Monday, January 6, 2014

A good poem

Mary Oliver's "Mindful," in Why I Wake Early, begins-
Everyday I see or hear something that more or less kills me with delight...
She must be a happy woman. A role-model, more or less.

As is Robert MacFarlane, the long-distance walker of "Old Ways" whose book of that title I've just finished. He was interviewed by the Times:
Why not just drive?
Ha! Well, many of Chaucer’s pilgrims traveled on horseback; while the hajj to Mecca now involves air travel for the majority of pilgrims. But there are two obvious differences between walking and vehicular travel. The first is that walking is a full-body experience; mind and body function inseparably, such that thought becomes both site-specific and motion-sensitive. The second is that on foot you are unshielded from the world. There is no sheltering glass or steel between you and the weather, and whoever or whatever you might encounter. Walking a path, you greet or chat with the people you meet: I can’t remember ever having flagged down a stranger’s car on the other side of the highway to talk things over.
He and Mary Oliver fundamentally are making the same point: delight makes life worth living, and there's more than enough delight in the world to go around. But we have to go out and meet it directly.

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