The known becomes the unknown.

The unknown looks me full in the face, unblinking,

At first incomprehensible.

Now is the time,

I hear from someplace far away

Yet closer than breath,

To step forward.

To cast aside the ease of compliance,

That familiar, once-comfortable mantle

Long tied about my neck, resting on my shoulders,

The extreme heaviness of which I only now

Begin to notice.

Has the time perhaps come for us to grow up?

We are no longer an infant nation,

No longer the infant feeding, as infants always do,

Off of the body of the all-giving Mother.

We filled in the little rectangles on our ballots;

We sealed and stamped the envelopes and dropped them in the mail.

There. That’s done.

Now then, what’s next?

Back to business as usual.

Who knew that we might not be able

To return

To business as usual?

Who knew that we were participating in a rite of passage,

Embarking on a time of change,

A time of growing up?

That we were being called to find our guidance,

Our compassion, strength, and wisdom

Even in the stark and barren places of the night?

Have we forgotten

That every seed that springs to life

Breaks open in the dark,

Sending vibrant, life-empowered roots

Deep into the dark and fertile earth?

Have we forgotten that pain, even pain that overwhelms,

Can be, at times, a natural part of giving birth?

Each of us,

Alone, and yet together as groups and as one nation,

Rise up, each in our own way, to grow beyond

All that we who call ourselves Americans

Have known.

We waken and we rise.

Then through, within, between, and all around us

The great and beautiful, unquenchable Unknown

That has been quietly gestating in the dark

Begins to move, inch by inch and breath by breath,

Along the birth canal of human consciousness

To become

The new and treasured


Laurie Hoff Schaad