I had expected to find it difficult to blog while away on holiday, and yet the opposite has been the case. I was compelled to share many of my New York and Boston experiences with you, and since my return home (a week ago) I have been unable to write even one sentence.
Holidays are not what people say they are. They are not simple experiences of relaxation, but rather complex changes in the way you view yourself and your everyday life. Returning to that well-worn, dependable, familiar, difficult, all-consuming life of home I am struck dumb with wonder. Ah yes, so this is what I have been doing for so long, and ah, yes, here I am again, doing it. Only yesterday I was walking along the frozen streets of a skyscraping parallel universe, and today I need only walk down the block, turn left, then right past the bowling green and the tennis courts, and look, an ocean shimmering in the heat of a summer sun. How remarkable.
Three weeks ago, finding it necessary to escape (lovingly, discreetly) the overwhelming chemical reactions of my Boston family reunion, I spent an hour browsing in the Harvard Coop. I bought several books of poetry and mailed them to myself. I received my package of books today and opened Mary Oliver's book "Red Bird" only to discover this poem entitled "Ocean" -
I am in love with Ocean
lifting her thousands of white hats
in the chop of the storm,
or lying smooth and blue, the
loveliest bed in the world.
In the personal life, there is
always grief more than enough,
a heart-load for each one of us
on the dusty road. I suppose
there is a reason for this, so I will be
patient, acquiescent. But I will live
nowhere except here, by Ocean, trusting
equally in all the blast and welcome
of her sorrowless, salt self.
I adore the gap between "there is" and "always grief." I also love the thousand white hats and the loveliest bed and the dusty road.
But I think "the blast and welcome" is my favourite bit.