Softest of mornings, hello.
And what will you do today, I wonder,
to my heart?
And how much honey can the heart stand, I wonder,
before it must break?
This is trivial, or nothing: a snail
climbing a trellis of leaves
and the blue trumpets of flowers.
No doubt clocks are ticking loudly
all over the world.
I don't hear them. The snail's pale horns
extend and wave this way and that
as her fingers-body shuffles forward, leaving behind
the silvery path of her slime.
Oh, softest of mornings, how shall I break this?
How shall I move away from the snail, and the flowers?
How shall I go on, with my introspective and ambitious life?
As I was paging through books looking for a poem for this Mary Oliver Monday I was struck by this one. And not because it speaks to my experience, as is usually the case with what I usually write about; rather because this morning I hear the clock ticking so I haven't been looking at the leaves.
Instead of my normal oozing into the soft morning, today I jumped out of bed, barely glancing out the window and that only to see if it was raining yet, before making coffee and making my bed (in that order) so I could be at my desk and get an early start on work. Maybe it's the charged air brought about by the approaching storm that has me humming and vibrating and active this morning. Maybe it's the energy behind some work projects that I want to hold onto and perpetuate this week. Or maybe it's just the knowledge that the pages of my "to do" notebook are filling up faster than things are being crossed out. Whatever it is, my focus this morning has been on my desk, not on the world outside my window.
And that got me to thinking about awareness and gratitude.
A friend and I were talking about this subject last week. We'd both been in dark places recently and were sharing how we could to stop ourselves from sliding back down that slippery slope of self-pity and woe that often ends with a canonball into the pit of despair. He said that he has come to realize that lack of gratitude leads to those dark places. If he holds in one hand something as simple as the blessing of sight and all that comes along with that, it far outweighs any misery he might be tempted to hold onto with the other. Opening his eyes for a moment of awareness and gratitude each day have become essential for him.