This last week or so has been tough for a lot of people I know and love. Two friends lost their father, one lost her older brother. The most prominent social media voice for breast cancer died.
Plus, ordinary crises of life seemed to cluster.
Amid that has been immense beauty too, testimony to the best of humanity. Chris got her van this week; I saw hundreds of other small acts of charity that brought comfort to a family wracked with grief.
The weather too – snow and ice, followed by spring-like days.
This week has been the totality of life compressed into seven days – immense highs and lows plus a whole lot of in-between magnified by the extremes.
While I know it’s not summer, it felt like it to me yesterday. The warm sun, the smell of the earth coming back to life, color returning to a monochromatic world. As I told my husband – it’s like summer, with snow.
And this poem has been on my mind. I post it as a tribute to an exhausting week and to the web of folks who show me the way over and over.
The nature of it all is paradox. The only way to get through it is to pay attention – to discern what is, to surrender to it, to accept it – the highs, the lows, and the middles.
The Summer Day
~ Mary Oliver
Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?