I learned the poem “Lost” by David Wagoner from David Whyte when I was part of a communal living program called “Spirit and Culture” at Chinook Learning Center (now: The Whidbey Institute) in 1986. David shared a wealth of poetry with us during the 9 months we were together and “Lost” was one I liked a lot.
This poem has spoken to me in different ways over the years since I first heard it. I think the first two words are the most powerful. Stand Still. Those words grab my attention immediately. What I hear is “be quiet” and “pay attention”. Stop and listen to the natural world. I often walk at the beach, usually several times a week. I watch the tide move in and out, the Olympics and Mt. Rainier take my breath away, the shore birds charm and excite me in their activities. The water doesn't ask questions, or worry or feel lost.
There isn't a lot of wilderness in the city to get lost in, but there is lot of uncharted territory within. When I feel lost inside I eventually realize that its time to return to nature, to breathe in and out, quiet my mind, write in my journal and remember gratitude. When I allow nature to find me, I am truly found.
~ Janet Hasselblad
Stand still. The trees ahead and bushes beside you
Are not lost. Wherever you are is called Here,
And you must treat it as a powerful stranger,
Must ask permission to know it and be known.
The forest breathes. Listen. It answers,
I have made this place around you.
If you leave it, you may come back again, saying Here.
No two trees are the same to Raven.
No two branches are the same to Wren.
If what a tree or a bush does is lost on you,
You are surely lost. Stand still. The forest knows
Where you are. You must let it find you.
"Lost," by David Wagoner from Collected Poems 1956-1976 © Indiana University Press.
This blog includes thoughts from various contributors at Seattle First Baptist