I have questioned whether or not to keep the “other joyful things” section on this blog. When I typed it in as part of the header, I didn’t really think about it, did not consider that it might make me seem overly cheerful, or kind of sappy.
Now, however, I wonder if this tag line somehow obligates me to be joyful all the time, or what will happen if I go weeks without making an entry in the “Joyful Things” category. Will I disappoint the blog-world’s joy-seekers? Will someone out there track me down to find out where my joy might have gone?
Also, as I think of some of my more skeptical, edgy friends and acquaintances reading this, I consider what they might say about my joy category. They might, in fact, not say anything, choosing instead to smirk at the naivete of that line, the shiny-happy-peopleness of it.
But the truth of the matter is that there’s just not enough recognized joy in the world right now. Everyone’s always arguing. Or bitching about something. Or dying. At least on the news, anyway. And while I want to be engaged with current events, and I am equally interested in the parts of life that are terrifying, difficult and heartbreaking, I thought it might do well to have a little sliver of joy here on this blog.
Mary Oliver is one of my favorite poets. When I saw Tom Key, an Atlanta-based actor and theater-owner, perform this poem of hers in a stand-up poetry show, it reminded me of why I love to write, and why it’s important.
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?