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?
This is, perhaps, a strange piece to share today (unless you’re in the southern hemisphere, in which case, enjoy the coming summer months!). It’s Thanksgiving in the US, and this year, we have no elaborate meal, no friends stopping by, no plans other than to attempt to teach our oldest how to make pie and stuffing (the only two foods my husband can’t do without). A part of me wishes we had the distraction of a busy day. Activity is a pleasant diversion, and we certainly have much to be grateful for, and to celebrate.
Right now, however, we’re also struggling to balance the joy in our life with the immense sadnesses of several of our closest friends. They are not my stories to share, but I carry them heavy in my heart right now. On a day of indulgence, family, and tradition, I’m finding it hard to do anything beyond live in the tiny moments – the grasshopper in my hand moments – because the bigger picture is too daunting, and shadowy, and hard.
The tiny moments though, they make up my days with the frenetic love of toddler attention spans. They are tiny fingers clasped around mine, buoying me through tearfilled phone calls. They are ten second snuggles, and unexpected baby belly laughs, and the blossoming of brotherhood. They are a house, clean for five minutes before a whirlwind of adventure displaces every little thing, and a sink overflowing while we stroll in the sun. They are the careful attention of a two year old sous chef, and the flinging of small bodies into outstretched arms.
They are my salvation right now, and for them, I am thankful.