There are people on a parallel way. We do not
see them often, or even think of them often,
but it is precious to us that they are sharing
the world. Something about how they have accepted
their lives, or how the sunlight happens to them,
helps us to hold the strange, enigmatic days
in line for our own living. It is important
that these people know this recognition, but
it is also important that no purpose or obligation
related to this be intruded into their lives.
This book intends to be for anyone, but especially
for those on that parallel way: here is a smoke
signal, unmistakable but unobtrusive—we are
following what comes, going through the world,
knowing each other, building our little fires.
William Stafford wrote this poem as part of an introduction to his poetry collection A Glass Face in the Rain (thank you Faith), hence the reference to ‘this book’. This image is one that I align with, that we are sharing the world with people on a parallel way. People we may not see or think of often, even, I would suggest, may not know. Yet they are there, living their own lives as we do ours, invisibly connected.
He is suggesting that how others accept their lives, or how the sunlight happens to them, helps us with our own living, those strange, enigmatic days. He tells us it is important that we each know this about one another and yet, this recognition must not carry the weight of obligation or intrusion into their lives. This way of being is a smoke signal, unmistakable but unobtrusive, a way of speaking to one another, building our little fires.
I see these virtual smoke signals often in the people around me and appreciate them for how they anchor me in my own life. And I love the idea of us each with our own small fires of life, the smoke rising up and reaching out to one another. This is my smoke signal to you as we share this precious world.