Tell about it

IMG_0369“Instructions for living a life.
Pay attention.
Be astonished.
Tell about it.”
~Mary Oliver

I’ve been having a little bit of vulnerability fatigue lately. I’ve shared a lot of personal stuff in this space, and I have more I want to share, but I think I need to take a break for a little while. I want to keep blogging, though, and keep writing, definitely. I love that Mary Oliver poem, above. It is the same writing advice that Frederick Buechner gives many times: Pay attention; write what you see. So I am going to spend some time doing just that. The next few posts might not be that deep or insightful, and they might be kind of short. But I think I need to get out of myself, out of my own head, for a while. And maybe my readers could use a break from the inside of my head, as well. Let’s look around, a little, and see what we may see. Here are a couple of my recent Facebook posts, in which I tried to do just that.

***

I swam, hard, for an hour today in a cool, dappled lake. Take that, inner voice that tells me I’m lazy, out of shape, and wasting the summer.

At one end of my laps, on the buoy that held the rope marking the swimming area, a bronze dragonfly sat every time I came back there. Near the end of my swim I paused and looked at him more closely. He looked back at me, flew up a foot or two then circled back to land in the same place. “That’s your spot, huh?” I said to him. He fluttered his wings and gazed back at me. I swear, he did. We had a moment.

Tomorrow and Friday will be ten hour work days, so I won’t have time, probably, to finish a blog post for this week. But I wanted the little bronze dragonfly to be written down. If my job as a writer is to pay attention and write about what I see, then I would be remiss in not mentioning the dragonfly. And the fact that, walking through the woods to the pond, looking around at the young trees that framed the path, I thought to myself: I should change the camera setting — this is too green, it doesn’t look real.

***

I just woke up to thunderstorms, a typical enough occurrence in the summer but somehow, at 6:30 in the morning, it seemed so strange. Dark, dark as a winter morning, with a tinge of pale yellow to the darkness and the rumbling of thunder like the portent of a not-so-distant war. The air was wetter than I’d ever experienced, too — the clothes that I left out on my chair, were damp. And now, as I sit by the window, flashes of lightning crackle as if the audience were ignoring the request of the actors for no flash photography, please, during the performance.

***

An Introvert Complains

People
Are so annoying
And they’re everywhere.

At least, all the places I can get to
before I start feeling ill at ease
too far from home.

People talk to me when I’m
lost in thought, talk
to each other, laugh
in that high-pitched, irritating
way that they have.

People smell, let’s
face it, and their
arm hair accidentally
tickling my own
arm hair is like nails on a
chalkboard or like
the neighbor’s car idling
in the driveway outside my
window, filling the room
with fumes.

Even here, home alone
as I listen to a podcast on
poetry (which you can blame
for the form of this post)
while I watch a video of
ocean waves and
scurrying sandpipers
to keep my mind from
wandering;

Even here,
as I’m lulled by the poetry
and the waves, and the
birds, people intrude — Surfers
splashing into the frame,
bobbing and calling to each
other, scaring away the
sandpipers and wearing
neon green.

And the mood is broken
so much so that I can’t even
focus when the poet, Elizabeth
Alexander, reads her words,

“Poetry
is the human voice,
and are we not of
interest to each other?”

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