Sunday, October 25, 2009

One or Two Things

My friends Doug, Nate and Michael, performing a Very Strange Version of the Wichita Lineman at my wedding.


Don’t bother me.
I’ve just
been born.

The butterfly’s loping flight
carries it through the country of the leaves
delicately, and well enough to get it
where it wants to go, wherever that is, stopping
here and there to fuzzle the damp throats
of flowers and the black mud; up
and down it swings, frenzied and aimless; and sometimes

for long delicious moments it is perfectly
lazy, riding motionless in the breeze on the soft stalk
of some ordinary flower.

This is my third grade picture. That hair. OMG.

The god of dirt
came up to me many times and said
so many wise and delectable things, I lay
on the grass listening
to his dog voice,
crow voice,
frog voice; now,
he said, and now,

and never once mentioned forever,

which has nevertheless always been,
like a sharp iron hoof,
at the center of my mind.

One or two things are all you need
to travel over the blue pond, over the deep
roughage of the trees and through the stiff
flowers of lightning — some deep
memory of pleasure, some cutting
knowledge of pain.

But to lift the hoof!
For that you need
an idea.

For years and years I struggled
just to love my life. And then

the butterfly
rose, weightless, in the wind.
“Don’t love your life
too much,” it said,

and vanished
into the world.

--Mary Oliver

This is Jake when he was about 6 months old, on the porch of our house in Glen Park, a neighborhood in San Francisco.


k-brow said...

"Wichita Lineman" is one of my favorite songs. Ever.

ellen abbott said...

If you keep this up you're going to make me start rummaging through my old photos.

There is a butterfly migration going on now. So many passing through, stopping for a little snack and then continuing on their way.

ps - been meaning to tell you this, my new header was inspired by your fireball.

Joanne said...

Love the Jake photo. Nothing like a little back porch contemplation to start the week.

Lizzy Frizzfrock said...

I'm so happy to be back visiting my favorite blog friends. I've gotten side-tracked with the preparation of & surgery for the G-man. He's fine now & on the road to recovery so here I am.
Nostalgia must be going around and maybe it does have something to do with autumn. Like Ellen I may be forced to visit the box of photos in my closet!
I enjoyed your post.

Elizabeth said...

Stanza 7 broke my heart.

Yes, the hair!!!!

karen said...

Amazing post. Don't know what else to say really, but it really moved me. Love the pic on the side bar!!

Barry said...

What a beautiful and insightful poem. And I love the photo of Jake. Together they were very moving.

Linda Sue said...

"Don't love your life too much" YUP that's the clincher! Love the photos- especially third grade- cute!

Winston Riley said...

The Mary Oliver poem is very good

John Hayes said...

I would love to hear that version of "Wichita Lineman"--I almost can from the pic!

lakeviewer said...

The poem is too poignant for today. Love your musicians friends at your wedding. Jake is your constant.
As the rest of your readers already mentioned, this is so nostalgic that we all want to pull out our favorite photos now.

Whitney Lee said...

I love the anticipation in Jake's stance. I can almost see the tail getting ready to move.

The Bug said...

Don't love your life too much... But that's so hard!

Reya Mellicker said...

It is hard, but man, Mary Oliver says it all perfectly here.

I wish y'all WOULD pull out your pics and post them on your blogs. It would be so much fun too all of you in previous incarnations.

My friends are not officially musicians, but they are all three incredible artists of one kind or another. Their version of the song was ... hmmmm ... really strange. No one really knew what to make of it, except me. I know, love and "get" these dudes. It was fabulous.

Lynne said...

Reya, from one "babe" to another ... LOVED these retro photos of you. I've been away and just now catching up on my blog reading.

And, hey, I did recently pull out some old photos. ;)

Loved this!!!

Ronda Laveen said...

I loved that top photo! Three dudes being themselves. The sport coat and shorts is great. I see the teddy bear contingent made the wedding sitting in the background.

Your bangs look much better than mine did in school photos. My my always waited until the night before to trim them. The ended up a quarter of an in long and still not even. Sheesh!

Boy, that Jake! What a stud even as a pup.

Okay. I'll get my photos out soon and post them. Yours are so much fun.

steven said...

oh reya - in the background - behind the players of music- bears! i have seven bears who are responsible for protecting me on my otherworldly travels - they watch the points of access to the bedroom.
the hair fit the time but you're so you inside your eyes - look at that look!!!
"now, he said, and now, and never once mentioned forever" those words leave my wriggle-shivery!!! mary is so insightful and earthy. a beautiful post reya. steven

Merle Sneed said...

Very nice my friend. I love that you are sharing your old photos.

Reya Mellicker said...

Ronda, please?? All of you - old pics, please??

Doug is the guy in the shorts and sports jacket. Always the stylish, always quirky, Doug is now one of only a handful of people on earth to earn both the Master of Wine and Master Sommelier on earth! He travels and lectures on wine. He is so in the stratosphere of the wine world, wow. When he comes to DC they put him up at the Hay Adam, with White House views.

But he is totally unpretentious. He says wine should be "cheap, cheerful and plentiful." LOVE DOUG. Yes I do.

This is a link to one of his books on wine.

Reya Mellicker said...

When I see Doug in his fancy hotel room or at restaurants in DC, with everyone kowtowing to him, I remember many a night after concerts, sitting maybe on the curb outside the venue, in summer, drinking port straight out the bottle. My how we have changed.

tam said...

Loving your nostalgia period. But nostalgia can be cleansing, don't you think? Hauling out old versions of the self to see what has stuck, what has changed, what has stayed gracefully the same. What a babe indeed. Thanks for sharing these. Such fun.

Mrsupole said...

Those are some cool pictures. I guess I will have to go through some pictures too. Will see what I have.

When you look at the picture of Jake it makes you wonder what he was thinking. I wonder if there were any critters out there for him to watch and contemplate about catching. It truly is a great picture.

God bless.

Lori ann said...

Love Mary Oliver, how perfect for your post. Wait, that looks like my 3rd grade photo, with just a little lighter hair!

Reya Mellicker said...

Jake is definitely on the lookout for varmints to chase around the yard: squirrels, mostly.

Reya Mellicker said...

He got squirted by a skunk once in that yard, oh my god. We coated him with tomato juice and left it to dry overnight, then gave him three latherings and rinsings. The tomato juice works well but poor Jake was completely miserable.