This Wild Life

Damn. Read this:

The Summer Day
Mary Oliver

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?

Don’t those last two lines just knock your socks off? I came across them while listening to the audiiobook version of Wild, by Cheryl Strayed. Cheryl took control of her wild life. She placed her feet firmly on a path and dragged herself along until it all made sense. Then what did she do? I can’t tell exactly, but it seems she got married, had kids, and published a book that landed on Oprah’s list. Not bad.

So what do you plan to do with your one wild and precious life? What will I do with mine? I’m not sure yet, but here are a few ideas: love generously, work hard, and don’t be a jerk.


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