A better load


A friend emailed me saying she was feeling a bit overwhelmed.  Her new book was out, a big launch party was planned and there were all the routine pressures of daily life.  I’ve had a similar feeling this past few months.  It’s been around 12 weeks since I last posted – a period almost book-ended by the Equinox and the just-past Solstice.  I have been here, there and everywhere, internally and externally, in my imagination and out into the world.  There’s been a lot of flowering and coming to fruition recently – the little posy above is a tiny representation of my only just under control garden.

I’ve had a sense that I’m not doing things as well as I could, that I’m always rushing but along with that, a feeling of exhilaration and excitement.

The poem that always comes to mind at such times is Robert Frost’s The Armful or look here for another version of The Armful …  how curious – one is a line shorter and has omitted what for me is one of the cruxes of the poem ‘hand and mind/ And heart, if need be,’.  I’ve just checked my Penguin Selected Poems and The Armful doesn’t feature.  Can anyone else locate the poem in print?

This is a wonderful extended metaphor about life, not just struggles to keep everything together, but also the impossibility of doing so.  The word ‘try’ in the last line strikes me as typical of Robert Frost in that it somehow debunks the whole of the rest of the poem.

Yes, it’s impossible to ‘stack things in a better load’.  One of the things that I’ve been discovering more of is the importance of sitting with paradoxes.  A Zen koan says that you should sit for an hour every day, unless you are too busy, in which case it should be two.  Meditation is one thing that’s carrying me along with all my tumbling parcels and it’s what I’m heading off to do now.