I am sort of caught up in this poem today, as I contemplate my 28th year.
"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?"
- The Summer Day, Mary Oliver
I've been sort of electrified and maddened by the echoing question, "what do you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?"
What is it? What am I doing? What do I want to do? What am I doing?
Well, I'm pretty certain that I want to celebrate. I want to drink champagne and I want to ride atop a jeweled elephant. I want to make my sisters feel my love. I want to cook up a storm and force feed the entire city of Atlanta. I want to sing with my son at the top of our lungs. I want to smell the peonies from my wedding and I want to bury my face in the lush grass of my backyard. I want to tap dance on the stage of the first broadway show I ever saw. (though I don't actually tap dance.) I want to give a certain high school bully a wedgie. I want to lounge on a hammock with my husband and watch the sun go down, reminiscing about all our past adventures. Because they are my favorite memories. I want to take hold of all the sinew, dreams, will and fiber of my being, and I want to give it all away. I want my life to matter. I want to touch the world with my intent. I want to be raw and vulnerable and strong and tall. Gosh, I so want to be tall. I want to make a difference and I want to do it while I'm holding the hands of my loves to the right and to the left. I want to walk into the future, ready, hopeful, good-humored and tireless. I want to harness this wild, precious gift and make it matter.
To many things to wish as I blow out my candle? Well then.
Today I turn 28. Watch me go.