I was walking again
in the woods,
a yellow light
was sifting all I saw.
with a cold heart,
I took a stick,
lifted it to the opposite side
of the path.
There, I said to myself,
that’s done now.
Brushing one hand against the other,
to clean them
of the tiny fragments of bark.
Jane Hirshfield, Changing Everything
No one escapes the wilderness on the way to the promised land
Could it be in longing we are most ourselves?
[Even some] lovely people feel that their real identity is working on themselves, and some work on themselves with such harshness. Like a demented gardener who won’t let the soil settle for anything to grow, they keep raking, tearing away the nurturing clay from their own heart, then they’re surprised that they feel so empty and vacant. Self-compassion is paramount. When you are compassionate with yourself, you trust in your soul, which you let guide your life. Your soul knows the geography of your destiny better than you do.
John O’Donoghue, Anam Chara
The first of three poems by Mary Oliver as the seasons change…
Well, there is time left —
fields everywhere invite you into them.
And who will care, who will chide you if you wander away
from wherever you are, to look for your soul?
Quickly, then, get up, put on your coat, leave your desk!
Mary Oliver, Have You Ever Tried to Enter the Long Black Branches? (extract)
What is this message that wild animals bring, the message that seems to say everything and nothing? What is this message that is wordless, that is nothing more or less than the animals themselves- that the world is wild, that life is unpredictable in its goodness and its danger, that the world is larger than your imagination.
Rebecca Solnit, A Field Guide to Getting lost