Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Blogger Goes to Illinois

Last Saturday, I drove to the Chicago Temple, in Glenview Illinois. Traffic was light, and it was a beautiful day. The trees along the highway were mostly bare, but every now and then I saw patches of yellow: daffodils? ground cover?

In one wet area, I saw lots of white birds, gulls, or pigeons, I supposed. Then I saw a lone bird flying by - a crane! (It's neck was bent, so does that make it a heron? But it was white - can herons be white?)

Every now and then, I saw a tree with spring leaves just starting to appear; I love the halo of green that spreads as the leaves start to unfurl. Out of nowhere, there was one tree, standing on its own, brilliant with green. It looked like the sort of tree a child would draw: a round green shape stuck on a tree trunk. It was wonderful!

Then I caught sight of deer, grazing among trees by the road - I counted 2, then 3 and 4, before I sped past. Just seeing them gave me an inordinate sense of happiness. I almost felt silly, but then I remembered a Mary Oliver poem, recounting moments with nature that had given her joy. Her experieneces were more personal, whereas mine were viewed from a distance, but: I take joy where I find it.

The Poet Goes to Indiana
by Mary Oliver
I'll tell you a half-dozen things
that happened to me
in Indiana
when I went that far west to teach.
You tell me if it was worth it.

I lived in the country
with my dog—
part of the bargain of coming.
And there was a pond
with fish from, I think, China.
I felt them sometimes against my feet.
Also, they crept out of the pond, along its edges,
to eat the grass.
I'm not lying.
And I saw coyotes,
two of them, at dawn, running over the seemingly
unenclosed fields.
And once a deer, but a buck, thick-necked, leaped
into the road just-oh, I mean just, in front of my car—
and we both made it home safe.
And once the blacksmith came to care for the four horses,
or the three horses that belonged to the owner of the house,
and I bargained with him, if I could catch the fourth,
he, too, would have hooves trimmed
for the Indiana winter,
and apples did it,
and a rope over the neck did it,
so I won something wonderful;
and there was, one morning,
an owl
flying, oh pale angel, into
the hay loft of a barn,
I see it still;
and there was once, oh wonderful,
a new horse in the pasture,
a tall, slim being-a neighbor was keeping her there—
and she put her face against my face,
put her muzzle, her nostrils, soft as violets,
against my mouth and my nose, and breathed me,
to see who I was,
a long quiet minute-minutes—
then she stamped feet and whisked tail
and danced deliciously into the grass away, and came back.
She was saying, so plainly, that I was good, or good enough.
Such a fine time I had teaching in Indiana.

blue sky & hyacinths

close-up of hyacinths - did you know
that hyancinth may also refer to a species
 of parrot, the hyacinth macaw?
a contented sleeping pup never fails to steal my heart

1 comment:

  1. Lovely poem. As I read about the poet's encounter with the owl, I thought of the eagles we saw in Southern Utah last week. Very cool.

    And reading your account of the halo of unfurling leaves, I thought of the ferns coming up in my flower beds. They sprout hunched over and then slowly green, then straighten, then leaf out. Also very cool.