Momentary Pastures


Fall Song

Another year gone, leaving everywhere

its rich spiced residues: vines, leaves,

the uneaten fruits crumbling damply

in the shadows, unmattering back

from the particular island

of this summer, this Now, that is now nowhere

except underfoot, moldering

in that black subterranean castle

of unobservable mysteries – roots and sealed seed

and the wandering of water. This

I try to remember when time’s measure

painfully chafes, for instance when autumn

flares out at the last, boisterous and like us longing

to stay – how everything lives, shifting

from one bright vision to another, forever

in these momentary pastures.

~Mary Oliver

I forget sometimes how therapeutic poetry can me.

A good therapist can distill a good many of their patient’s fears and longings and wonderings into one well-aimed sentence or question, one that pushes you back in your seat with a firm Aha!  A good poet, like a good therapist, crafts their words with the most economical impact. Their words become splashes of color on a canvas, pieces of fabric in a quilt, vital messages for the wounded, wondering spirit.

And so Mary Oliver offers me this wisdom today, reminds me that “everything lives, shifting from one bright vision to another, forever in these momentary pastures.”

I’m in love with my momentary pasture, with the bright blue of my sky, the energizing crispness in the air. I’m in love with my blue fleece sweater and my soft black yoga pants. I’m in love with clam chowder and the chunks of dark grainy bread I will dip into it.

I’m in love with my living these early days of fall, so SO grateful to be where I am, and with whom.

Sometimes, a good therapist need only show us our own “bright vision,” need only make clear that this life we are living is saturated with “riched spiced residues.”

And then, illuminated, we go forth into whatever season surrounds us, and live it.

One thought on “Momentary Pastures

  1. I do so like Mary Oliver’s poems, but I’ve contented myself with “finding” them here and there, rather than purchasing a collection. Somehow, the discovery adds to the power of her poetry. That doesn’t seems to be true with everyone.

    I enjoyed your musings, too. It seems as though your move was exactly right, and that you are living in the right place now.

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