Lost by David Wagoner
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.
I chose this poem because it reminds me to be mindful. Even though we are not literally lost in a forest, it may feel like 2020 is not pulling any punches. So at times, it can feel like we don’t know where we even are and what we can do: it can feel like we are lost. At this point, Wagoner’s poem does a great job of helping conveying a change of perspective. Rather than focusing on being lost, the speaker recommends that we become fully aware of one’s surroundings and appreciate them for what they are. If you step into the shoes of a person who is lost in the forest, what would following the advice of the speaker accomplish? Your immediate thoughts would no longer be those of panic and desperation, focussing on the trees ahead and bushes beside you would calm you down.
While this metaphor does not apply perfectly to what we are going through this year, being mindful may still be helpful to recover from stress – a skill that is desperately needed and may prove even more crucial, depending on what the rest of the year has yet to reveal. So stand still, you are not lost.