February 25, 2012

Wild Geese.

Yesterday I had barely any lunch and was starving an hour before we were due to meet friends for dinner. I plucked a box of raisins out of the pantry to tide me over and went upstairs, eating raisins as I turned on my bathwater to get ready for the night. Following me all the while was Tessa, who was in a mood. Though she was well-fed and had just snacked herself, she got hysterical at the indignity of me enjoying my very own box of raisins. When I tried to share with her but still hold on to the box, she plopped on her bottom and started to throw a tantrum, of which I could only make out one word: "Mine, mine, mine, mine, mine..." I was so annoyed that I chucked the box at her and shut the bathroom door in her face. Which was immature of me. And yet gratifying, albeit momentarily. As I stood there, watching the bathwater fill up the tub and drinking in the moment of quietwhich Tessa was evidently enjoying, too, ingesting my remaining raisins just outside the doorI thought of this Mary Oliver poem, which I'd seen posted earlier in the week on Cup Of Jo. It seems to me to be such a lovely way to talk about imperfect motherhood, which is the only kind I know anything about. 

Wild Geese
You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting–
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

Mary Oliver, Dream Work