Last winter I knew the height of all the bridges. I slept on hard surfaces in emotional beds of regret. Last winter served me lessons I couldn’t refuse.
(walking the slick streets with my face to the wind just to feel alive)
And now I’m in January with perfect vision looking back. How I grew stronger on the tile floor. How I found a gift in the darkness.
Gratitude comes quietly to lift my head. Hums a melody I know by heart. Here I’ll stand for a little while longer considering the low bridges. How they saved me with their proximity.
How they led me to this place.
I wait, breath held, in this clumsily constructed doorway. You’d expect better of a woodworker’s daughter. You’d think I’d be skilled at right angles and plumb lines.
I ,too, thought that I’d be further along by now.
But I’m strong. You have no idea how strong I’ve become. And hopeful. I hold it in my sun spotted hands like the winged creature it is. Still learning to fly.
Part of me wants to slam this amalgamation of days behind me. Part of me wants to leave it open. Just a crack.
Just in case.
What a world.
What a scary, beautiful, disastrous, heartbreaking mess of magic.
It’s okay if all you did today was breathe (I say to myself like a salve for the bruises).
It’s okay if all you did today was breathe (I say to you like a salve for your broken heart).
….but the past doesn’t work like that.
Our previous selves, the ghosts of who we’ve been, remain inside and form vital portions of who we are now. I’ve withstood a challenging year because of my past. As much as I’d love to close one door, barricade it with rocks and set monsters as guards, I know I have to let it all come with me.
I’m busy conquering a new fire swamp. It began with the car break in and robbery, but that has become a footnote. I’m working and exploring and getting a feel for this new home.
I’m finding my rhythm.
My expectations and well laid plans fall away as I stride forward into the unknown.
It may be hard for me on many levels, but damn I do feel alive.
(Poem by the exquisite Mary Oliver)
“You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting –
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.”
― Mary Oliver : Wild Geese
I memorized this, my favorite poem, over a year ago. It has become my ritual at night when I close my eyes to repeat it in my mind over and over until I can sleep. Some nights I make it only half-way through before dreams arrive. Some nights I lose count.
What’s your favorite poem? I’m looking for a little inspiration this week. Please share.
(picture by my pilot husband. somewhere over Laos)