Ode to Mary Oliver

Mary-

 I am calling out to you in the dead of night

But my voice is only a whisper compared to yours

I am breathing your truths into my bones

Until I am convinced they are my truths

How easy it is to convince myself of our lineage

When the sounds of the pines echo back at me,

Your language.

Everything around me,

Echoes back your language.

Pointing at me and hissing,

And claiming I do not belong here like you do.

These are my words,

These are the words of the achingly innocent

Convinced they are drowning.

Convinced that every strand of lyricism

Is another breath to their tired bodies

Convinced that Mary was right when she said,

“You do not have to be perfect.

You only have to be good.”

And so, I settle the four corners of my feet

Like cardinal directions in the grassy earth

Pointing me to not one way but all ways-

Pointing me to not one truth but all truths-

Pointing me to every corner with every strand of hope I will cling to

Like the human I am,

Anchoring down through my soles.

d.n.

Each day the sun draws the curtain and brings the shade.

The clouds roll back until they are wanted again.

The sky deepens.

It’s the daylight that taunts us.

Night is calm.

Night is a waterfall of sureness.

But day always breaks and we always wake to our unknowing minds.

We always greet our unknowing face in the mirror and move our unknowing limbs out the door.

We can’t escape the daylight.

We can’t forget that time is going going going and we have an endless array of puzzles to solve and ways to evolve.

The sun always sets, even if you think it’s only 2pm but it’s really 9.

Even if you think you’ve only lived a little but you’ve lived a lot.

You forget, but the sun remembers.

The sun knows what time it departs.

Every hour it sends us a reminder.

Deeper.

Darker.

Daylight is breaking;

Night is coming.

But like fools we romanticize the night and let the day run out of sight

Like fools we let the day go right before our very eyes.

8/5/16

California

Once I went to a land so beautiful I wasn’t sure I’d ever return

My soul would never return

I would forever be changed from the sacred spaces

My soles would forever trace these lovely places

I went to a land I treasured more than anything I had ever owned

Because true beauty cannot be owned

Because I worshipped my travels and sought light in the golden state

I found that humanity is plenty warm

I found a place to spend my days

I found a place so near and dear I craved it even when I was there

I learned I’m much luckier than I thought

I learned that sometimes you don’t make a plan but the universe makes a plan for you

And it works out more perfectly than anything you could’ve constructed in your small mind

Opened by new places

Enamored by these new faces

Something in me has ties to here

And I feel like no matter what I do

I won’t be able to shake this feeling

I am intricately and innately connected to this place

I have longings more complex than I can fathom

I am here for something bigger than myself

I was here to see the world is so much bigger than myself

And my impact is so much farther reaching than I thought

I went to a place that shined a light on my face and showed me the treasure inside

I went to a place and found authentic bliss, then I cried

I went to a place that helped me realize all of my imaginings could be true

They could be truer than true and better than I could’ve ever imagined

I went to a place that showed me this life

Is better than I imagined

I went to a place that filled me up but left me wanting and needing more

I went to a place that tied a string on my heart

I went to a place that changed me permanently

Taught me the difference between permanent and temporary

And that I better start working on my life now because we don’t wait for the future

The future is now and my future is here

I am tied to a place without me and I am tied to a life and a dream where I can thrive in this space

I dream of a life thriving on exactly what I’ve been doing with my time here

I can see the future and the future is a shade of gold only my eyes can register

I went to a land that brought me my future

And brought me hope

I went to a land so beautiful it broke me

And promised I could be whole again if I would ever return

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Going 23 mph on a bike

 

Going 23 MPH on a bike

Feels like you’re flying

Everything else in the world is false

Everything dissolves into the green

Of the trees and the blue

Of the sky

And you think your life

Will just be moving forward

From now on

Progressing, pedaling towards

Something actually attainable

It’s so much simpler

Going 23 MPH down a hill

On your bicycle

Smiling ear to ear like a child

Laughing and cheering like you’re wild

Wild for the weightless sensation

Wild for the loving embrace of nature

Frozen in time

All you can think is-

Never let me go.

6/13/16

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Simplicity is a Virtue

It takes nothing more but a tranquil day spent outdoors to reaffirm my appreciation of simplicity. Generally my life is overcrowded with busyness: plans, work, constantly moving from one task to the next without ever really enjoying a moment. I’ve always been one for speed, and regrettably I’ve too often found myself “getting things done” than doing things. But with a day wide open in front of me, that sense of accomplishment I too often seek comes naturally and easily. When I find myself without plans, I take to the outdoors (Michigan weather permitting) and absorb the marvel of nature. It’s not like I live in Appalachia or anything. It’s less about having the best, most exciting whereabouts and more about making my whereabouts exciting. But I also learn to accept that many exciting events and places are not yet within my grasp. And that’s okay. I love what I have, and I make the most of it as much as I can. I could go on and on about my adoration of nature and the intellect it inspires (see: Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Nature) but my true point here is that we don’t really need much to be happy. On these tranquil days a run energizes me, my vegan cooking empowers me, and my time with loved ones entertain me. I have an hour to spend with a good book, and there’s no rush to finish anything. I accomplish what comes to me; my idle mind tackles what really matters and I feel accomplished without feeling pressured to be. I have meaningful conversations with my family, and I remember that I shouldn’t ever push them aside for other things. Of course life is filled with so much more than books and talks and smoothies and bike rides and watching the sunset, but we can’t forget how much we enjoy these simple things. Now a college freshman, I know I have not yet realized how much my life will change. My “overloaded” now will seem like nothing to college me, as will my roughest nights in college seem to my career-woman-self years down the road. But no matter how busy I get, I vow to always have a few days like this. We need not be constantly bombarded with the modern world’s motto of more, more, more. We need not plague ourselves with anxiety and pressure to tackle our ever-growing task list. We need not conform to others’ ideas of an ideal life. There’s so much bliss to be found in the unknown adventures of the everyday. We must recognize our simple joys, and work to amplify them as much as possible. When we leave ourselves alone to our thoughts, we can rediscover our true goals and take some time to appreciate what is getting us there. One truly needs very little to live, and if we have all those things and more, how unhappy could we possibly get? I want to enjoy my moments, and not allow myself to feel rushed all the time. Funny thing is, when you slow life down for a bit and focus on what really matters, there’s actually much more exhilaration to be found.

She did not need much, wanted very little. a kind word, sincerity, fresh air, clean water, a garden, kisses, books to read, sheltering arms, a cozy bed and to love and be loved in return. Starra Neely Blade