vernal equinox says so

March 20, 2012

Maine in the spring

It’s officially Spring~ vernal equinox says so! That’s why we set our clocks ahead…gaze forward…plants & animals emerge.  This morning on The Writer’s Almanac Garrison Keillor read from a poem by Mary Oliver titled “Spring.”  As I was listening I heard something in the words that resonated with me today…

a black bear
has just risen from sleep
and is staring

down the mountain.
All night
in the brisk and shallow restlessness
of early spring

I think of her,
her four black fists
flicking the gravel,
her tongue

like a red fire
touching the grass,
the cold water.
There is only one question:

how to love this world.
I think of her
like a black and leafy ledge

to sharpen her claws against
the silence
of the trees.
Whatever else

my life is
with its poems
and its music
and its glass cities,

it is also this dazzling darkness
down the mountain,
breathing and tasting;

all day I think of her—
her white teeth,
her wordlessness,
her perfect love.

This poem reminds me that there is more to it all than just our solitary experience and that we aren’t the only creatures living and breathing on Earth! The simplicity of the black bear emerging from hibernation, in harmony with her natural surroundings…Isn’t it kind of like staring up at the stars on a clear night, only to be reminded of how small you are in the scheme of things?  That you are one small part of a gigantic whole?  I love that thought.

What did you take away from this poem?  Here’s to renewed thinking & a happy Spring!

One Response to “vernal equinox says so”

  1. What a lovely poem!

    Minted Magazine


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