wild and precious
Today is the summer solstice. I’d forgotten that Leap Years such as this deliver summer one day sooner. And while I knew that the ancients positioned the pillars at Stonehenge (2600 B.C.) to visually mark this particular transit, I just learned that the great pyramids (2500 B.C.) were aligned so that the solstice sun strikes the midpoint between when viewed from the Sphinx.
The who and how and why of these monumental milestones enthrall me.
But no more so than the mysteries of the here and now. Which makes me oh-so-grateful for poets such as Mary Oliver who wrap words around them with such grace:
The Summer Day
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?
Photo: Summer solstice at Stonehenge (Wikipedia)