Friday, June 28, 2013

A time to every purpose ...

photo of summer field with clover
© harrington
Hi! Have you noticed that June is basically gone? One third of the Summer has slipped by. Have you enjoyed it or, like to many of us, have you spoiled your enjoyment by complaining about the clouds and the rain and the humidity and the ...? Over the past few days, as I've notice the way so much of the neighborhood has emerged into Summer's fecundity, with blossoms and blooms beginning to develop into seeds and fruit for Autumn's harvest, I've realized how many miracles I've taken for granted these past years. In six months, My Minnesota has transformed itself from frozen, frigid fields into warm terrain erupting with life. This evening, several does with their dappled fawns dashed across the back field; flocks of chrome yellow goldfinches exploded from the feeder as I pulled into the drive; scattered showers enriched the air with the smells of Summer. The more I've paid attention so I can share events with you in this blog, the more I've learned how much I normally miss of the daily and weekly changes that go on all around us. These changes occur as much and as often in the city as they do in the country. They're just not as obvious. An interesting, charming, delightful and informative urban nature exhibit is in place in Minneapolis. It's focused on how nature asserts itself in an urban place. I think we'd all be better off, and happier to boot, if we slowed down and paid more attention to what nature's up to wherever we are, urban, rural, in between and beyond. After all, we are each allotted only so many Summer days. Perhaps we should consider more carefully the questions Mary Oliver raises in

The Summer Day

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

from New and Selected Poems, 1992
Beacon Press, Boston, MA
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