Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Summer on our front porch: Rockers and red birds

When I got home late Tuesday, a birthday present from Lori was waiting for me on the front porch: A wooden rocker -- an old Southern wooden rocker with worn varnish and green leaves painted on the arm rests and head board. Lori found it in a second-hand store. This rocker is perfect. I perched in it late into the evening, listening to the roar of insects and the rumble of trains in the distance, and watching the moon light dance across the tree tops. Fire flies burst from the grass in front. The night settled into its own rhythm, and I with it. 

Our front porch in the daytime is alive in a different way. In the daytime, the birds are thick waiting their turn for a meal. Humming birds flutter at a feeder near the front steps. Bigger birds come and go at another feeder on the south side of the porch. I am reminded of a poem by Mary Oliver, a summer offering from our friend Karen in Tennessee.
Red Bird Explains Himself
by Mary Oliver
“Yes, I was the brilliance floating over the snow
and I was the song in the summer leaves, but this was
only the first trick
I had hold of among my other mythologies,
for I also knew obedience: bring sticks to the nest,
food to the young, kisses to my bride.

But don’t stop there, stay with me: listen.

If I was the song that entered your heart
then I was the music of your heart, that you wanted and needed,
and thus wilderness bloomed that, with all its
followers: gardeners, lovers, people who weep
for the death of rivers.

And this was my true task, to be the
music of the body. Do you understand? for truly the body needs
a song, a spirit, a soul. And no less, to make this work,
the soul has need of a body,
and I am both of the earth and I am of the inexplicable
beauty of heaven
where I fly so easily, so welcome, yes,
and this is why I have been sent, to teach this to your heart.”

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday, Jim! What a great gift from Lori. I love it that the rocker has a happy new life there with the two of you. It could probably tell some stories from other front porches.

Thanks for sharing the wonderful Mary Oliver poem.

Christie Savage