I woke this morning into a mind of fear;
that I will end up cold and lonely, ill and homeless.
In the pre-dawn dark these primal fears
attach themselves to thoughts
and circle like Sonoran desert vultures.

Then courage slowly blooms
as the warming sun appears.
It dances with the ever-changing winds,
and declares that it can handle whatever
these winds might bring.

As I contemplate the imaginary future,
I realize one thing alone is certain –
that I will die.
So, do my plans include that fact?
Or do they circle round and round
the Maypole of illusion and construct facades
and spin the story that I have a stable place to be?
I don’t. I’m living on land that’s not my own
and I really have no home here.
Or they spin the story that I can go on forever.
I can’t. This body, though working fine,
is not mine and I really have no home here.

Since death is certain, and growing ever closer,
how then shall I live?
Preparing for my death might be
a worthwhile occupation,
not a morbid shutting down
and investing in a cemetery plot;
but a wonderful expansion into pioneering territory.
I have always traveled uncertain roads,
why stop now?

What if prudent choices were not the measuring stick
my family conditioning insists to be the case?
What if I can fill my remaining days
with open-ended, eyes wide open wonder;
with my arms spread out in trust that I am competent
to walk along a road to unknown destinations?
Prudent living is a delusion.
It sounds wise at 4 AM,
but in the sunlight of the heart
it pales before the wonder of it all.

Author: William Martin

Taoist teacher and consultant

2 thoughts on “Prudence”

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