The Grove: Contact

However busy you are today, take a moment.  Step outside.  Stand in the sun, or watch the moon setting for a moment before daylight.  Make contact.  Look at something blooming. Open a window and listen to the birds sing.  Make contact.  Feel the wind move.  Look up at a tree top.  Touch a plant that is blooming.  Make contact.  Look into a bloom.  Watch an insect move along the ground or up the stem of a plant.  Pick up a rock or run your hands over the bark of a tree.  Make contact.  As you do make contact with something of the natural world, notice how it makes contact with you.  Notice what changes in you.  Notice your attention.  Notice what shifts.

Whatever we choose to make contact with for just a moment today–a bird’s song or an insect or tree bark, for example–was there before we arrived and will continue to be there after we disappear back into our human created stuff.  The whole natural world will be there waiting on our next visit, our next contact.

In her poem “Spring”, Mary Oliver describes something she made contact with–a black bear just rising from sleep.  She says in the middle of observing the bear:

“There is only one question: how to love this world . . .

Whatever else my life is

with its poems and its music and its glass cities,

it is also this dazzling darkness coming down the mountain,

breathing and tasting;

all day I think of her–

her white teeth,

her wordlessness, her perfect love.*

Take just a moment today, and make contact.  It doesn’t have to be with a black bear, but let it be something of nature, and let it come with you into your world, your work today. Let it bring its perfect love with it, let the Wild World move into your life a bit and show you how to love this world.

Bob Patrick

*”Spring” by Mary Oliver,  published first in House of Light (1990) and then in New and Selected Poems (1992), Beacon Press.


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