Wednesday, September 12, 2007


Sometimes it is hard to come to the computer to write because I don't have anything to say that is IMPORTANT. After all, I'm committing words to paper (screen) for all time and for many eyes, so shouldn't it be IMPORTANT?

But the last few days have been routine. And ROUTINE is not so bad. We had a birthday in the house, yes, and that was and was not out of the ordinary. A full house, a large family -- birthdays are comfortable & familiar, if not routine. I think there's something good to be said for the morning alarm, the balletic timing of school-morning breakfasts, the snippets of NPR on the way to work. Something wonderful and rejuvenating about autumn with its class schedules and coffee breaks.

Maybe ROUTINE has been good because Daniel's sugars have been mostly in range this week (except for the "save-all-my-carbs-for-birthday-ice cream" mistake). ROUTINE has Dominic learning new teachers, new subjects, new routines in grade 1 that exhaust him in ways that a day at the pool can't. ROUTINE even makes middle school bearable for Nora (but there are always jerks in middle school so I'm keeping my fingers crossed).

The routine turning of the year seems to have clicked over one notch away from summer and towards fall, and even the sky was celebrating the sudden change in the air with a riotous, colorful party for sunset. I went outside to pick a few late-summer peppers and tomatoes, and stopped to breathe it all in; the quiet moment in the neighborhood, the changing angles of light. Then the geese were overhead, announcing their southward flight path, calling for attention.

Mary Oliver is probably my favorite poet, she has a way of turning the ordinary into the magical. I have been thinking tonight about her poem, Wild Geese. It goes:

"You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting —
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things."

That's from her book Dream Work. And tonight, in a routine moment, I fell into a brief state of grace & beauty. Thanks in great part to Mary Oliver, to the raw poetry in the sound of geese, and to a much needed change of season.

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