I have decided that this summer, I will read at least one poem each and every day. I have decided that it doesn't have to be first thing when I awake or the last thing I do before bed. I am not prescribing when the time will be, only that each day I will make time.
This I have decided will be my little defiance against the language of hooks and barbs and angry tweets. This will be my intentional participation in a slow words movement (Is there such a thing? If not, there ought to be) where words are not just a way to shout or means of brokering transactions, but where words are seen as creative messengers and honored for their transcendent possibilities.
My poem for today was "Patience" by Mary Oliver. Now, truth be told, I felt quite impatient while I was reading it. It is rather long. I felt impatient and wanted to skip to the last few lines, because the last few lines of a Mary Oliver poem are always where she flings open the door. But I stayed with it. And when I was finished. I paused for a moment and then read it again.
One of the difficulties I believe we face in our time is that as a nation we seem to be strung so tightly. There is a quick fire reactivity about us all. News comes at us with lightning speed and we are expected to have a reaction and opinion about it all, in an instant. We live constantly at high alert, code red.
And while it is true we have many crises and many situations demand immediate attention, I am convinced that our ability to respond in ways that will truly resolve what we face will not come from our reactivity, but from our creativity.
And so I wonder, do you have something that you have decided to take up this summer? If not, could I invite you to consider taking up or recommitting yourself to something that will slow you down and open you up to something other than the angry clamor of our days? Something that will open you up to a spaciousness and beauty that may be the doorway to peace not just for ourselves but for our times?
"I say this
as I stand in the woods
and study the patterns
of the moon shadows,
or stroll down into the waters
that now, late summer, have also
caught the fever, and hardly move
from one eternity to another."
"Patience" by Mary Oliver