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  • Writer's picturePenny Harter


This gray, muggy morning here in southern New Jersey, I need to remind myself that it's possible to feel at peace despite these continuing days of seemingly forever Covid. Here's today's poem from my new collection Still-Water Days.

In Celtic mythology ‘thin places’ exist in the universe where the visible and the invisible world come into their closest proximity, and for those that find them, they offer the clearest communication between the temporal and eternal.

These thin places also include experiences people are likely to have as they encounter profound suffering, joy, and mystery. _____________________

Thin Places

Moments, locations, within or without the confines of flesh and spirit, thin places call us, whisper memories we can barely translate, only know we need to hold them closer.

In the dark night of the bedroom, one of my thin places wavers on the border between sleep and waking, between dream and what we call real—whatever real is.

Waking now and then, knowing a dream has been seizing me, I reach for it only to feel it drift away like smoke, into a place I cannot reenter, a portal that will only open unbidden.

Lost loved ones visit me there, pull me into places where I feel at home although I don’t remember them. Unable to linger, I daily seek thin places hiding in the natural world.

Time spent in communion with deer, or gazing into a shallow roadside pond of clotted water lilies as if it were a scrying mirror—when I enter these still moments, a thin place embraces me.

I become deer, and even stagnant water holds the sunning turtle who slides off the log into the dark between yellowing lily pads that hint at shortening daylight, cooler weather.

Along any path, thin places wait for us, and we must seek them, must learn to slow our pace and tame our fears until we find ourselves between worlds, on our way home.

(c) 2021 Penny Harter, from Still-Water Days (Kelsay Books, 2021)

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