Be Ready

winter branches pine tree pacific northwest photograph


You Reading This, Be Ready

Starting here, what do you want to remember?
How sunlight creeps along a shining floor?
What scent of old wood hovers, what softened
sound from outside fills the air?

Will you ever bring a better gift for the world
than the breathing respect that you carry
wherever you go right now? Are you waiting
for time to show you some better thoughts?

When you turn around, starting here, lift this
new glimpse that you found; carry into evening
all that you want from this day. This interval you spent
reading or hearing this, keep it for life --

What can anyone give you greater than now,
starting here, right in this room, when you turn around?

-- William Stafford


I have gone for three beautiful, brisk winter walks in the past two weeks with my family. This particular photo was taken in my NE Portland neighborhood on a rare snowy day. The poem was from yesterday's walk, seen in a beautiful garden of basalt columns at Foothills Park in Lake Oswego, where the Stafford Stones are inscribed with the poetry of William Stafford.

The poem stopped me in my tracks.

Be ready my friends.