The past few weeks have been challenging. Like so many people, my spirit is fraught and frustrated by the ugly tumult taking place in Washington yet I can’t look away. More than ever, I find myself searching for glimmers of hope, integrity, possibility.
Waking up to a cloudy October morning, I purposely treated myself to a quiet, restful day, doing my best to tune out the travesty of the Kavanaugh confirmation. I headed first to where I usually turn for rejuvenation and reflection: a morning walk in nature.
While I typically walk in silence to fully savor the sounds around me, this morning I popped in my ear buds to continue listening to an episode of On Being with two of my favorite poets: Padraig O Tuama and Marilyn Nelson. Pure, nourishing soul food….
I recently discovered a new poem. One of the benefits of reading voraciously is that you are constantly learning, traveling, unearthing, sharing, exploring, questioning, wandering, growing, and discovering. And aren’t those some of the best bits of life? Some of the very actions that give us meaning and purpose?
Poet, performer, librettist, and professor Douglas Kearney read the poem in an online course I was taking (“Sharpened Visions: A Poetry Workshop” via Coursera), and I immediately fell in love with its exquisite colors and concrete images, simple–though anything but. I replayed Kearney’s reading of the poem several times that week and in so doing discovered another poet to enjoy and introduce to my students–Kearney himself.
And then I did the next obvious thing, the only possible choice….I cooked up a hot, steaming plate of beans and rice (tossing in cilantro, chunks of fresh garlic, and Sriracha for kicks) and devoured the delicious simplicity of the dish.
Enjoy this poem, and then go and cook up some beans and rice of your own to relish. It really doesn’t get much better, does it?
Hello! I am relishing a quiet, peaceful last morning of July here at home. I debated going to the beach, then thought I might run to Target and Wegman’s, stared glumly at the World Literature textbook I need to start re-reading and planning for September’s classes. In the end, the nicest choice won out: reading some poetry on my balcony and listening to the choir of birds chirping in-tune, out of tune, perching quickly on and off the railing to say hi.
Have you read Mary Oliver? She writes with such an observant, poignant, grateful eye. Take a look at this nugget from “Messenger”:
My work is loving the world./Here the sunflowers, there the hummingbird–/equal seekers of sweetness.
Ah, I love that. Imagine if we were all “equal seekers of sweetness”?
I can’t wait to see what sweet simple joys August brings. Thank you, July, and farewell.