On the first day of summer

Summer Fling, Suzanne McDermott, Watercolor, 9 x 12 inches

It felt like I frittered the day away.

All morning was socked in by cool, grey mist. I opened the windows to let the wet air through on a slight breeze. All I can remember after that was turning in small circles, picking up this, moving that, organizing a bit of one thing, washing something else.

Even Tallulah, released for her daily constitutional, turned in little circles not far from the front door, then ran inside, startled by a far off neighbor.

When I finally took my own walk, it started to rain as I'd reached about the farthest point away from my house. Walking through the rain was refreshing and an added delight.

It's summer now and time to take things as easy as we can.

The Summer Day

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean—
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down—
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what 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 is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

—Mary Oliver

Copyright @ 1990 by Mary Oliver. First published in House of Light, Beacon Press. Reprinted in The Truro Bear and Other Adventures: Poems and Essays, Beacon Press.


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