This year’s blog is all about making promises to the future. This first post is a scene-setter.
What is a promise if not a commitment to pay it forward? It is a declaration of following through on a pledge, making good an intention. A promise is an act of hope, often an act of defiance and a forecast. A promise sits in today with recognition of fulfilment coming in a tomorrow.
When we show signs of promise, the potential is what we celebrate and we look forward to the harvest. Embedded in the promise is the seed and the bloom. The journey for a promise to be realised is often fragile, vulnerable and under threat. There are real dangers, snags and fears lying under the surface of a promise.
Each week I am going to explore a promise to the future – sometimes it will be personal, sometimes planetary and sometimes completely ‘off the wall’. I don’t know what they are yet … but I do promise they will unfold.
Every morning I wake to the twitter and chatter of birdsong – some in captivity and some in the wild. They promise the dawn is coming and a new day is rising from the dark. They sing of successfully making it through the night and chorus a welcome to a new beginning. They are steadfast in their expectation of all that they need will be provided and sourced from their surrounds. They promise the future will be there. The screech of the sulphur crested cockatoo surely started in the Jurassic era in the shape of a pterodactyl – from those earliest of times making a promise to survive and evolve. Birds were all dinosaurs once and birdsong is the foundation of all music that in turn is the foundation of song and words. The promise to tomorrow in the chatter of the morning continues to unfold. The music of their calls finds its way from their bodies to join with the other noises making a soundscape for the day to begin. Without effort they tell go of their song.
To Make a Promise.
Make a place of prayer, no fuss,
just lean into the white brilliance
and say what you needed to say
all along, nothing too much, words
as simple and as yours and as heard
as the bird song above your head
or the river running gently beside you,
let your words join to the world
the way stone nestles on stone
the way the water simply leaves
and goes to the sea,
the way your promise
breathes and belongs
with every other promise
the world has ever made.
Now, leave them to go on,
let your words alone
to carry their own life,
without you, let the promise
go with the river.
Have faith. Walk away.
To make a Promise
From ‘Prayer after Prayer’
© David Whyte & Many Rivers Press
Post Script: Our beloved sulphur crested cockatoo, Joe 50+ years in the family died in May 2017