I walked, all one spring day, upstream…

“I walked, all one spring day, upstream, sometimes in the midst of the ripples, sometimes along the shore. My company were violets, Dutchman’s breeches, spring beauties, trilliums, bloodroot, ferns rising so curled one could feel the upward push of the delicate hairs upon their bodies. My parents were downstream, not far away, then farther away because I was walking the wrong way, upstream instead of downstream. Finally I was advertised on the hot-line of help, and yet there I was, slopping along happily in the stream’s coolness. So maybe it was the right way after all. If this was lost, let us all be lost always. The beech leaves were just slipping their copper coats; pale green and quivering they arrived into the year. My heart opened, and opened again. The water pushed against my effort, then its glassy permission to step ahead touched my ankles. The sense of going toward the source.

I do not think that I ever, in fact, returned home.”

~ from Upstream by Mary Oliver

Advice to Beginners

Begin.  Keep on beginning.  Nibble on everything.  Take a hike.  Teach yourself to whistle.  Lie.  The older you get the more they’ll want your stories.  Make them up.  Talk to stones.  Short-out electric fences.  Swim with the sea turtle into the moon.  Learn how to die.  Eat moonshine pie.  Drink wild geranium tea.  Run naked in the rain.  Everything that happens will happen and none of us will be safe from it.  Pull up anchors.  Sit close to the god of night.  Lie still in a stream and breathe the water.  Climb to the top of the highest tree until you come to the branch where the blue heron sleeps.  Eat poems for breakfast.  Wear them on your forehead.  Lick the mountain’s bare shoulder.  Measure the color of days around your mother’s death.  Put your hands over your face and listen to what they tell you.

~~ Ellen Kort ~~

Get a life…

“Get a life in which you notice the smell of salt water pushing itself on a breeze at the seaside, a life in which you stop and watch how a red-tailed hawk circles over the water, or the way a baby scowls with concentration when she tries to pick up a sweet with her thumb and first finger.

Get a life in which you are not alone. Find people you love, and who love you. And remember that love is not leisure, it is work. Send an email. Write a letter. Get a life in which you are generous. And realize that life is the best thing ever, and that you have no business taking it for granted…

It is so easy to waste our lives, our days, our hours, our minutes. It is so easy to take for granted the color of the azaleas, the sheen of the limestone on Fifth Avenue, the color of our kids’ eyes, the way the melody in a symphony rises and falls and disappears and rises again. It is so easy to exist instead of live.

I learned to live many years ago. I learned to love the journey, not the destination. I learned that it is not a dress rehearsal, and that today is the only guarantee you get. I learned to look at all the good in the world and to try to give some of it back because I believed in it completely and utterly.

And I tried to do that, in part, by telling others what I had learned. By telling them this: Consider the lilies of the field. Look at the fuzz on a baby’s ear. Read in the backyard with the sun on your face. Learn to be happy. And think of life as a terminal illness because if you do, you will live it with joy and passion, as it ought to be lived.”

~~ Anna Quindlen ~~

Every Day

My hundred year old next door neighbor told me:
Every day is a good day if you have it.
I had to think about that a minute.
She said, Every day is a present someone left at the table.
Trust me!  It may not feel like that
but it’s true.  When you’re my age
you’ll know.  Twelve is a treasure.
And it’s up to you
to unwrap the package gently,
lift out the gleaming hours
wrapped in tissue,
don’t miss the bottom of the box.
~~ Naomi Shihab Nye ~~

Turns out that we are all struggling…

“Turns out that we are all struggling along, trying to make sense of the way things are and to become the people we are meant to be. We are all making an effort to be more present in our lives, to love our children just as they are, to appreciate life’s simple pleasures, and to be grateful for every ordinary moment of every ordinary day.

What we know, of course, is the very thing that we continually need to be reminded of: that life is fleeting and precious and beautiful, and that heaven is right here on earth if we will only pause long enough to really look, to really see: the cup of hot coffee, the tousled head, the wagging tail, the small hand held up in greeting, the curve of a chin, the blinked back tear, the sun, the moon, the star… the very life that we are blessed to live.” ~ Katrina Kenison