Welcome to our second post & “The Summer Day” by Mary Oliver.
Several years ago, my husband, Jon, & I would frequently take the same path on our walk in an older St. Paul neighborhood, where we would pass a charming, artsy home with a plaque by the front door with these words on it:
“Tell me, what is it your plan to do
With your one wild and precious life?”
I so loved the words in that sentence. Everything about that sentence. I wondered where it came from, though I didn’t pursue it. I loved it, but had absolutely no idea how to answer it. Maybe it scared me that I wasn’t to have a ‘wild and precious life’. Maybe I was so struck by the beauty & bluntness of the words, I was too intimidated to respond in my head or my heart.
Between now & then, I have listened to the tail end of the OnBeing interview of Krista Tippett’s with Mary Oliver. When I’m settled in my new ‘digs’, I’m going to listen to the entire episode while spinning our wool. I can’t wait! Also, I recently remembered I was blessed with the gift of “New and Selected Poems” by Mary Oliver many years ago from my very dear friend, Judy! Within her lovely note were ‘instructions’ to first read “The Summer Day”. When I reread Judy’s note, I had to laugh! Of course! (‘Everything I need … !’)
This month, we begin moving my work from a much loved studio of five years back to beloved home & farm. I am doing this for many, many good reasons, yet it will still be a challenging shift. I have loved being in my below ground studio. My ‘cave’ embraced & served me well these last five years. I needed no real windows, just walls & a low ceiling. All mine & just me. Within that space my depth of work grew, for which I will be ever grateful. This fall, leaving home, farm, sheep, dogs & cats, became harder & harder. I was missing the light & height of home with its wonderful views & most especially, watching the sheep. A month ago, the decision was made to start the transition home. Time to come into the light.
I have been blessed with a working space of over a thousand square feet & will be integrating my work into our home. My working space will be less than half of that. It will be a challenge, yet offers a wonderful opportunity to seriously sort through the things in our life – treasures, tools, debris – & release what we don’t cherish or need. While I love to organize & ‘tuck’, oftentimes getting to that point is difficult. Good old Procrastination has been known to show up & settle in like a long lost friend. Transition is not a spot I like to be in for very long, so I have set out the welcome mat for my good friends, Perseverance & Determination, that they may take up residence & keep Procrastination at bay.
At this point in my life, which feels like a huge juncture – a recent birthday made it crystal clear there are more years behind than ahead for me on this wondrous planet & yet embarking on another huge transition – I have been emboldened enough to have the courage to ask myself & you,
“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”
I am grateful & thankful to be able to give you in full …
“The Summer Day” by 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 jawsback 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 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?
I could read the last nine lines every hour of every day. If only I were that wise.
I am going to put them on a 3 x 5 card where they will often remind me how precious it all is.
As I move forward, I will be making a plan for my one wild & precious life. I would love to hear yours!
Thank you, thank you, thank you for being here to share with me & hopefully others, the good that is in our wondrous world.
I am pleased to introduce Freynar, the youngest member of our flock, who was born in the spring of 2012. Freynar is a calm & quiet guy, who emits a certain wisdom. He doesn’t miss much, if anything. He & his twin, Freyja, were ‘whoops’ lambs. There were no plan for lambs that year, which Evan & CeeCee didn’t give a hoot about. Apparently, we are not the ones in charge! Freyja was a sweet & beautiful girl who died too young in a freak accident in the barn when we were away one day. Freynar grieved. I believe things now I never would have believed to have been real before. Watching the sheep live their lives while being a part of their lives has been incredibly wonderful & painful all at the same time. I am blessed.
Wishing you & yours all the Blessings of Good, Melinda