Of What Surrounds Me
Whatever it is I am saying, I always
Need a leaf or a flower, if not an
Entire field. As for sky, I am wildly
In love with each day’s inventions, cool blue
Or cat gray or full
Of the ships of clouds, I simply can’t
Say whatever it is I am saying without
At least one skyful. That leaves water, a
Creek or a well, river or ocean, it has to be
There. For the heart to be there. For the pen
To be poised. For the idea to come.
This past week, the world lost a great poet. Mary Oliver wrote beautiful lines that transformed the world she saw and inspired those who read her work. As seen in the poem above, she wrote of nature; her deep connection with the natural world and the spirituality she felt when surrounded by it.
I am drawn to Mary’s poems as this is a sentiment I can deeply relate to. Being in nature is the best way I can think of to reconnect with my spiritual self. When surrounded by nature, I feel completely connected to the bigger picture, a higher place. It is said that time in nature can reset our biological clocks, and I wholeheartedly agree. Even just a short hike through the woods can leave me feeling more at peace, focused, and centered in all aspects of life. It’s hard to hold on to superficial worries when you are surrounded by the beauty of the earth. It also reminds me to slow down and enjoy the simple things.
And, as with Mary, nature is where I find most of my inspiration. Not that I typically write about nature, but time spent there draws forth a clarity in my ideas and triggers strong writing on a myriad of topics. When my mind is feeling clogged or overwhelmed, unable to reach that creative spark, a long hike in the mountains is sure to help find it. It is almost a matter of certainty that the second I get as far as possible from any computer, pen, paper, or other method of recording my thoughts, that is when I will come up with the perfect story idea, character description, or line of dialogue. And even if it is forgotten by the time I am able to write again, there is still an energy gained that encourages an inspired writing session or two.
So yesterday morning, while on a hike in the mountains, baby in the carrier, bright eyes taking in all that surrounded him, I thought of Mary. It was a beautiful day (the skies cleared from recent rain and a lush green covering everything), one she would have appreciated but, I’m sure, seen and described in a unique way. I tried to take in things in her poetic vision and brought that home for an afternoon of peace and writing (mixed in with a heavy dose of baby vomit). But we need that contrast! As Mary has shown us, it is in the contrast, with the gray, that we can find the purest beauty that nature has to offer.
And so, I will continue to enjoy inspiration from nature for all aspects of my life and keep Mary’s words always close at hand.
The Baking Challenge: Every weekend, my husband and I enjoy a breakfast of English muffins and coffee (or tea). We have found a particular brand of muffin which we have become quite fond of and it got me wondering if I could replicate it. So, this past Friday, I went about attempting my first ever batch of English muffins. A relatively simple dough and easy bake (totally doable with a fussy baby in the background). And while their appearance and taste were not exactly like those that we typically enjoy (mostly because the type we usually have are sourdough and I have yet to venture into the realm of sourdough starters), they were English muffins and quite good in their own right. I am truly enjoying this weekly scheduled time for baking. It’s me time and brings a focus to the day. I am quite happy to have found that this is something I can continue to do as the rest of my world has become rather altered.