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,
call 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
I thought I would start a new series this week called Spark Points. A spark is that moment when an idea forms, when inspiration strikes. Often these come when one’s senses are engaged by something new, like a gorgeous photograph, an astounding piece of music, or a simple poem. Each time there’s a spark point post, I’ll try to include something to read, something to see, and something to hear.
Today the spark point is nature.
I grew up in the sleepy town of Lynnwood, Wash. It’s about 10 minutes north of Seattle, and there is nothing particularly special about it. Nature is visible in Lynnwood, but its the kind of nature I took for granted––pine trees, walking trails, parks, flowers. Having nature everywhere was just one of the many blessings of living in the Pacific Northwest.
I was often in Seattle for choir or field trips, and the concrete was always more apparent. I took notice of the nature around me when I was in Seattle because it was not as visible. Seattle has many of the same features as Lynnwood, with lots of parks and trees. But when the skyscrapers enclose you and the only open space is the sky above, trees matter.
So, I try to have flowers in my home, take walks in the park, and go out to Glacier Rock as often as I can. I’m thankful to attend a school where the groundskeepers work hard to make the natural beauty of the campus even more apparent, even if it is mostly cultivated rather than truly natural. And I try to literally stop and smell the roses (or peonies) as they begin to bloom.
Thanks for stopping by.
Featured photo taken by me as we drove over the Columbia River from eastern Oregon to Washington last summer. All photos edited in Adobe Photoshop Elements.
[Note for Dr. H: I’m not sure how you feel about blog series, but they help me organize my thoughts and ideas.}
See comments on third and final photo post.