“As You Fall Awake”

Photo by Grant Reed

Red Thyme

by Laura Ann Reed

In the red thyme
that crawls
languidly
between stepping stones
time stops
as bees
thrust their passion
deep into the promise
of tiny crimson-purple
blooms.

Where blossom
ends
and bee
begins

are the first words
of a lullaby
the world sings
while it rocks you
as you fall
awake
in the later years
of a life
spent mostly
sound
asleep.

I love poet Laura Ann Reed’s idea that we “fall awake” after a moment of presence, noticing for instance, how bees “thrust their passion” into the sumptuous blooms of red thyme—doing the work they were born to do with their whole selves, and blending with the blossom in the process. For me, this describes any creative act in which, for a while at least, the borders between self and world begin to blur, until we exist for a while in that natural timelessness outside of logic and worry. Her poem also reminds me of what Adyashanti has said of grace, which he defines as an open-hearted, open-minded moment of full availability to our lives. And such moments often happen “accidentally,” through no effort of our own, though we can practice cultivating that receptivity each day. As he writes: “Essentially, we fall into grace. By that I mean that a certain mysterious quality reveals itself and cradles us within an intimacy with all of existence.” Laura Reed’s poem invites us into that same intimacy with existence which she finds first with the languid, slow-growing red thyme between the stepping stones, and then with bees bending into the flowers. It seems that nature most readily provides such lessons in opening ourselves, in waking up to what’s at hand. In the final stanza of her poem too, she offers us hope too, implying that we might spend most of our lives “sound asleep,” yet still one day find ourselves unexpectedly awakening to beauty and connection simply by stepping into the yard and opening our senses to what’s there.

Invitation: Describe a time you fell into a moment of grace, surprising yourself with a sudden sensation of connection and oneness with all living things and the Earth.

—James Crews