Standing, feet naked to the earth.
Walking, the sensation of flow from heel along the outer edge of sole
to outer ball, inner ball, the rhythm of it.
Like the sleek shifting weight of a running cougar:
the ripple and the grace in the movement.
Touching ground, bending knee, taking weight, pushing off,
finding strength and ease in paced fluidity.
We pause to stand in a circle.
Our toes feel grass, leaves, gravel, sand.
We look up and find each other all in a subtle smile.
We want to stop war, yet we are peace.
The astronauts, even, with all their faith in the world’s roundness,
could not contain their awe
while pulling away from gravity.
First they could see the depth of the atmosphere;
colors in continuity, lineless mapless reality
(as distance erased political divisions,
the map’s crazy quilt of color-coded colonies
must have seemed ludicrous,
the Great Wall, archaic and quaint);
then lucid blues and greens, buffs and browns, whites and silvers
vivid against the pure black of space.
Even as the space-walkers escaped gravity,
they became bound ever more deeply to Earth
by love, by beauty.
With enough distance, the horizon’s curve finally touched itself,
became the full circle in their vision
it had always been.
Coming home, freefalling back into the curve of air
their centers surrendered to earth’s center,
all beings on earth,
held to this same center
by the same gravity—gravity being nothing else but the attraction
through space of one mass to another, a manifestation, perhaps,
of love, of belonging,
of what makes us land, what brings us home.
So here we are, on a new pilgrimage, a pilgrimage with no destination:
for if we keep going straight any direction on this earth,
we will end where we began.
Our way will be home. Going will be return.
We’re coming home, sweet sacred sphere,
though we still smell of spent gunpowder,
which makes our feeble prayers for peace
sting like incense in the eyes; yet we turn,
turning from harm, turning to love, turning to heal.
We circumambulate the sacred, as we always have:
Muslims the Ka’aba; Christians the labyrinth at Chartres;
Buddhists, Hindus, and Bons the one mountain, Kailash,
and now all together
We keep walking.
When we come to an ocean, we sail.
When we come to a border we cross like an unstoppable wave of refugees,
or we meet pilgrims from the other side and pass
the torch, the beat, the momentum;
exchange seeds, medicines, signs of peace.
No destination, just movement.
No goal but to radiate from the center of our gravity,
the earth our wheel,
our path the tread,
our walking the medicine.
When we close the circle,
we will have made a medicine wheel with Earth’s center as hub.
We, too, will know the Earth as round.
We’ll finally sense that space is, in fact, curved.
As we stand, this divine light that comes in through crown
and out through feet is the same beam, straight through the earth, curving through space,
returning to us.
It threads through all centers,
it is the one center, everywhere, of this divine, infinite, beloved universe.
I know if each answers her own call, his own piece of the peace,
the world will be transformed.
As exquisite as that closing circle of the horizon,
this will have been the Pure Land all along.
All will belong.
(c) Karina Lutz, updated version of Encircling Earth, published by Traprock Peace Center: http://www.grassrootspeace.org/karina_lutz_encirclingearth.pdf