Hello dear friends near and far!
Today’s notice on the Salt Spring Exchange prompted this tune in my head.
Mairzy doats and dozy doats and liddle lamzy divey; A kiddley divey too, wouldn't you?
The call to the community “Help Remove a Pernicious Island Invader!” from Mouat Park ended with “And to recycle and make use of this invasive species, why not collect the cuttings for your goat?! Goat owners may come by between 1 and 4 and pick up bags of fresh ivy to feed to your animals.” Yes, a kiddley divey, too, they really do!
I wonder if under the blanket of the heaviness of our current world, something else burrowed into my bones, asking me to transform, to become, to evolve. The intensity of spring, emerging haphazardly, always, any ways, is asking me to emerge along with it, in my own way. Asking me to leave behind all that watchful waiting and anxious information-hunting. The silent observation from a distant vantage point where, untouched by the challenge of actual living, I simply feel it all without engagement. Like watching a terrible violent and gory movie, action that I cannot influence but only observe. That is a powerless place.
When you hear someone is critically ill, there is nothing for it but to rush to be near them, to be close to that epicentre that is the source of the disruption in the force, in the natural flow of things. You can’t do much, but you can be there. It relieves the unresolved tension to go closer, to BE THERE. It almost feels like action, like helping somehow.
And from here, now, where do I begin? Where do I go? I have no idea, but the answer will come. It always does, one way or the other.
When my mum was in hospital, during her long and terrible process of dying, I rushed out into the corridors, desperately looking for someone to call, or something to relieve it all. There was nothing, no one. Helpless, I understood I had to just go back to her bedside and sit. Then, amazingly lucid, Mum said so clearly, “What we’re going through, Carol, is perfectly natural.”
I remember her words in all sorts of situations. I can ask, what makes this situation we are involved in now perfectly natural? From the terrible trifecta of War in Ukraine/Covid/Climate Crisis, I look to poetry, to history and to the seasons.
And so I remember this great Zen quote from Basho:
As I think of Mairzy Doats, and the goats munching on mounds of that invasive ivy, I look to spring and all.
The great doctor-poet William Carlos Williams (1883-1963) gave us this in 1962:
Spring and All [By the road to the contagious hospital]
By the road to the contagious hospital
under the surge of the blue
mottled clouds driven from the
northeast-a cold wind. Beyond, the
waste of broad, muddy fields
brown with dried weeds, standing and fallen
patches of standing water
the scattering of tall trees
All along the road the reddish
purplish, forked, upstanding, twiggy
stuff of bushes and small trees
with dead, brown leaves under them
Lifeless in appearance, sluggish
dazed spring approaches—
They enter the new world naked,
cold, uncertain of all
save that they enter. All about them
the cold, familiar wind—
Now the grass, tomorrow
the stiff curl of wildcarrot leaf
One by one objects are defined—
It quickens: clarity, outline of leaf
But now the stark dignity of
entrance—Still, the profound change
has come upon them: rooted, they
grip down and begin to awaken
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and for Beloved Basho:
and the grass grows by itself......
Out comes the lawn mower
and we mow away
and the grass grows
as we comb the hair of the mother.