The Moments Without the Oar

I’ve been taking an online class on spirituality and poetry (The Spiral Way: Celtic Spirituality and the Creative Imagination – It was a four week class and the final class was a doozy with several writing exercises. The subject was pilgrimage, specifically a form of Irish pilgrimage called Peregrinatio. Irish monks would be prompted by a dream to head out on pilgrimage. They would set off in a small boat called a coracle without a rudder or an oar and just go where the current took them. It was a spiritual journey of trust and exploration. In the class we were given several writing prompts and the first one was: “I step into the coracle and release the oar.” Here is my writing exploration and my poem: 

I am reminded of kayaking on Webb Lake in Maine. My husband, Rick likes a direction and a purpose. Yet I remember the experience of just being in the kayak on the water. The temptation to drop the oar and just see where the lake takes me. What does she want to show me? Somehow I trust her more than my own choice of direction. Sometimes I just want to be taken somewhere wonderful. I don’t want to risk making the wrong choice. I’d rather trust the wisdom of the water to show me what I need to see.

But then I have the memory of racing to shore before the storm let loose. I was very grateful for my oar at that moment. Would the lake have carried me to safety? Maybe my own instincts are more trustworthy than I give them credit. Maybe we can partner. The spirit of the water can suggest a direction. And then I can choose. Sounds like a good life and a good journey.

The Moments Without the Oar

I can trust
those moments
without the oar.

I can trust the Spirit,
your Spirit,
to deliver me to dry land

the land of your suggestion,
one you think fits me
for the moment.

I can choose
to step ashore
and venture

into something new
or something old,
whatever awaits.

I can trust
that when it is
time to journey again

the coracle will be
at the shore
waiting for me.


2 thoughts on “The Moments Without the Oar

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