Tuesday, September 16, 2014

How to Fall

I've always been fascinated by the movement of the trees, especially being from a place that has so few. Living in a place of many trees has been an exploration of a new language. In Maryland there are so many different kinds of maples and oaks and trees who flower. As the fall comes on, I notice the change in the sounds the trees make. The sound of falling acorns. The sound of the leaves in the wind.

Today go outside and listen. Listen under the obvious sounds to what's happening underneath. What do you hear under the cars driving by? What do you hear under the cicadas? What do they say to you?

How to Fall
Acorns fall in a plunk
Black walnuts thump thump thump
The wind blows
A dry branch crashes through the lower canopy
A single leaf lands on the leaves left on the branches
scraping and rubbing against its brothers
until it finds it grace on the greening brown grasses

When you fall...

Do you plunk?
Do you thump?
Does a stiff wind move you to crash
and bounce against the soft ground?
Do you roll down slick, empty hills?
Do you buoy yourself up in the arms
of your sisters, your brothers, your friends, your lovers?
Do you put yourself at the mercy of the stream's eddies and swirls?
Do you fly and lilt in the lessons of the butterfly?
Do you fall far from home?
Do you fall in? Do you fall out?
Do you fall so hard you bring down the entire tree?
Do you give yourself to next year's growth ring?
Do you fall at all?

The trees know you fall where you may
And root like dandelions
when the plunks
grow silent.

If you bring down the tree, that's okay too.
She's already forgiven you.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

This Wild and Precious Life

Mary Oliver is one of my favorite poets. Yes, I have many, many favorite poets. As the humidity and heat sets in to the day, it seems appropriate to bring Mary forward here.

This is one of my favorite one liner from her poem Summer Day:
Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?

Recently someone* asked me how I would answer that question. Now I ask you. What will you do with your one wild and precious life?

This Wild and Precious Life
Make messes and beauty
Feel 100 percent human
Begin again and again
End as many times or more 
Nestle in the belly of trees to listen for the water pouring down the rocks
Catch the acorns falling from the trees
Collect feathers
Pan the bay for sharks who lived millions of years ago
Hold those teeth in your hands
and swim across the oceans older than we could ever dream to be

Marvel at the heavy-headed sunflower until the rain breaks it stalk
Morn the loss of its beauty and
Leave the seeds for the ants and the worms
and watch how many seedlings appear in its place 
Celebrate the bees resting in the dew under the sunflower's umbrella 
Grow back into the babe 
who knew no difference between
breath, heart,
love, & death

*Thanks, Joe, for prompting me to contemplate what I am doing with this life.