living spontaneously

Occasionally I have these sit-up-and-listen-to-the-urge moments where I do the aforementioned. These moments come at random times, when I least expect it to spring up on me, and it's funny how I am getting better at indulging myself. I have this fear that as I grow older I may become boring or sedate or have a routine or laugh less or dance less or sing less or eat fiber all the time. So, I try and embrace my spontaneous moments, whether they be dancing around my room alone; or getting in the car at 1am and driving up and down Woodward Avenue on a hot summer night, listening to oldies with the windows down, just wondering where I will be in five years, in five minutes! (I did this a lot when I was in my last two years of undergrad).

Yesterday after work I was lying on my bed, just staring at my bookshelf and marveling at the fact that all of these authors felt and wrote of things that so touch and inspire so many people; thinking about the universality of their gifts. For whatever reason in that moment of connectedness I jumped up and grabbed Mary Oliver off the shelf and thumbed through until I found a poem that spoke to something inside me. I can't even explain to myself what possessed me to grab my jacket and hat, grab the book and get into my car. I picked TSO up at work and told him that we needed to do something spontaneous. I was amazed that he willingly went along with it without too much trepidation, and he even managed to tolerate me as I blathered on and as my thoughts ran one hundred different directions as they do sometimes!

And we found ourselves at the Lake in town. I pulled off the road into the snowy parking lot and we got out and made out way to the snow covered lawn leading down to the snow covered sands. The lake is no different than most lakes, I suppose, but what I love about our Lake is the vista from the shore. A body of water with a little island out in the middle, the water curving around a jutting strip of land--curving forever back, unfolding like a map--with mountains in the background. And what made the Lake so different and special yesterday was the smoky, almost blue gray look of the mountains in the distance, the hushed iced-over water, which under the shroud of its snowy cover felt as though it could be anything. A desert perhaps, buried in white; artic waters; a white sanded beach. But we knew better.

We moved forward onto this empty beach and TSO remarked that he had never been here in the winter, and that made all the difference. Neither had I and it seems in those moments there is something sacred. And in whatever it was that had compelled me to embark on this days' strange journey I just knew that I wanted to hear the words of the poem aloud. So, I entrusted Mary Oliver to TSO and he began, reading the first page of the poem, handing me the book to read the second page. As he read I marvelled at the silent stillness over the blanketed water, as I read I paused to look up as though addressing the very Lake itself. And in the same fashion that the spontaneity began it ended, with a journey, this time back to the Farm.

The glorious poem:

"Pink Moon - the pond"

You think it will never happen again.
Then, one night in April,
the tribes wake trilling.
You walk down to the shore.
Your coming stills them,
but little by little the silence lifts
until song is everywhere
and your soul rises from your bones
and strides out over the water.
It is a crazy thing to do -
for no one can live like that,
floating around in the darkness
over the gauzy water.
Left on the shore your bones
keep shouting come back!
But your soul won't listen;
in the distance it is unfolding
like a pair of wings, it is sparking
like hot wires. So,
like a good friend,
you decide to follow.
You step off the shore
and plummet to your knees -
you slog forward to your thighs
and sink to your cheekbones -
and now you are caught
by the cold chains of the water -
you are vanishing while around you
the frogs continue to sing, driving
their music upward through your own throat,
not even noticing
you are something else.
And that's when it happens -
you see everything
through their eyes,
their joy, their necessity;
you wear their webbed fingers;
your throat swells.
And that's when you know
you will live whether you will or not,
one way or another,
because everything is everything else,
one long muscle.
It's no more mysterious than that.
So you relax, you don't fight it anymore,
the darkness coming down
called water,
called spring,
called the green leaf, called
a woman's body
as it turns into mud and leaves,
as it beats in its cage of water,
as it turns like a lonely spindle
in the moonlight, as it says
yes.

~ Mary Oliver

Comments

gposhadlo said…
nice post. You described something that happens to me often but I scarcely have the words for, other than perhaps, "eccentricity"

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