The signs were clear, every day or two another gesture.
Hoof prints on the outer circuit, scat on turns three and six.
Imprint of your body in the wet grass.
But when you showed up in your full presence
I took a breath like being born. As I stepped onto the path
I saw you lying at the edge of the labyrinth
staring at me with your kind and serious face
as if to say, “I will witness your journey.”
Your two children in the woods just behind you
Joined by Mom and Grandma VanHoorn and Grandma Boelhower
and the mothers of all ages and the spirits
of all the ancestors gathered in the circle of witness to say,
“You are never alone, your steps your songs your prayers
echo in the great temple of being and here is the center.
All the generations gather around you when you walk.
Yes, sometimes you walk a question and sometimes an alleluia
some days the dark dance of grief and other days the lyrics of laughter
but all in the circle of breath in each moment.”
To receive the gift and gift it back again.
The story is particular and forever the same.
This moment this day this year
you are the child and the parent and the grandparent
and you too will become the ancestor. In a few days
or a few moments the circle will turn for you
and you will witness from the edge of the path
the steps of those who remember your name and who have forgotten.
You will gather around them and breathe your prayers over them
because the dance and the circle are one.
by Gary Boelhower