Today like the trees dropping leaves, I realize it’s time to clear off my desk so I can see the surface and feel the way I branch.

I uncover an article by John A. Baron, my Alexander Technique instructor.

He asks students to “experiment with their use by holding themselves in deliberate tensions, then collapsing, while continuing to stay with the piece”, the poemThe Swan” by Rainer Maria Rilke.

He continues, “One could also experiment with opening and closing physically with relative ease, or with drifting into movement, then into stillness.”

The poem is this.

The Swan by Rilke

This laboring of ours through what is still undone, 

as though, legs bound, we hobble along the way,

is like the awkward walking of the swan.

And then dying to let go, releasing ourselves

from the very ground in which we stand – 

is like the way he hesitantly lowers himself

into the waters, which receive him gently and,

as though with reverence and joy,

flow back beneath him, as wave follows wave,

while he, now wholly serene and sure,

with regal composure, and ever more indifferent,

he allows himself to glide.

I’m with this now, this opening and closing, and drifting into movement, then stillness, as I watch Greta Thunberg as she speaks today before the United Nations General Assembly. She is a force we cannot ignore. She’s proof one person speaking out can change the world. May it not be too late as we lower ourselves into the truth of what she says as wave follows wave.

2 thoughts on “Like a Swan

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