Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Mary Oliver's poetry: Mindful

I recently discovered Mary Oliver's poetry, thanks to Parker Palmer (one of my heroes). Palmer says about this poem:

 It takes no special talent to look around our world and point out things that are numbing, depressing, or death-dealing. But becoming keenly and consistently aware of what's good, true, and beautiful demands a discipline: we must open our eyes, minds and hearts, and keep them open.

This poem grabbed me today, because I feel I am, indeed, looking around, being mindful of all the ordinary things that delight me about home: the stained glass angel in the front door, Finn and Harris standing on the back of the chair in the front room to greet me home, the closeness of  snowy mountains in the sun as I drove out to Hato Paora yesterday (and the fact that the mountains had completely disappeared when I left at twilight), the love of my extended family, every day rituals, my students laughing in class, the particular brightness of Aotearoa New Zealand. I live in a beautiful place - and have lived in a beautiful place all my life, because the hills and dales of Derbyshire have their own beauty. It's good to think about this, to be attentive to it, as I head out to another beautiful place.

Getting ready

There's a lot happening in our family right now. We're getting ready for a trip to Vermont in less than two weeks, which involves a million tasks - work deadlines, packing up the house and getting the dogs in the right frame of mind for our house sitters, revising wills, updating insurance, setting up the house alarm, buying a new GPS system, digital piano, lawn mower, oh, and packing. But before that, just two days before we leave in fact, my lovely sister is getting married. Yesterday was spent, therefore, shopping with my mother for the perfect Mother of the Bride outfit. Mission accomplished, we celebrated with tea and a divine chocolate eclair at the local french cafe. You can see the smiles of relief.

A word about this blog. I know blogs are supposed to be artistic, poetic, insightful, profound. But it's likely this blog will be none of these things. This blog is a diary - of our trip and our adventures, and anything else that crops up. I'm writing it for anyone who might be interested in following our travels. If that's you, I hope you will enjoy this.