October 5 – Walking Close to the Bone – Mark Nepo, The Book of Awakening

Seeking life everywhere, I found it in the burn of my lungs.

I have awakened and closed for nearly half a century: have run from and stopped, run to and stopped, climbed and stopped, lifted and stopped. I ask questions that can never be answered and live like an answer to all that is never asked. Like an ant building temporary homes, I keep moving what should be left alone and dropping what can’t be carried, and, in the highly charged space between the skin of the world and the skin of my soul, experience rushes.

Now, simply by waking, waves of feeling pulse close to the bone, and this continual pulse is so deep it aches. It is the ache of being alive. I used to think this ache was sadness, but now know it is deeper than not getting what I want or losing what I need. This waking close to the bone is the pulse from which both joy and sadness rise, where pain and wonder meet. Now I wake on stubborn fall days that resist the cold, I wake before the sun, the world wet with anticipation, and feel this ache, the way the Earth feels its core grind about that central fire that no one sees. It is the slight burn of being here.

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