by Jeff McKenzie
“There’s my new star in heaven tonite…
It’s when I’m gone I’ll shine bright for you.
There’s my new star in heaven tonite.”
There’s a new star in heaven
From earth, it seems to have
Just now come into existence. To have come
From nowhere. Appeared.
But you could ask some old, old Okanogan woman
If you could find one,
And she would laugh and tell you
Which means this:
Oh, that star has been here all along,
My young one. Yes, yes. What seems new is old.
What can we name that has not happened before?
Our world is full of tiny sounds made in powerful places:
One drop of water from a spring-flooding
River, spit high from the foaming surface
To mingle with the warming pine-scented breeze,
Travels in a graceful arc and lands on
The smooth, white rock, dry in the center of the
Torrent. What sound does it make
amid the rush to the sea? No one has
Ever heard the sound. So delicate and perfect
And beautiful; it floats upward like a soul,
And nestles into the cool darkness of night.
And becomes a star.
A snowflake, silent as it falls among
One million of its brothers and sisters,
Until you inspect it closely,
Touches down on the tip of
The Douglas-fir needle on
The fourth bough from the top
Of the tree which stands high
on Grandfather Mountain. It is no
Surprise to the tree or to the snowflake,
Both have known for ages that winter is coming,
Have been waiting, have done nothing to stop it,
Could do nothing,
But each receives the other in the beauty of fulfillment.
A promise kept, and a sound so sweet
Emanates from the kiss of the
Snowflake upon the branch –
Ah, there you are!
It is a gift, this sound that becomes a star
And swishes and swirls its way up the mountain
Skirting the trees, just above the untracked snow
Back from whence it came
Into the sky to join
One million million more brothers and sisters
“Hoot-a-who!” the old, old Okanogan woman would say,
What seems new is old.
What seems far is close.
What seems gone is reaching out to us.
They teach you in schools that the stars
Are unimaginably far from us
But that is not true
They are unimaginably close.
In fact if you were to stand atop
On a clear night
In the dead of winter
With no moon to blind your vision
You would say that the stars
Are very close. Maybe a ladder would get
You there. Or a simple stepstool. But of course
They are just a little farther than that.
So it has been, so it shall always be.
The stars beyond our understanding,
winking at us, close by,
outsparkling a sea of diamonds, and each more beautiful
being out of reach. And each calls
to you: “Here I am!”
“Here I am!”
“Hoot-a-who! Hoot-a-who! Hoot-a-who!”
A Great Message From a Friend
Peace Love T