Instructions on Not Giving Up
by Ada Limón
More than the fuchsia funnels breaking out
of the crabapple tree, more than the neighbor’s
almost obscene display of cherry limbs shoving
their cotton candy-colored blossoms to the slate
sky of spring rains, it’s the greening of the trees
that really gets to me. When all the shock of white
and taffy, the world’s baubles and trinkets, leave
the pavement strewn with the confetti of aftermath,
the leaves come. Patient, plodding, a green skin
growing over whatever winter did to us, a return
to the strange idea of continuous living despite
the mess of us, the hurt, the empty. Fine then,
I’ll take it, the tree seems to say, a new slick leaf
unfurling like a fist to an open palm, I’ll take it all.
Of course, I then had to google the poet, and read everything else she's written that I could find on the web (thank you, poets.org) and it was a splendid way to rouse myself from the cave of my holiday-morning sleep-in bed.
Pulling the blinds up to let in the light of another beautiful day: no clouds to be seen, just a solid, breathless blue. The tops of the birch and pine trees are swaying in the breeze. Birds stop and perch and rock in their deciduous swingsets, then soar away. There are magpies hopping about on the lawn, hopefully they are vacuuming up some of the seed spill from the feeder. I only have sunflower seeds left, and suet balls, and the birds have been fiercely attacking both. Anders set up the GoPro outside and caught them squabbling. Then he filmed the sunset, with the comet streaks of airplanes whizzing on their flight paths over head, zip zip zip. Then he filmed the stars wheeling and coming into focus: the Big Dipper clear as a bell. The sky cobalt and satin, star-studded: this brave o'er hanging firmament, this majestical roof, fretted with golden fire. I'm no poet; Shakespeare said it better. He always does.
The hours stretch before me, another day to do whatever I wish in, to spend or squander how I want, to live, to endure, to enjoy. Holidays are stolen time, set aside from our real lives. Time to regroup, relax, reread, re-envision. Shall I sit on the deck, in the sun, or under the shade of the umbrella, and watch the sparrows come and go? Shall I make some use of myself or only live in my skin and my eyes and behind my eyelids, where the thoughts rise and sink again, bubbling. A morning is filled with possibilities; evening either with repletion or regrets; there's no knowing beforehand which it will be.