I thumb through the photo album.
There I am in at age six
wearing a Sunday plaid suit.
Defiant, I dart my tongue at the camera.
In high school,
a pudgy face and body
from boarding school starch,
I slouch in the Y of a tree.
In college, tan, golden hair,
I fondle a Coors.
cloud my studies.
Graduate school, no makeup, haunted eyes,
first real awareness of life’s harshness.
I pretend to be an intellectual,
armored against pain.
A college writing professor
round glasses, tired smile
and a look of desperation
from reading too many student essays.
A travel writer,
I wear a backpack
and stand at the edge of the Grand Canyon,
broad smile, lonely heart, seeking love.
Each stage of life a new incarnation,
new faces, new houses, new towns,
but the lessons remain the same
as I churn on the Ferris wheel
drilling deeper, closer, to the true self.
I see my resilience, enduring,
shining through experience after experience,
a steady presence amidst the chimera of this life,
which mirrors my eternal adventure.
As the wheel slows
the Beloved hands me an escape map.
The next time my feet skim the concrete,
I step off,
and remain in the effervescent stillness