Some place distant as this morning



I’m back after many months of not blogging, for a whole variety of reasons. There was life before blogs and there’s life after and for some reason, I lost the habit I had for a while in between of writing ephemeral mini-essays atttempting to connect daily life with a poem.  And for some reason, I’m inspired, today, to come back to the practice. One I enjoy, I seem to remember.

And how I’ve enjoyed today!  After a lot of screen time this week, I came home after some morning errands, and was struck by how warm it was. Not just ‘mild for the time of year’ but turn-your-face-to-the-sun-and-breathe-deeply warm.  So, I thought I’d do a bit of gardening, tackle a buddleia that was shooting skyward and remove some of the blanket of ivy creeping over the front wall and down towards the house. A robin kept me company only an arms length away and the ivy was busy with bees.

The volume of foliage was bigger than I expected so that meant a trip to the recycling centre. It was quiet so a worker there helped me unload and he too stood smiling with his face turned up to the sun.

When I got home, it was time to switch on the computer but I didn’t.  It seemed a pity, while it’s dry, not to cut the grass again before winter comes, which meant raking leaves and fixing the cable, and the rhythmic pushing and pulling across long, lush grass, this time accompanied by the blackbirds who live at close quarters. I’m ambivalent about gardening and partially agree with whoever called it ‘housework outdoors’ but today, perhaps because it was unplanned and I felt such intimacy with the creatures sharing this suburban plot, it was pure pleasure.


The simple phrase ‘winter sunlight’ echoed for me today. It’s in a poem I love and often share with groups, about gratitude, aging, tranquility and what might lie beyond (silence, for the speaker in this poem) – Elaine Feinstein’s Getting Older.

Another, a longer extract this time, kept coming back to me, from Tony Hoagland’s The Word:

as if you had a friend

and sunlight were a present
he had sent from someplace distant
as this morning—to cheer you up …

And finally, a question in Mary Oliver’s The Summer Day,  – on a line all on its own – emphatic and challenging – Tell me what else should I have done?

Off now to open the email inbox which no doubt will have some clues as to how else I could have spent today.