Where’s Mary Oliver When you Need Her?

rocks and water

6AM. Tip of the Noto Penninsula.  Japan

Words fail, as I suppose they should, in the presence of such awe inspiring natural beauty.  I resort to taking photos, then videos, but of course, nothing quite captures the essence of this setting. I know one of my favorite poets, Mary Oliver, could have nailed it.  She wouldn’t need an iphone camera.   She’d probably just sit patiently in the midst of this delicate morning and  words would come to her.

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I’m at a loss for the way to do that, but still want to share it. The best I can do is share my 6AM morning video. But, the file was too large, and I haven’t figured out how to edit it.

I was spellbound watching the many birds flying over the ocean just outside my window, but the video didn’t capture that.  They flew easily as singles, in pairs or in groups of eight or ten. Some flying east, others intent on a western path.  Some barely skimming the surface of the calm water, others a hundred feet above it. I think they’re swallows.

Are they too thinking, how splendid the morning?

new growth

Rediscovering Spring

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Each year of my life I rediscover Spring.

The insane energy of it.

The intoxicating scent of it.

The seductive beauty of it.

The wonder and exuberance of it.

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Spring has returned. The Earth is like a child that knows poems. Rainer Maria Rilke

Each year, Spring becomes my favorite season for as long as its promise lasts.

Before its flowers fade.

Before its green changes from brilliant to subdued.

Before its birds have found their mates.

Before the scent of orange blossoms vanishes.

Such soft and solemn and perfect music doesn’t last

For more than a few moments.
It’s one of those magical places wise people
like to talk about.
One of the things they say about it, that is true,

is that, once you’ve been there,
you’re there forever.
Listen, everyone has a chance.
Is it spring, is it morning?

Are there trees near you,
and does your own soul need comforting?
Quick, then––open the door and fly on your heavy feet; the song
may already be drifting away.

-Mary Oliver

Now, each Spring may be my last, but hasn’t that always been true?   Would we know spring without winter? Can we know life without death?

Dew Evaporates
And all our world is dew…so dear,
So fresh, so fleeting”
Kobayashi Issa

In a few short weeks, I’ll travel to Kyoto again.  If I’m lucky, my trip will be timed with cherry blossom season (sakura); perhaps, the most extravagant celebration of spring on this earth, but one, like life, that is fleeting and unpredictable.

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“Soaring in white clouds, The cherry trees are in full bloom, Every branch bending with loaded blossoms. But the wind is ceaseless as the peak is lofty, And day after day falls the spring rain; The flowers have scattered from the upper sprays. May the blossoms on the lower branches neither fall nor lose their beauty, Till you, who journey, grass for pillow, Come home again !”  Mushimaro, 8th Century