The Almost Daily Thread

musings from the blue chair

Mary Oliver

 

Snowshoe Hare

The fox
is so quiet –
he moves like a red rain–
even when his
shoulders tense and then
snuggle down for an instant
against the ground
and the perfect
gate of his teeth
slams shut
there is nothing
you can hear
but the cold creek moving
over the dark pebbles
and across the field
and into the rest of the world–
and even when you find
in the morning
the feathery
scruffs of fur
of the vanished
snowshoe hare
tangles
on the pale spires
of the broken flowers
of the lost summer–
fluttering a little
but only
like and lapping threads
of the wind itself–
there is still
nothing that you can hear
but the cold creek moving
over the old pebbles
and across the field and into
another year.

In one of my writing groups our writing prompt was to react to Mary Oliver’s Snowshoe Hare The poem turns out as not one of my very favorites, but a fabulously rich Mary Oliver poem none the less. We discussed the poem in depth. We discussed the transitory condition of life and it’s cycles, the wonder and cruelty of the food chain, the poem’s symbolism, the colors and lack of color, the movement and lack of movement.Upon the first read, I expect the poem to be about the Snowshoe Hare but…The the hare, “fur and feathery scruffs of fur”,”fluttering on the remains of summer’s broken, colorless flowers” are not mentioned until lines 20-24.
The snowshoe hare meets it’s death in the snap of the fox’s jaw, “The perfect gate of teeth slamming shut.” The fox gets the first line and the entire first 1/3 of the poem before he vanishes. We hear no scream, no cry , no sound from the Hare, only know of it’s existence because of it’s silent, sparse remains, with only minimal recognition in the poem’s story. So, while the fox is the survivor, it doesn’t get to be the poem’s title.
All the movement, lapping threads, wind, snapping jaws, red rain takes place in winter. Winter being a season of hibernation, barren in stillness colorless, and the only color in the poem is the red of the foxes movement and dark pebbles.
The remnants of the snowshoe hare’s death, the transition, is now, only a memory carried on the quiet water flowing over the pebbles, “the cold creek moving over the dark [old] pebbles “across the field/into the rest of the world…” So the movement takes us with the rest of humanity into the linear future. Time passing “into another year.” So death and moving on could possibly symbolize a physical death as well as an attachment to an event, a person, place or thing. Or a trauma, an injury, an accident, a story that we carry with us.
The foxes movement is fast/intense, brief, quick and is gone, compared to the water which flows smooth consistent and ever present.
And actually by the end of the poem both animals have vanished. Not a trace of the fox who has disappeared into the surroundings; the hare into sustenance for it’s predator, the fox wandering the terrain somewhere.
A question I had was why does Oliver even bring the “you” into the poem? Because it seems to me the poem could be written without the human interaction. Perhaps to make the event more personal for the reader, to bring it closer to the human experience? To include humanity in an act that happens daily/hourly between the predator and the hunted, being that animal feeding upon another is an act we do not see and are quite immune to? And how do we balance hat with our own food choices?The poem draws the reader’s attention to the circle of life. Its everyday events. Is our sympathy with the hare? Do we applaud the fox? Because if it doesn’t it feed itself it will die. Is one animal’s life more worthy than the other? Life does not do on infinitely except flowing water. Is the water the blood of the planet, feeding the surrounds as it passes?
I left my writing group to find this text on my phone. “RIP Mary Oliver.” OH NO. Not so soon.
Mary Oliver, the poet herself, passed that morning, that morning while we discussed death in her poem.
I am surprised at how deeply her death affects me. She leaves a trail of words put together so artfully, so magically they continuously touch my emotional beliefs like notes in a song. Her words bring me comfort, strength, and relate to my life events so precisely it seems they often were written solely for me.
She connects the cycles, the simple construction of the natural world with human complexity. She reduces life’s chaos into simple, into manageable. Or at the least into a place where I can begin to sort through, to muse upon and attempt to answer the questions she raises.
She wrote poems that point at our perfunctory movements as we struggle to understand and justify; poems that connect to the untamed ramifications of the Circle of Life; poems to challenge my beliefs; poems that help me uncover more of me.
I am continually inspired and delighted in relating to and garnering wonder from the words of this master wordsmith. And so, Mary Oliver:
I will continue to be open to hearing “the voices around me.”
And I will continue to work at “mend{ing} my life.”
I will proudly “announcement [my] place in the family of things.”
I will boldly honor this as my “one wild and precious life.”
I will attempt to “make myself a light:
And while I can’t say exactly what it is [I] plan to do with [the rest of my] one wild and precious life,”
I intend continue to be curious and alive in the present moment because “When it’s over, I [do] want to say; all my life/ I was a bride married to amazement. / I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms. / When it’s over I don’t want to wonder/ if I have made of my life something particular, and real./ I don’t want to find myself sighing and frightened, or full or argument./ I don’t want to end up simply having visited this world.’
I aspire now to exist “hot with the joy of this world and filled with praise.”

I dreamed of Mary Oliver’s crossing into the afterlife walking upon a street of words. A street lined with words piled high like stone fences on either side of her, waiting for her to rearrange them into stimulating, satisfying words of wonder.

Poems quoted are The Journey, Wild Geese, The Summer’s Day, The Buddha’s Last Instruction. 

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Where I find Peace

The Peace of Wild Things
by Wendell Berry

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

This is such a fabulous poem. The writing prompt for my Thursday writing group this week was to read, enjoy and write about where we find peace or freedom.

Where do I find my peace?

I find my peace in the calm silence of the early morning. Hot coffee. My calendar, journal and pen. Gathering myself for the day ahead. Reviewing and adding to my ongoing record and then check-it-off list. Measuring daily achievements and noticing what I’ve deliberately(?) chosen to ignore. Keeping myself honest in all that head chatter!

