Spinning My Wheels

I want to post a blog touching on one of my usual themes—wonder, creativity, humor—but today those feel a little scarce. Well, I do feel wonder as I sit today in this blizzard, the worst I’ve seen in many years.  And in mid-April yet. I know a few of you are living where spring has indeed arrived. I hope you are full of renewed energy. For us in the Midwest, not much has changed for the better in the outer world in the past two weeks, when I wrote about struggling to find my patience. Now that impatience–for spring, for positive change, inside and out–feels more discouraging than angry. I feel kind of muffled and mired, able to do all the necessary daily tasks but lacking the will and energy to do the many things that would probably lift my spirits and vitality. Or maybe just feeling tired of doing them all winter and wanting a change. Wanting the sensual contact with nature that spring brings. The grounding. The joy. I wrote this poem several years ago, but it feels appropriate today as I realize what’s missing right now (not all of which involves springtime): Groundless  For too many days now I have not danced, tickled spritish spirit with leaps and twirls, or dissolved, exhilarated, in sunshine splash, been pricked awake by gusty winds or cardinal call, clutched rainbow blossoms to my greedy nose, or burned to merge with musk and sweat.   Too many days since I have sought the dark, ventured in, with quiet breath, pen in hand, to listen and dictate whisperings wild.   begin—stop—veer—clunk! rattle!–turn back–...

Ants in the Sun

Don’t you love how when you’re really tired, that’s when you slam your hand in the car door, or trip and bruise your knees (or break a bone), or forget to make that important phone call, or burst into tears when your coffee cup dances off the table and smashes on the floor— Or when you roll over onto your glasses (glasses which you virtually NEVER take off), distorting and cracking the frame beyond repair. As I did last night. Every year the days of spring and early summer take me by surprise. I imagine they will be soft and delicate like the earliest spring blossoms, but instead they abound with splashy color– end of school celebrations and graduations, weddings, outdoor social events, and frenetic gardening… in addition to all the usual activities of daily life. While the flowers simply bask and stretch out luxuriantly in the warm sun, we humans run around like ants, as if the sun were a stick poking into our hill. I’ve also had travels, funerals and grief over world events, so I am too tired right now to write many more words. I hope you are not so tired. I intend to take the advice of this poem, The Word, by Tony Hoagland to heart, and perhaps you need it too: Down near the bottom of the crossed-out list of things you have to do today,   between “green thread” and “broccoli” you find that you have penciled “sunlight.”   Resting on the page, the word is as beautiful, it touches you as if you had a friend   and sunlight were a present he...

Spring in the Maelstrom

How’s your month being going? If it’s been calm, peaceful and predictable, I think you are quite unusual. In the last two weeks, I have experienced two family birthdays, my husband’s retirement, a week’s visit with a friend out of town, a neighbor’s adult child’s untimely death, a dear friend injured in a car accident, my eldest child’s graduation from medical school, my youngest child home for the graduation rear-ended in a car accident, probably totaling the car (he’s ok), and a week enduring a miserable cold, including a visit to urgent care. Oh, and my Facebook account was hacked; after several attempts to clear it, I had to deactivate it until I can figure it out. (And of course the deaths of Prince and Daniel Berrigan.) So when I sit down to write this blog, I chuckle as “blog” triggers images of me blearily, foggily, slogging through a boggy mind to make this month’s offering. Therefore, to spare that soggy mess, I will simply offer this poem, Aware, by Denise Levertov. It comes to mind because I like it, but also because for me the peace between the maelstrom of events has been the glorious spring—the light, the breeze, the tulips, daffodils, and now lilacs (I can’t wait to smell them when I recover from my cold). When I opened the door I found the vine leaves speaking among themselves in abundant whispers.       My presence made them hush their green breath, embarrassed, the way humans stand up, buttoning their jackets, acting as if they were leaving anyway, as if the conversation had ended just before you arrived.             I liked...

Love Song

What a glorious transformation from barren grey to leafy green over the past several weeks! Once the spring rebirth truly arrives, my memories of winter fade—perhaps in the same way that soon after my babies were born I barely remembered the stress of labor (until time for the next winter or next labor). Wonder if Mother Earth feels that way too?   Tom and I just got back from a busy weeklong AAA tour to British Columbia. We went to Victoria and Vancouver, where we were immersed in spring blooms because both places have stunning gardens. Especially Victoria, where in addition to public plantings everyone has a lush private garden. We were amazed by the rhododendrons, which we didn’t recognize as such, because there they are taller than a person—more like trees than bushes—and bloom in every color of the rainbow it seems.     I loved that both Victoria and Vancouver are graced with beloved public gardens that restore beauty to what were originally rock quarries. Something else I loved in Victoria: they don’t mow the long grass in their large city park in the spring because they know the birds nest in it; they wait to mow until the birds have hatched! Lust for life and growth are on display everywhere here too now, delighting and nourishing eyes, nose, skin. Making me want to chirp in joy and gratitude. And does that lifelust have its own chorus? Reminds me of a poem I love by Lisel Mueller that was sent to me by a dear friend years ago (thank you Anne!): What the Dog Perhaps Hears If an...