the morning of 9 november

“On Winter’s Margin”
– Mary Oliver

On winter’s margin, see the small birds now
With half-forged memories come flocking home
To gardens famous for their charity.
The green globe’s broken; vines like tangled veins
Hang at the entrance to the silent wood.

With half a loaf, I am the prince of crumbs;
By time snow’s down, the birds amassed will sing
Like children for their sire to walk abroad!
But what I love, is the gray stubborn hawk
Who floats alone beyond the frozen vines;
And what I dream of are the patient deer
Who stand on legs like reeds and drink the wind; –

They are what saves the world: who choose to grow
Thin to a starting point beyond this squalor.

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raptor on acadia mountain

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How could I expect (of course! undoubtedly!) the movements of a river to conform to the linear currents of my thoughts?

A river is. Flowing north here. Flowing south there. But don’t all things proceed, running with all their might, from their starts to their finishes?

When does the river say, “I may try flowing the other way today?”

Why am I so eager to see the end, always just over the curvature of the earth? When will I say, instead, “I may try flowing the other way today?”

IMAGE: Walkway over the Hudson, Poughkeepsie, NY

October Morning

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If this light is here for me to see, I should not stop until I have come to see it.

If it is not, I will silently remember how it folded itself in and around the turning leaves. How it debated with shadow on the merits of exposure or hiding. How it washed a chain link fence in pale yellow and creamy white. How it stealthily warmed the air lapping up against my face.

I am a monarch here, clothed in so many colors. If I should leave, my cloak follows me in rapt codas of autumn.

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I am grateful for this moment when my feet make contact with the ground.

The ground from where my flesh came and the ground to where it will return.

I know here that I am the stuff of ground – flesh is the place where dirt meets my spirit.

Creator of the Universe, thank you for the dirt of the earth that is the dirt of my bones that is the dirt of my blood that is the dirt of my brain and the dirt of my heart.

I am selfish to want more of this, but I don’t know how to stop.

IMAGE: Rockefeller State Preserve