Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Lost Trousers, Erasers and Wild Geese

picture of Philadelphia taken with my iPhone using instagram

My walk from the train station to work in the morning is always an interesting experience. Sometimes I see homeless people gathering together to talk and brush eachother's hair in the grass. Sometimes I get honked at by cars passing by because I look like I am soliciting my body as I peel off layers of extra clothing that I had to put on to ride the Coldest Train in America. Other times I jam out to my Hannah Montana radio station on Pandora... wow, did I just admit that on the world wide web? Yep. Sometimes I find things like men's trousers dangling in the trees along the sidewalk... ? (Somewhere there is a man walking around without his trousers! Poor guy.) And other times I am stopped by images so gorgeous such as this one above that I have to smile to myself. I like how in this picture it sort of looks like an upside down world with the reflections of the buildings in the Schuylkill River. I also like how the green of the grass and the silvery grey of the water pop out against the industrial and bleak horizon, almost as if under the bridge there is a secret garden world full of bright colors and chirping birds and magical mirror waters.

I want to share this poem with you because I was having a pretty bad couple of days and reading this poem somehow smudged out all the icky feelings for a moment - like a giant eraser. (True story: I love the way erasers feel on my fingers!!!!!!!!!!)

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.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting--
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

- Mary Oliver

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