Wednesday, April 27, 2011

A Moment in Transit

I wrote the below poem during spring break of 2001, my junior year in college. On my way to Colorado my car broke down, leaving me stranded. I wandered the little town of Centerville searching for an open mechanic, but unfortunately, being a Friday evening, nothing was. At some point during my search a tow truck pulled up behind me, the driver asking if I needed help. We made a deal and he towed my car back to Houston. During the ride back, I had a moment where I simply let everything about the situation go; this was the result.

A Moment in Transit

Among the odd smells and strange stories
I sit wrapped in a light blanket of stillness.

The small quarters push in;
prompting hints of smiles
when considering the endless comfortable possibilities
found beyond the walls of this tight metal frame.

Scaly seats press gently against my tired back
jean-clad flesh snuggles against my stiff leg
dodging the manipulations of the nimble gear box.

Dirt on the window organizes and shapes itself
hints of order stained onto lightly tinted glass.

The plain countryside reaches to the sky
stretching green fringed fingers and rough brown arms
unseen toes grip deep into the red soil.

The odor of their effort is often imitated
yet never achieved
hung from off-kilter mirrors
festooned with last year’s mardis gras beads.

The vestiges of a once possible vacation chase behind
trapped in a similar box
free of curious smells
and quixotic adventures.

The past and future ignore me in return
as my attention has been stolen
by the simple, thieving will of the present
its garb simple and plain
reserved only to the current moment.

No longer are my eyes searching the unknown ahead
or mourning the experiences already complete,
choosing instead to relish this moment in transit.

I cease to view the dirt-spotted window, 
nor do I see the living world beyond it;
the lids of my eyes slide shut
blocking external distraction.

I am silent and smiling.

In an instant I am touched
neither by hand nor by breath
it is not the flesh on my bone that is the source of feeling.

My burdens are gone from my consciousness,
their weighty mass no longer mattering in my universal concerns;
the fingers that freed my frail spirit now caress everything in my soul
removing imaginary blemish after imaginary blemish
smoothing once perceived wrinkles.

Comforted I am through this great Comforter
who has deigned to reveal his constant presence,
treating me to a spoonful of limitless bliss,
giving me a hug dreamt about by orphaned children
who know not the feeling of a father taking them into his loving arms.

This is the feeling of home,
a feeling of love
not as abstract reality painted on the canvas of a poet’s mind
rather the warmth known to youth
sitting near a Christmas Day fire
enjoying their new found pet.

My eyes refocus on the dirt-stenciled window
breathing in the vibrant greens and browns beyond,
seeing the life that thrums through the living creature that is God’s earth.

My attention roams again
arriving amongst worldly stories
of material things and material thoughts
told by a rough looking, yet beautiful, man.

My smile continues;
my nose twitches at the gifts it is blessed to receive.

The present is my gift,
preciously wrapped with odd moments
and troubling thoughts,
which when removed
show me my reality –

I am peace.

I can’t promise that I held on to that feeling of bliss forever, after all, it was a moment in transit - I was changing.  Eventually the feeling faded, but I wanted more. I have found it again and again over the years, and anytime I am in a place where I feel the world has turned against me, I seek it out, safe in the knowledge that despite the bad hand I feel the universe might have dealt me at that particular moment, I would always receive another hand and continue with the game.

Someone commented anonymously on my Sunday blog and I love what it says. I think we can all take a moment to appreciate it’s honesty:

In the end it will be all right, and if it isn't all right, then it isn't the end.

It turns out that this quote is attributed to Paulo Coelho, a Brazilian writer. He has some other great quotes you can find here:

What I would love to do with this week’s blog is to have everyone who reads the blog add a quote in the comment section along these lines. It can be your own or someone else’s. If you know who said it, throw the name out there, if not, leave it blank. Some of us who might be mired in a bad place right now can certainly use some words of encouragement.

Let’s offer those up.


  1. One who fears failure limits his activities.
    Failure is only the opportunity to more
    intelligently begin again.

    Henry Ford

  2. Let me never be afraid of endings or beginnings. Teach me to embrace all of life with joy. -Helen Lesman

  3. And don't be wishing you were someplace else or with someone else. Where you are right now is God's place for you. Live and obey and love and believe right there. God defines your life.
    -First Corinthians

  4. When you reach the end of your rope, tie a knot in it and hang on.

    - Thomas Jefferson