Sunday, January 29, 2023

January 29: "Bazougey," Joy, Forever Gifts

Mary Oliver writes about the deepest sting . . . 


by:  Mary Oliver

Where goes he now, that dark little dog
     who used to come down the road barking and shining?
He's gone now, from the world of particulars,
     the singular, the visible.

So, that deepest sting:  sorrow.  Still,
     is he gone from us entirely, or is he
a part of that other world, everywhere?

Come with me into the woods where spring is
     advancing, as it does, no matter what,
not being singular or particular, but one
     of the forever gifts, and certainly visible.

See how the violets are opening, and the leaves
      unfolding, the streams gleaming and the birds
     singing.  What does it make you think of?
His shining curls, his honest eyes, his
     beautiful barking.

Sorrow is a part of life.  That's what Oliver is getting at.  If you have happiness, you will eventually have sorrow.  Now, you can go around, trying to avoid sorrow.  Stay home.  Don't take any chances.  Of course, that means that you may never experience true joy.  Never find true happiness.

I know I've said all this in previous posts.  Joy and sorrow are two sides of the same coin, like light and dark, fear and courage, Donald Trump and sanity.  You can't have one without the other.  They sort of define each other.  (Okay, I think we could have all done without Donald Trump, but you get the idea.)

I know what you're thinking right now:  "Oh, no, Saint Marty's going to get all maudlin and depressing again about losing his sisters and brother and parents."  Sure, I could go down that road.  That's what you're expecting.

I'm not going to do that.  I'm going to focus on the other side of the coin:  joy.  I've just recovered from COVID.  My children are healthy and happy.  I have a partner I love and who loves me.  My dog is the cutest dog in the world.  I'm working a job I love.  Actually, several jobs that I love.  There's no snowstorm or blizzard on the horizon.  And, tomorrow night, I get to celebrate the life and poetry of one of my best friends.

This evening, my book club was supposed to meet at my house for our monthly dinner and discussion.  Because I have just recovered from COVID, we met via Zoom instead.  One member has described our book club as "the strangest book club in the world."  We have been going strong for close to 20 years.  Members have come.  Members have gone.  My mother was one of the inaugural members.  My sister, Sally, was a member, too.  (She never read the books.  She came to babysit my daughter, and then my son, while the rest of us talked and ate.)

Every time we get together now, I think of the people who aren't there any more.  At the moment, we are a small group.  But we love each other deeply.  We are family,  (Cue the disco music.)  So, tonight was joy.  Sally was there.  My mother was there.  All of our friends who've moved away were there.  Another of the current members once told a friend of hers, "I'm not allowed to leave book club.  Ever."  

Tonight, Saint Marty celebrates the forever gifts of his life--poetry, friends, family, and books that bring that bring us all together.

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