I am feeling a little uninspired, poetry-wise, these days. There’s lots going on in my head, but this is one of those times when I walk after a thought into the green mist of my brain, and everything scatters. When I get my hands on one rascally idea, another goes bleating by, and I lose my grip on the first while I reach to grab the next one. I’ve lost the sheep dog for my poet-brain during these days.
This is not a bad thing. I’ll call it incubation time, let things grow in their own way for a while, like that insufferable mile-a-minute weed out on the hillside behind the house. One of these days, I’ll wake up the sheep dog, or pull out the weed whacker, or whatever metaphor I need to open the next new poem.
Meanwhile, dream. Meanwhile, work and hope. Meanwhile, rage and grow, rest and mend, edit and nurture. Meanwhile, Love.
I have been thinking about love a lot lately. About the friends who say, “They’re all our children,” and then take children into their home, one after another, knowing that the better they do the work of loving and tending in the moment, the more their hearts will break when the time comes to say goodbye. And children come and find a haven. They receive at least one bright and shining period of love and care in their lives. These people are changing the world.
I have been thinking about the woman who opened her heart to grief, to the searing pain of listening to the way the Earth and her creatures are being destroyed. Because of Love. She turned all that tenderness and fierceness, that deep love and that deep rage, into powerful words. Words like needles and thread, to stitch up all our broken hearts together. The shattering grief has become a tool of mending and healing. She is changing the world.
I have been thinking about people who, when faced with a tragedy or a need or a loss or a hope, somewhere in their world or community–the ones who step forward without hesitation, knowing that they have love enough and heart enough to patch the gaps, to be part of the solution. Confidently they come forward, but humbly, too, to make the world a better place.
I wonder what difference it would make, were we to stand still in this moment, look back at the lives have lived up to this point, and call that Training. Every terrible thing, every mistake, every good choice, all of it–it has all gone into making us the exact people we are in this moment. We have been trained by our lives to be the people we are now. And we’ve been chosen, every one of us, for an important job. We have the best training life could supply. Now we have a job description: Love. And we might not know the exact tasks before us, but we know that we have this one skill, hard-won through our years of training, that we can apply to whatever is thrown in our path. Love and love and love. Though we know our hearts will break. Though we know we’ll make more mistakes (more training!). Though we don’t know in this moment the shape our loving will take. And I know that whatever work I am doing for Love, you are there, doing yours too. And I know that your work strengthens mine and gives it extra purpose, as I hope mine will do for you.
Let’s get to work!
1. The scent of wild honeysuckle and multiflora rose. I know they’re a little bossy, that they’re trying to take over the world, or at least the woods’ edge. But they smell so sweet.
2. Oriole. Yes, I know, I am still obsessed with him. In recent weeks, he’s been working on a family. More hidden in the green of the treetops. A little less vocal than he was when he was singing his courting songs. But here. And this morning while I have been writing, he came hunting through the little oak tree on the hill, a bright flicker of flame leaping from branch to branch, sun on his feathers, and then down through the viney patch on the hillside. That bird tends my heart.
3. Fresh Strawberries! I have waited all year for this.
4. Foraging on the compost pile. A garlic scape and a large handful of lamb’s quarter leaves.
5. The work ahead.
May we walk in Beauty!