Our fates entwined, I am carried along her wandering course.
Only the river has changed.
Here, within my canoe, I remain the same.
Now looking out at a different landscape.
Everyone can do something.
Seek peace and stay well,
Such newfound joy I behold each year
When April’s song bends my ear.
The robins’ whistle by the fence,
The gobble of the turkey thence.
The warblers chatter, the swallows dart
In living, breathing, springing art.
From Earth rises all manner of things,
As if for the deaf April also sings.
First crocuses, Colt’s Foot and shad will bloom,
Then tulips and daffodils vie for room.
Trees, still leafless, seem eager and greener,
As if taking cues from the grass’s demeanor.
The sky looks bluer, the clouds fly higher,
The sun warms our face like the past winter’s fire.
The wind brings with it no freezing strife,
But the essence of growth, the breath of life.
As each day grows longer ‘tween end and start,
So, too, warms and grows hope in the heart.
Crocuses are blooming now, and Canada geese migrate northward. The air each day hints more of spring. The song of the red-winged blackbird fills the yard. Sunsets are lavender then orange. Mornings sport foggy patches, and the deer have come down out of their winter yards.
The beautiful world has been busy being beautiful for a long, long time. Make that a very, very, very long time. Nothing to date has affected her all that much. The sky is still aquamarine blue, and clouds in the sun will reveal rainbow colors if you look closely.
The grass is greening as green as any year, and dandelions have wasted no time getting started. The trail greets Sassy and me with the same joyous embrace we have come to know, and the air smells as sweet as any spring I can remember.
Mankind has always sought out and marveled at beauty. Nature and the arts. Throughout recorded history we have breathlessly described new frontiers. We have written ballets devoted to the seasons, composed and choreographed the essences of life’s beauty to be displayed upon the stage. We have written books of adventure, love, poetry. Songs that embrace light and love, devotion and bravery. We have painted and drawn and sculpted masterpieces attempting to convey our overwhelming joy to be witnesses to this marvelous world.
These things have never tired, never faded: the world’s beauty and humankind’s appreciation of it.
Humans have observed and recorded beauty at all times. All times throughout history.
During bountiful years and seasons of drought.
During times of enlightenment and growth as well as times of darkness and evil.
During plentiful times, and times of starvation and death.
We can hope and dream with all our might, yet we must bow to the unwavering truth that there will be some dark days for most of us during the courses of our lifetimes. That there will be dark times for our world.
Humankind has harnessed the power of light. It began long ago with a fire in a cave. It continued as gaslights recorded in the stories of O. Henry and Charles Dickens. It entered modern times with Mr. Edison’s curious invention. It has followed us into the future with lasers carrying our telecommunications, and solar farms gathering the power of the sun for our use.
And so it is the power of beauty and light that I will embrace now.
There will be lilacs in May.
There will be peonies in June.
There will be raspberries in July.
There will be morning glories in August.
You have plenty of places elsewhere to read about the darkness.
Let’s keep our eye on the lighthouse, and keep the lamp lit.
Let’s marvel at the sweep of the beacon through the fog.
Until the storm has passed.
I beg your pardon, and I mean just that.
I’m sorry we won’t have time to chat.
I haven’t a moment to spare, you see,
Just now Mother is calling me.
It’s not entirely my fault,
This unavoidable delay.
But you know the world is bigger than me
And overwhelms my day.
It’s not only me, it’s also the birds
‘Cause they’re Tweeting me with their tweeting bird words.
And the trees are waving to catch my eye,
Passing clouds call out “Hello and goodbye.”
Am I to blame for marveling
At this air that smells of snow?
It surrounds me and embraces me,
And follows everywhere I go.
You wouldn’t hold it against a guy
Whose eyes automatically rise to the sky,
For breathing deep and lingering long,
To sing along with Nature’s song.
So hasten, must I,
To truncate this rhyme.
You and I can visit
Some other time.
The world of man takes from me
Takes from me
T a k e s f r o m me
Until I am depleted.
The world of Nature
Gives to me
Gives to me
G i v es t o m e
And I am whole again.
I stopped my compulsive counting of the geese in the flocks that fly above me,
and instead admired their beauty.
I stopped foretelling the weather in these clouds that pass over me,
and instead enjoyed watching them sail.
I stopped thinking of those places where we don’t meet eye-to-eye,
and instead embraced those where we do.
I’m not a Buddhist, but read about it quite a bit.
There are terms used in Buddhism such as darma and samsara. I invented my own term, “Hurrah”.
There are the tiniest things in this world that warm my heart and to which I cleave. Every cloud and every leaf, every bird and dog and drop of rain has inherent beauty in it. I see these things glowing, leaping out from the background, and I am thrilled by them. This is my “hurrah”.
Any time I am down, distracted, off my mark, feeling directionless, I tell myself “Your hurrah will find you.”
And it does. No matter where, no matter what, if I am patient for the tiniest slice of time, something beautiful in this world will find me, speak to me, get me back on track.
Hurrah can exist anywhere, even inside one’s mind.
I am practicing and preparing for the days ahead, as my physical being wears out.
I’ll paint until arthritis locks up my hands. I’ll play the guitar until my muscles can no longer press the strings to the fretboard. I’ll read until my eyes can no longer see, then I will listen to audiobooks until my ears can no longer hear.
I will walk through this beautiful world until my legs can no longer carry me.
And I will carefully place these experiences in the gallery of my mind’s eye.
Someday, when I lie in a bed with no visible signs of life, in my mind I will be walking and painting and writing and singing, and enjoying all the other things my Hurrah will bring me.