,
now could I?

Despite my fear,
I wanted to go on,
to take any step
in any direction--
any direction
would be fine

so long as I wasnít
stuck there.

Wherever I stepped,
wherever I went,
would have to be
the place
I needed to be.

So I began to walk again
and the longer
I walked, the more I felt
the warmth
radiating up
from each palm--
felt the intelligence
of the steady fingers
and thumbs
beneath my soles.

My feet knew.  My feet trusted.

And so
my head learned
to follow along.

© 2007 Michael R. Patton      go back

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