• David Carlson

567 It was what I was born for - to look, to listen, to lose myself

Day 567 Sunday, October 3, 2021

It was what I was born for —

to look, to listen,


to lose myself

inside this soft world —

to instruct myself

over and over




Yesterday I tried to catch a sick, feral cat with a neighbor's trap. The cat has been hiding under our deck and we thought we could take it to the animal shelter and have it fixed and treated. Instead, we caught a beautiful, very healthy, terrified skunk. A surprise for both of us. I opened the trap and the sleek little animal skittered away to a place under our deck. So be it. No more traps!


We have received so many blessings in our lives. The shiny skunk so perfectly created and delightful to the eye. Then comes the powerful odor that spreads through the whole house and brings tears to our eyes. A perfect metaphor for our struggles, disappointments, sadness, and grief. Beauty followed inevitably by chaos. Chaos leading to beauty. The lesson for me is that you can't have the skunk without the tears.


As we said in our retreat last month, life grows around us and within us. The Spirit carries us on. There are glimmers of amazement that make our spirits dance. Here's a poem that helps me open my eyes to the possibilities of wonder.




Everyday

I see or hear

something

that more or less


kills me

with delight,

that leaves me

like a needle


in the haystack

of light.

It was what I was born for —

to look, to listen,


to lose myself

inside this soft world —

to instruct myself

over and over



in joy,

and acclamation.

Nor am I talking

about the exceptional,


the fearful, the dreadful,

the very extravagant —

but of the ordinary,

the common, the very drab,


the daily presentations.

Oh, good scholar,

I say to myself,

how can you help


but grow wise

with such teachings

as these —

the untrimmable light


of the world,

the ocean’s shine,

the prayers that are made

out of grass?


“Mindful” by Mary Oliver from Why I Wake Early. © Beacon Press, 2005.

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