Ann Keiffer

The Wilderness By Another Way

All my adult life I have jerked back and
forth between the Promised Land of
Creative Exuberance, Hyper-Focus,
and Putting-On-Your-Social-Face
to sojourns in the Wilderness, land
of deadness, disconnection, desolation
with only bleakness on the horizon.
I never voluntarily go to the Wilderness.
I end up there, abducted by forces
of illness, exhaustion or depression,
crash-dropped in like a crate of lead.
As I age, I have been disturbed to see
I am being abducted and crashing
into the Wilderness more frequently,
the sojourn and return ever harder.
And I have begun to wonder if there
is something about the Wilderness
that my introverted nature requires.
Could I begin by starting to call my
Wilderness experience by other names,
like solitude, rest, contemplation?
What if for some brief time each day
I could set aside comparisons and
just embrace my need to get away,
entering the Wilderness willingly
by turning off my electronic devices,
withdrawing from the world of errands,
pressing creative pursuits, the news cycle,
pushing, doing and making things happen?
And what if I lit candles in the quiet then,
making conscious my prayers for the world,
for people near and far I carry with me,
for my gratitude for this day’s blessings?
What if I laid my body down on the floor
and took time to breathe, to meditate,
to contemplate, to appreciate the beauty
spread out around about me on every side?
I wonder…
if I gave myself over to the Wilderness
like this for a little time each day,
would my longer, forced withdrawals
and exhausted treks not be necessary?
Could Wilderness be healing in another guise,
my personal retreat, my sanctuary?

Ann Keiffer
September, 2019

Image Credit: Digital Collage by Ann Keiffer


About Ann

I am interested in the strange beauty of brokenness, in transforming possibility in difficult times, in how we heal even when we can’t get better, in the alchemy of surrender, in the interplay of light and shadow, in the bounty of everyday wonders, in the gift of laughter…and writing about it, all and everything.

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