The Hope of Myself

I’ve been gone from this space such a long time, have found it impossible to make this work a priority among all the pressing needs and obligations around me. I feel like Exhibit A in a dissertation on Feminist Study, the difficulty- still, after all these decades- for a woman to find space for creative work when the millenia-old needs of home, family, relationships clamour for her energy. Or, maybe, I simply have not learned the basic skills of managing time, remaining disciplined, commitment to the craft. Maybe my Feminist Martyr theories are just another excuse for not sitting down and doing the hard work of “butt in chair”, as Anne Lamott eloquently puts it.

I’m not claiming to be back now either, unfortunately. The small stretches of time that I do find have been and will be devoted to polishing manuscripts, preparing for writers’ workshops this summer. It’s important and creative work, but it doesn’t make for good blog posts, doesn’t produce anything new. So this morning all I have to offer is this poem by dear Mary O. Although I don’t claim to approach the brilliance of her writing, the words and thoughts of this poem may be the closest thing I’ve read by another poet to the words in my own brain. These lines feel borrowed from my own soul…

When I Am Among the Trees

When I am among the trees,
especially the willows and the honey locust,
equally the beech, the oaks and the pines,
they give off such hints of gladness,
I would almost say that they save me, and daily.

I am so distant from the hope of myself,
in which I have goodness, and discernment,
and never hurry through the world
but walk slowly, and bow often.

Around me the trees stir in their leaves
and call out, “Stay awhile.”
The light flows from their branches.

And they call again, “It’s simple,” they say,
“and you too have come
into the world to do this, to go easy, to be filled
with light, and to shine.”

~ Mary Oliver ~