All week, I’ve had that ominous feeling that I need to be somewhere, doing something, achieving, excelling, exceeding, exciting…and I’m not. The rush of the river, the crazy dreams, the ennui for college. BLARGH!!!
The voice in my head (singular!) is telling me that I need to be DOING GREAT THINGS but the voice that comes out of my kid tells me that I need to be finding some oyster crackers for snack and hey this milk smells funny. The voice in my heart shouts “SOAR!” but the voice in my checkbook says, “Get back to work, slack ass!”
Maybe this is what animals feel when it’s time to migrate. Whether it’s the length of the daylight or smells on the wind or the variance of the magnetic fields of the earth, something tells that bird that it’s time to GO. Something also tells that bird to STOP. That they have found a safe place, they will be warm for the winter, there will be enough food for everyone. Stop your honking and RELAX, forcrissakes.
When I get like this, I read Mary Oliver’s poem “Wild Geese” out loud to myself until I can hear the world “announcing my place in the family of things.” Read this out loud to yourself today, even if it’s mumbled under your breath behind a cubicle wall.
~ Mary Oliver ~
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.