Columns share an author’s personal perspective and are often fact-based in newspaper reports.
The ospreys returned this month.
They were circling, screaming and staring high into the sky, searching for the nests they had left last year on the banks of the Westport River.
I got up and watched with my dad.
Day after day, the friends made their demands. Settled in nests of sticks, transported whole branches for repairs. Sit proud and watch as the tides rise and fall.
And I watched them hover in place, white wings arched in the wind, flapping high above the river, deciding whether or not to dive. (Hover and go forward.) Then like lightning! fish in greenhouses, skwyard to the sky over red maples. Peeping, twirling victorious, while below, the egret comes to rest in the swamp. Wild geese bleat in the tall grass and mute swans paddled far beyond the bend in the river.
I walk on this river. (“Tell me, what else should I have done?”) I know these trees. These birds make me dizzy every day.
I think of the late poet Mary Oliver. The Pulitzer Prize-winning and National Book Award-winning poet who drew poetry while walking on Cape Cod, notebook in hand, for 40 years.
“In my outward appearance and my lifestyle, I hardly change – there has never been a day that my friends couldn’t say, and from a distance,” There’s Oliver, still standing in the weeds, “she writes in her essay collection” Long Live. “” But, in the center: I’m shaking; I’m blinking like a garland.
Provincetown was his muse. SouthCoast can be yours.
“[I] go to my woods, my ponds, my sunny harbor, nothing more than a blue comma on the world map but, to me, the emblem of everything, ”Oliver wrote.
I like this. SouthCoast and Cape Cod, nothing more than a comma on the map, but the emblem of everything.
Stop and look around.
Because if Oliver left us a lesson, it is this: to notice is poetry.
It’s National Poetry Month and I want to pay tribute to the late great Oliver.
She didn’t just write poems, she noticed them.
The poems are dancing around you now.
Poems don’t live on a page. The poems live in this curious way, looking at you in wonder, head down, ears quivering, in your garden.
Poems breathe under the feet, in the crocuses, which know how to bloom, like a bouquet, on a pale gray April morning.
The poems live on the windy beach in patterns of sand drawn by the tides and gusts, in the waves of bagpipes and the ancient tide pulling.
Oliver’s words resonate with so many not because she was high-spirited – in fact, many critics called her popular – but because she speaks so simply.
I’m telling you: it’s a good thing.
Oliver saw poetry in periwinkle, moonlit scallop, beetle, whelk, moon snails, the way his dog ate a dead baby fawn, and calling his dog: face like a flower.
And the sun lets its wild, clawed light fall on everything.
If you know of a quote from Oliver, often turned into magnets and greeting cards, it’s probably, “Pay attention / Be amazed. “
She didn’t mean paying attention to the news or your bank account.
So, on this spring day, during National Poetry Month, maybe you are heading for a walk in the woods or the beach, maybe you just head to the corner store or you look out your front door.
Because there is nothing on this earth that lasts. Remember this. Remember how fleeting all this is.
This Milky Way is not eternal. It’s a click of the thumb.
You can play these human games, go around the Monopoly board, collect your paper tickets, build your plastic houses, but we are stardust. And these trees too. And the osprey too.
So I want to leave you with my favorite part of Oliver’s poem, “The Summer Day”. I can feel it in my bones. Maybe you will too. Read this out loud.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I know how to be careful, how to fall
in the grass, how to kneel in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to walk in the
fields, which I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me what are you gonna do
with your only wild and precious life?
Lauren Daley is a freelance writer and columnist. Contact her at [email protected] Follow her on https://www.facebook.com/daley.writer She tweets @ laurendaley1.