What’s the plan

Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?
~ Mary Oliver

June 22, 2022

I don’t know about you, but the events of the past weeks have cranked up my attention-deficit tendencies as my brains thinks “I need to work on that issue which affects this and this issue, and then there’s this other issue which is also connected to this that and the other issue, but they’re all so so important and need immediate attention, so where to focus?”

And that’s how they want it. They’ve intentionally created chaos and hardship in order to grind us down. A whack-a-mole world in which we’re forced to constantly swing our mallets at the problems, diluting our energies and coating us in a thick layer of despair. (Brace yourselves for an upcoming SCOTUS opinion on the EPA and the end of environmental regulations.)

But, as Mariame Kaba says “Let this radicalize you rather than lead you to despair.” [Note: one of the best books I’ve read, ever, is Kaba’s We Do This ‘Til We Free Us]. And as for my ADD thoughts about where to put my efforts, I found this Twitter thread immensely helpful:

The gist is: keep on doing what you’re doing PLUS be intentional about strengthening ties with other organizations/efforts to create more collaboration. Build on what you’re already doing.

Personally, my current plan is to continue revising my middle grade novel that’s a friendship story set against a backdrop of PIC abolition and restorative justice. Doing that work helps me avoid despair. Creativity has always brought me peace and balance, so add a pinch of radicalism in the content plus weave in some of what I’m continuing to learn, and I’m (currently) feeling solid re my focus in this one wild and precious life.

Please, reach out if you think your efforts/interests might align so that together we can build something bigger and stronger. ☀️

Thankful Thursday: Mary Oliver edition

Today I’m grateful for Mary Oliver who created accessible poems that were simultaneously simple and profound. Here’s one of my favorites from American Primitive.

Like large dark
butterflies they sweep over
the glades looking
for death,
to eat it,
to make it vanish,
to make of it the miracle:
resurrection. No one
knows how many
they are who daily
minister so to the grassy
miles, no one
counts how many bodies
they discover
and descend to, demonstrating
each time the earth’s
appetite, the unending
waterfalls of change.
No one,
wants to ponder it,
how it will be
to feel the blood cool,
shapeliness dissolve.
Locked into
the blaze of our own bodies
we watch them
wheeling and drifting, we
honor them and we
loathe them,
however wise the doctrine,
however magnificent the cycles,
however ultimately sweet
the huddle of death to fuel
those powerful wings.


Image from Pixabay.com

Rest in beauty, Mary.

Poem: Egrets by Mary Oliver

Poetry intimidates me so I usually avoid it.  But my sister insisted I’d appreciate Mary Oliver’s poems.  And I do.  Especially this one since right now I’m missing all those amazing birds I saw everywhere in Florida.  The very last, um, stanza? (calling[info]kellyrfineman) gets me where I live.

by Mary Oliver

Where the path closed

 down and over,

   through the scumbled leaves,

     fallen branches,

through the knotted catbrier,

  I kept going.  Finally

    I could not

      save my arms

        from thorns; soon

the mosquitoes

  smelled me, hot

    and wounded, and came

      wheeling and whining.

        And that’s how I came

to the edge of the pond:

  black and empty

    except for a spindle

      of bleached reeds

at the far shore

  which, as I looked,

    wrinkled suddenly

      into three egrets – – –

a shower

  of white fire!

    Even half-asleep they had

      such faith in the world

that had made them – – –

  tilting through the water,

    unruffled, sure,

      by the laws

of their faith not logic,

  they opened their wings

    softly and stepped

      over every dark thing.