During one Easter holiday I recall walking with the family in Sandyhills clutching a scrap of paper with this particular sentiment of trees saving me. We were walking beside a line of trees, quiet and attentive yet also indifferent, content with their creation and place in the world and that was what I needed then. On another break, this time in Morar on the North West coast, more Mary Oliver lines, this time from Wild Geese: 'You do not have to be good/You do not have to walk on your knees/for a hundred miles through the desert repenting'. This washed me for a fortnight. I don't imagine on either occasion I knew what I needed, but nevertheless this is what came.
Grace and perspective
We are about to go on holiday at the end of this week and I'm musing on the poems that have 'saved me', over holidays in particular. How has it come to this that out of nowhere poetry has been a primary vehicle for the grace of God in my life? Beats me! It seems to enable the leaving behind of things, of getting the perspective that is necessary.
One day it will be otherwise
Finally, a summer holiday in Plockton and the evenhandedness of Jane Kenyon’s poem Otherwisewhich pulled me out of a hole. I got out of bed on two strong legs. It might have been otherwise. I ate cereal, sweet milk, ripe, flawless peach. It might have been otherwise. I took the dog uphill to the birch wood. All morning I did the work I love. At noon I lay down with my mate. It might have been otherwise. We ate dinner together at a table with silver candlesticks. It might have been otherwise. I slept in a bed in a room with paintings on the walls, and planned another day just like this day. But one day, I know, it will be otherwise. And as I'm writing this blog I wonder what poem, if any, will heal me this holiday.