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1:01 pm - October 14, 2020
Bear
My computer is doing this thing where, if I'm idle for more than a few seconds, the monitor starts flashing and it makes my eyes feel crazy. So I have to either always be moving my mouse or always be typing.
ABT. Always. Be. Typing.

This week, the desk I ordered came in the mail, and I had to get B to help me lug it in. I've spent three nights so far putting it together, little by little. The work is to listen for the very quiet voice inside that tells me "no," and to actually put down what I'm working on and walk away. I have spent my LIFE ignoring that voice, pushing through, getting to the end, but I'm finding that, right now, the negative consequences of that behavior far outweigh the positive.

A poem I've been reading a lot lately is called Spring, by Mary Oliver. I'd describe it roughly like this: A bear wakes up from hibernation and wanders around licking things and being a bear. It's really good:

Somewhere
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.

See? It's nice. I can see the bear's two black eyes, staring out of her big head, seemingly unknowable. The poem describes her as "a black and leafy ledge," and "this dazzling darkness," and I love both descriptions, because you can't grasp the details of her in them. She does perfectly what bears do, waking from hibernation and sharpening her claws "against the silence of the trees." And then there's this:

Whatever else

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

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

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

I find myself thinking a lot about that bear right now, when I'm stuck at home all day avoiding a virus. My friends in other countries seem to be out and about for the most part, which makes me increasingly upset about the state of my little world. I want so badly to be out there, too. But this is the work: I'm sitting on the living room carpet in Texas, trying to understand the dazzling darkness of my life, the breathing, wordless animal of my exhausted form.


There is only one question:

how to love this world.

 

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