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Monday, January 9, 2012

The Journey by Mary Oliver


The Journey

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice --
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
"Mend my life!"
each voice cried.
But you didn't stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do --
determined to save
the only life you could save. 
 
~ Mary Oliver ~
 

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Sometimes I wonder where my thoughts and actions originate from, but then I console myself by remembering that my parents were from different planets. It’s a wonder their children, including myself, didn’t grow up to have personality defects. Well, the others do, but I’m perfect. 
Wish I could be a fly on the wall, if & when, any of them read this post. 
What fun that would be…or maybe not. We get along, but in my humble opinion, we constantly look at each other, shake our heads, and think, “What the hell?”
            Our mother was raised in a small home with five brothers & sisters. Her parents, farmers, were first Quakers, and then Evangelical Christian. Our father, on the other hand, was born in a small apartment above a pool hall, bar and liquor store that his parents owned. Pa was an entrepreneur and an ass kicker from the get go. Gram was somewhat quieter and unlike Pa, refrained from profanities, but it was best not to get in her way, especially if she was riding her horse. I have written half of a novel about Pa and Gram, but at 500 pages, it will have to become two books. My other grandparents were kind & loving people, but not near as exciting.
            So, with that in mind I'll share a few of my life experiences in my posts. 
As a child, I loved to climb.  My first climbing memories were of circling all rooms without ever touching the floor. Besides climbing up the sides of doorways, one would usually fine me on top of cupboards, cabinets, and even refrigerators.  In my mind, snakes or alligators crawled in masses below. 
A kind uncle once said to me, “You never learned to walk.”
Indignant, even at three, I said, “Es I did.”
“Nope,” he said. “You only learned to run and climb.”
                                                         Barn Climbing
I'm reminded of one climbing incident often due to a  large round scar. Our family lived on a ranch/farm in Colorado, and at one time we had a tall red barn. My kittens, I had 26 at one time, would crawl half way up the loft arches on the inside of this building. To rescue them from falling, I’d often climb up the sides after them.
One time, when I was five, I did just that and soon realized, as I clutched the barn support sides with both my hands and bare feet, that I was no longer vertical, but at a dangerous angle to the floor of the  loft. I screamed for help for a few minutes, but realized that my mother, the only person home, could not save me because she was frightened of heights. So, I tried to climb down. I fell, but did not reach the hay below. Pain riveted in my right thigh. A large barn nail had penetrated deeply into my leg. I was literally hanging from a nail, twenty feet off the floor. I heard a vehicle drive into our yard. I screamed louder than ever. One of our farm hands ran up the stairs to the loft and saw me there. He grabbed a ladder and rescued me. My mother cleaned out the wound then spanked my bottom and warned me to never climb in that barn again. But I did…someone had to save the kittens.