I’m catching up on photos from this glorious month, and I’m going to let Mary Oliver do the talking tonight . . .
In Blackwater Woods
By Mary Oliver
Look, the trees
their own bodies
are giving off the rich
fragrance of cinnamon
and long tapers
are bursting and floating away over
the blue shoulders
of the ponds,
and every pond,
no matter what its
name is, is
I have ever learned
in my lifetime
leads back to this: the fires
and the black river of loss
whose other side
none of us will ever know.
To live in this world
you must be able
to do three things:
to love what is mortal;
to hold it
against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it go,
to let it go.
I’ve shared this poem before, haven’t I? Here it is, again.
How it stands out against the darkenings
of the rainy evening, young and pure,
its tendrils arched everywhere in givingness
yet absorbed in its own rose-being;
the shallow flowers, already open here and there,
each unasked for and untended:
thus, immeasurably exceeded by itself
and indescribably self-aroused,
it calls to the wander, who in his evening
meditating comes past along the road:
Oh look at me, see, over here, how safe I am
and unprotected and having all I need.
— Rainer Maria Rilke
Ich bin, du Ängstlichen, Horst du mich nicht
I am, you Anxious one.
Don’t you sense me, ready to break
into being at your touch?
My mumurings surround you like shadowy wings.
Can’t you see me standing before you
cloaked in stillness?
Hasn’t my longing ripened in you
from the beginning
as fruit ripens on a branch?
I am the dream you are dreaming.
When you want to awaken, I am that wanting:
I grow strong in the beauty you behold.
And with the silence of stars I enfold
your cities made by time.
— Rilke’s Book of Hours
. . . Poetry arrived in search of me.
I don’t know, I don’t know where it came from,
from winter or a river.
I don’t know how or when. . .
— Pablo Neruda
“In this universe we are given two gifts: the ability to love, and the ability to ask questions. Which are, at the same time, the fires that warm us and the fires that scorch us.”
— Mary Oliver: Upstream
We’ve gathered around for our annual Calendula Salve making this afternoon!
This year we’re making lip balm with petals we’ve been soaking in olive oil since the end of the summer. The magic of summer sunshine preserved as golden goodness pulls us all into the kitchen. Each year the girls do more and more on their own. I find myself mostly watching and soaking up the wonder of this messy, rich process.
“I salute you!
There is nothing I can give you which you have not; but there is much, that, while I cannot give, you can take.
No heaven can come to us unless our hearts find rest in it today.
No peace lies in the future, which is not hidden in this present instant.
The gloom of the world is but a shadow; behind it, yet, within our reach, is joy.
And so, at this Christmas time, I greet you, with the prayer that for you, now and forever, the day breaks and the shadows flee away.”
— Fra Giovanni, AD 1513 (Take Joy! The Tasha Tudor Christmas Book)
Rilke’s famous words to a 19-year-old poet in 1903:
“I want to beg you, as much as I can, dear sir, to be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves like locked rooms and like books that are written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.”
“In a milkweed cradle,
all snug and warm,
tiny seeds are hiding,
safe from harm.
Open up your wings now,
unto the sky.
Come Mister Wind,
help them fly!”
— Traditional Waldorf Circle Song
“It’s on the strength of observation and reflection that one finds a way. So we must dig and delve unceasingly.” — Claude Monet
Watching my children — really paying attention to them at play — is one of my greatest joys.
I’m listening to May Erlewine’s newly released album “Mother Lion.” It’s amazing. I could listen to it over and over again.
“I want the dawn to break me open.
I want to breathe and be unbroken.
I want it to take a while.
I want to be wild.”
I love how May sings through the contradictions and vulnerabilities that we live with every day. Thank you for putting your music into the world, May.