I find my peace in movement, in doing. I find my peace in the midst of creating a fabric piece, in planting, sometimes in cleaning, always in organizing.

Yesterday I found my peace in hauling wood to the porch. I roll the empty barrow to the back of the driveway where tall precision laid stacks stand drying, preparing logs for their final mission after being lifted and broken during the summer’s log splitting operations. I disturb the peace of the log piles, deconstructing the pile. These stacks have housed bugs, been a respite for snakes, their skins shed in peace and private among the crevice mazes. Loading, I toss logs into the wheelbarrow, march it to the front yard, toss logs onto the porch.  Heaping substantial, long burning pieces haphazardly.  Smaller kindling pieces are  thrown into the wood box. And I return empty to the stack only to continue to bang the pieces of my heat source into the black wheelbarrow and to toss random. Stack and unstack. Load and unload.

Two days ago I found peace in planting garlic, abet, maybe a month later than my usual. So much rain. Soggy heavy dirt. And I must decide which bed to use, so many need repair. Procrastination ended when a delightfully cloudy day, presented itself. An owl calls out from its hiding place., grateful for a peaceful December day.  I pull winter hardy weeds, cutting furloughs with a trough and hand rake. Unclumping cold dirt with bare hands. Breathing the fresh earth. Blessing the garlic cloves as I push each one into soft, moist dirt. Praying the miracle of the root happens in the cold darkness of winter to spring forth a bulb of garlic from just one small clove. Mark the rows and cover with a layer of straw for protection.

Oddly enough, I find peace in washing dishes – sometimes. The clean up after a day of nourishment. I normally wash dishes once a day, in the evening. Lingering dirty dishes seems the day isn’t finished. Isn’t tidied up. Staring out onto the seldom changing kitchen window scene, I plunge my hands in hot soapy water. Repetition and completion before retiring for the night.

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Work got you down today? Nina Simone remix

This might help get you through Friday.

Who knew this guy could transform into a magic dancer???

Avicci remixes

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A day of magic

The magical day began with a quiet morning after spending the night with Aunt Joreen. She had slept so late I was getting concerned, but the phone rang and she answered it. So she hadn’t died in he sleep. A relief to me, not necessarily to her. She is 90 years old, has lost a great deal of her eye site and her independence and is ready to “go home.” I hugged her goodbye wondering if I will ever see her physically alive again. Sad and yet understanding her desires and exhaustion with her struggles in this life.

I set the GPS for home and got on the road for the three hour journey home. Wazy took me an unfamiliar route. In a bit, I turned into a Starbucks. Crowded with all the tables taken. One woman, however, was alone at her 4-top. I ash permission to sit and eat my oatmeal. She waved me into a seat and we began a conversation. I heard myself asking her if she would pray with me. “Because you are a woman of color and I am white; because of the accusatory process of the current Supreme Court nomination; because of the connection and unhealed wounds from the Anita Hill/Clarence Thomas situation; because of the Me-too movement; because there are and will be men being accused wrongly which is painfully detrimental to their reputation and well being; Would she pray with me? Pray for the women and and the men, asking that truth, compassion and Godliness surround all concerned.” Or some words similar!

So agreed.  We stood and then sat in a Starbucks in Indianapolis, held hands.  We each said our prayers out loud, safely.

I then drove onto to New Albany, Indiana where I was to meet up with a friend to view the Penny Sisto are exhibit at the Episcopal Church. Pat and I pulled into the parking lot at the same time. We walked to the door to find it locked but a woman responded to the doorbell. “We close at one,” she said, “but I stayed late today to finish up some tasks, so come on in.” A blessing since the display is quite a drive from our home.

Fabulous fabric art work. Fabulous.

We got a tour of the architectural splendor of the church also.

After coffee and a delightful croissant we drove I-64 east to home where we were treated to a sky decorated with a full rainbow. Full!  Both sides planted around Waddy-Peytona.

I arrived home only to find my micro-green tray suffering my absence. Determined to not let their collapse event ruin my day, I watered and…and hoped, and prayed and… by nightfall he beautiful tray of micro-greens recovered.

A day of magic.

I send one to each of you.

http://www.pennysisto.com/

https://www.stpaulna.org/

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Tina

Okay.  I’ve missed a week of dance posts.  Making up for it now with Tina.

 

How can I post dance and not do Tina?

Those legs!

And, seriously, she dances in high heels.
It’s a 10 minute video!

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Ice

One summer there were five weddings in the family. I danced to this song many times.

 

If there was a problem……I’ll solve it!!!!

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Saturday – Is the song running through your head already?

What does Saturday mean to you? Chores? Sleeping in? Date night? Whatever your plans I hope you dance your way into them.

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JUST DANCE I’ve got this feelin in my body

Of course it’s Justin. Love this video. I’ve always wanted to dance with one of those dancing fan figures. I can hear my children saying, MOM!” (IS that a dress with carrots????)

Which dancer do you like best? I like the guy in the green shirt and the waitress has pure joy on her face. Well, and Bernie and the Barber shop….. no favorites.

Whatcha going to do with that sunshine in your pocket??? Put that sunshine all over your day.

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Blending

How dey do that?

What I like is the blending of the old and new.    Some one knows their musicals!

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The Electric Slide or The Dance Collision

I’ve never been great at following orders or reading the directions first. I’t venture to say it’s the sign of self-sabotage or, maybe, it’s outside the box thinking!
And because the whole left/right thing confounds me (slight dyslexia) I’ve been disruptive during the Electric Slide. I take my place on the sidelines and move in my own way.

FYI on Utube there are many instruction videos.  Who knew???

Have a lighthearted, happy day.

 

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