I discovered “September Meditation” in late September 2009 while sitting with my son in his 14th floor hospital room at Oregon Health Sciences University’s Bone Marrow Treatment unit. We were seventeen days into a journey – into a world – that we had never imagined ourselves in. Who would?
The poem spoke directly to my heart as I watched the lives of my family change and the life we all had once known disappear forever. It tapped on my heart as I counted the days in the room, the doctors’ rotations, the units of blood, the hours he slept, the laps we walked around the halls, and the phone calls home.
I suppose I was taking faith in the idea that even though our human paths can surprisingly veer, solace is found in the natural world which miraculously and reliably stays its course. I also suspect I was taking to heart that “the reason for our births is to become the memory for creation.” For as much as I knew then that I wouldn’t want to remember that painful time, I would also never want to forget it. It was an experience that changed our souls so resolutely that to forget would be the greater loss – for we now knew more about love than we ever had before.
Four years later, “September Meditation” has four layers of remembering for me. Each new year the piece takes on a different meaning – though colored by the layers beneath. Whether this is your first reading, or your fourth – I hope it sparks memories for you as well.
I do not know if the seasons remember their history or if the days and
nights by which we count time remember their own passing.
I do not know if the oak tree remembers its planting or if the pine
remembers its slow climb toward sun and stars.
I do not know if the squirrel remembers last fall’s gathering or if the
bluejay remembers the meaning of snow.
I do not know if the air remembers September
or if the night remembers the moon.
I do not know if the earth remembers the flowers from last spring or if
the evergreen remembers that it shall stay so.
Perhaps that is the reason for our births — to be the memory for creation.
Perhaps salvation is something very different than anyone ever expected.
Perhaps this will be the only question we will have to answer:
“What can you tell me about September?”
~ Burton D. Carley ~