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a moment of quiet

Second year is busy, especially if you spent your first year saying “yes” to every opportunity that came your way.  I take the greatest calm in scheduling my days, what I should have done last year, but I now look to as some look to meditation.  A grounding, of sorts.

I revel in the crazy.  I see a friend almost weekly, and each time I see him out at his place in Killington, I feel like I have lived a month, a year, some unmeasurable length of time.  You mean it has only been a week?  How was I living before, everything seems so full now!  Every moment, working or scheming, interacting with people.  I must be on, but I tend to get lost in the flurry of deadlines and that everyday hustle.

My life has been a reflection, I grew up with plenty of time for myself to mull over and wander in my head and where I was.  I see that this was a gift, and what was once so abundant is now something I must make time for, like we do for friends or exercise.  It is necessary.

Recreation is necessary.  A staple of childhood dwindles to a fraction of what it once was, if you don’t watch it as an adult.  My former cello teacher, one of the most insightful women I have ever met, once broke it down for me when I was a teenager at one of our lessons.  She said that creation is more than what a composer writes or what an artist paints, but that each have the ability and the need to create, to keep ourselves from detaching from our spirit or center.  I don’t think, in my jaded teenage inexperience, that I quite understood the connection between celebrated forms of creativity and the everyday forms of recreation that people enjoy.

But I get it now.  I get it after a long week, where I make time for an atheist’s sabbath and go up to the woods to see my friend for the whole Saturday.  I understand it after writing a paper until midnight, and standing in the quiet of my apartment, thinking of things beyond what I have to accomplish before 8:30 am tomorrow.  It is in those moments that I am re-creating the person I am when I am not preoccupied with being a law student, or even a responsible adult who pays her electric bill on time.  Rarely do I produce evidence of such re-creation of my true self that is recognized as art by this world, like a composer or artist does, but it does keep me going.  How easy it is, in the rush of things, to forget how beautiful you really are.  How necessary it is then, to stop, remember, and celebrate “your one wild and precious life.”

The Summer Day

Mary Oliver

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?

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