Midweek. I find myself muttering “how is it only Tuesday?”
Perhaps your life, too, is a little bit of a whirlwind at the moment. I don’t have time to read long posts (even really good ones), and I definitely don’t have time to write them. Instead, I spend my days on reams of emails, loads of posts in Moodle and Teams, masses of Powerpoints and VoiceThreads. Most of my bandwidth is taken by trying to teach my students wherever they are (in the classroom, streaming, asynchronously learning in some faraway place) and however they find themselves. I’m so glad we’re able to continue to have class, but as a friend said today, the “reservoir of grace” is often not as abundant as one would like.
I have an 8 o’clock class this term. A stretch for this decided night owl. But it means I’m driving to campus in the newly chilly mornings that herald the season’s turning. What things will come in this uncertain time? Hard to say. Another drain on the “reservoir.” But the poems that I share with you today give me another view, another way to understand something the autumn teaches: that the very dependability of the seasons’ change–something so often unsettling in other contexts–is actually a gorgeous reassurance, especially in Mary Oliver’s imagining. We may as well, as Emily Dickinson urges, embrace, even if only in a small, “trinket”-y way, the moments of beauty that this new season has on offer.
Song for Autumn Mary Oliver Don’t you imagine the leaves dream now how comfortable it will be to touch the earth instead of the nothingness of the air and the endless freshets of wind? And don’t you think the trees, especially those with mossy hollows, are beginning to look for the birds that will come — six, a dozen — to sleep inside their bodies? And don’t you hear the goldenrod whispering goodbye, the everlasting being crowned with the first tuffets of snow? The pond stiffens, and the white field over which the fox runs so quickly brings out its blue shadows. The wind wags its many tails. And in the evening the piled firewood shifts a little, longing to be on its way. Published in Poetry, May 2005
The morns are meeker than they were - (32) Emily Dickinson The morns are meeker than they were - The nuts are getting brown - The berry’s cheek is plumper - The rose is out of town. The maple wears a gayer scarf - The field a scarlet gown - Lest I sh'd be old-fashioned I’ll put a trinket on.