Tell me…

….what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?

Thanks, Mary Oliver (scroll to bottom for the full poem). So yes, that’s the question isn’t it. I want to do all the usual things, and some that others don’t  – a career in the mess of academia, for one thing, possibly. Or a career working for a conservation NGO. More possibilities. I do want kids – maybe, possibly. More on that some other time. I want to travel. I want to eat good food, to play good music, to make good friendships, be part of a good family, and make good memories. All the emphasis on “good”.

Most of all, though, I don’t want to do anything: I want to undo. I want to not be a survivor. I want to have not been raped. How do you do undo?

The Summer Day
Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean–
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down–
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

—–Mary Oliver


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