Friday, March 26, 2010

Nights Like These, I Want to Be the Speaker in a Mary Oliver Poem

I went to an art exhibit today centered around "the figure"--bold ceramic creations that stretched assumptions about the human body. While I was pondering this art, my hubby got the call; we'd been expecting it as budget cuts began to affect more folks we knew. In July, we will most likely be joining the 40 million+ Americans without health care coverage, due to his job being dropped to part-time.

Suddenly, the elephant in the room has actually learned to talk. The questions start bubbling: What about finishing school? What about possible future children? What about the world that we imagined? We know we're not alone in this questioning, and we also know that, as Americans, our lives will still be privileged on the worst of days. But funny how quickly the mind breaks away from the body in times like these, when it screams I'm in charge now! Even now, my cheeks are flushed, my shoulders hunched forward, my whole body heavy with "What nows?"

Last night's post subject seems a wee bit ironic in hindsight...As an artist, I am used to society either deeming the work I do as "not worthy of health insurance" or making it impossible for me to receive benefits by keeping me part-time (adjuncting, for instance).  I have also been down the road of catastrophic-only insurance plans...and spent more moola on unnecessary tests (needed due to stress, go figure!) than I ever plan to again.

So...I will not let this post become a rant, no worries. I will choose this new road as an opportunity to simplify my life even more, to connect mind + body into something stronger than fear.

Feel free to quote me these lines in the next few months. Unwelcome change can actually be what leads to a fuller life...We shall see. Now's the time to walk the talk. Now's the time to see what life has to offer vulnerability...

Glad I have the opening daffodils today--evidence that expected change can be lovely, bright; they're proof that we can't keep a season for long. So are poems:

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting--
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

"Wild Geese" by Mary Oliver


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  2. Becca,
    Annah and I are glad to have crossed paths with you and Michael in this unique part of a big planet. As you put it, miracles do happen every day.
    After reading about Michael's job, the idea of a failing economy seemed more hurtful and personal.
    When the financial world wanes, as it often does, there is a bit of cleansing that happens. Trite worries get washed away, and the roots of our existence are often exposed.
    The lessons my grandparent learned from the Great Depression, like reusing a piece of tinfoil are simple but profound. I have no doubt, these times will be times of growth for you two.
    Be well.
    Jim Korpi