top of page

Standing on the Parted Shore

Standing on the Parted Shore

(from Brainstorms)

the fear swells,

like a wave

in her chest,

as she stands at the edge of the water.

she knows

that the passage to the other side

is not as long or as deep

as it looks from the surface.

she only needs to take




and start.

a moment.

it takes one moment

of courage,

of faith,

and then there is no turning back.

she will be moving.

and the current will carry her.

and the water will cradle her.

and there will be no effort.

and when she emerges

on the other side,

the fear will be gone,

and in its place

will be a world

more beautiful than she can imagine.

it takes one step.

a twitch of the foot

and she will be on her way.


This poem is my first, written almost ten years ago as I was preparing myself to embark on a threshold crossing of my own design. I was trying to muster the courage to change, even though courage seemed like the only choice because my known had become so uninhabitable that it spit me out, leaving me wandering toward a new destination that I could only sense in my imagination.

One night, I was out walking and began to have the sense that my ancestors were walking with me. As I looked down at my sandaled feet, it was as though I was seeing both my own feet and the feet of a woman who inhabited a time and place far from the modern suburban streets I roamed. When I got home, I began a free writing exercise. I didn’t intend to write poetry; I just needed to write. I needed to let out the feelings, thoughts, questions, and images that were circulating in my consciousness. My journal was a safe space for me as I began to navigate unfamiliar terrain.

Not knowing is the hardest part—and also the most pivotal—as we step out of comfortable roles and predetermined ideas of what comes next. If we learn to trust in a presence beyond our individual selves, over time we might sense ourselves as part of a larger complexity. What might feel like a frontier of uncertainty can become filled with unimaginable grace when we become open to unexpected synchronicities, helpful strangers, and the support of community.

Whatever parted shores we may be standing on, personally or collectively, we cannot find our way alone. We must learn to connect, to lift one another up, to become the helpful stranger, even (perhaps especially) in the quiet moments when we think no one is watching. We must tend each other with care.

With love,


bottom of page