On our daily walks with the dogs my friend and I talk about all kinds of things– politics to be sure, and the weather, and life and death (she is a hospice administrator and I write obits) and mindfulness and drinking wine ( we did some fasting for four weeks) and the people we care for and worry about, and what about that duck the girls found on Main Street and brought to the Haines Animal Rescue Kennel? Or the eleven puppies Tammie’s daughter’s dog had at her house while she was dog sitting for her? Or the great news about how one of our dog walking friend’s son and another’s husband were pilot and co-pilot on a commercial jet and how the story made both of us tear up a little, because we know them, and because even if we didn’t it’s a great story– and now there’s that old Japanese mortar from WW II that has been in the museum for years, but may be loaded, and so the museum is closed until military munitions experts from Fairbanks arrive and can examine it, and that means, and this is true, that the show scheduled to open on Friday, ” Attu 75: When War Came to a Wilderness” a traveling art exhibit commemorating the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Attu between the Japanese and the US, is being postponed until next Friday.
I have been fighting the flu,but I am now back among the living, and what I want to tell you, is that this morning when we were walking in the rain ( our polar slushfest) I asked my friend if perhaps we were missing something, because there are two of us, so we talk and listen and think of worldly things.I was thinking about how Mary Oliver walked alone and must have paid closer attention to what mother nature was saying than we do.
Of course we stop and stare about fifteen times every walk– but it may not be the same as Mary’s attentiveness. (And you should have seen the way we had to lean into a wind so strong — gusts to 50 mph we later learned– it almost knocked us over and made us laugh– ) but anyway– my friend rolled her eyes and said: “Look where we are. Nature is screaming at us.” And we laughed because we were all wet, and it was such a slushy mess.
I know too, how Mary Oliver could walk the same beaches, woods and fields everyday, for years, and come up with new poems– and thoughts, and feelings, and even see new sights. In my heart certainly this is easy to know, as each morning and evening is a new moment, but also physically, this place- the ground and sky and sea– is not the same for any given moment either. Just look at these pictures, all taken in just the last seven days on the very same paths:
Is nearly the identical spot as this:
and then there’s this:
I feel like an eye doctor.
Which image is True? Real? Beautiful?
Or this ?
What we see and what we know are not always the same are they? And everyday is a beginning, or an ending, depending on what I need it to be.