Musings before the New Year



From where I write, the world can be a storm of scars and grief, and somehow, of unexpected delight. This mélange isn’t logical. It’s a mystery. But perhaps now is the perfect time for such a thing.

When did I last look at these things? I’ve missed so many simple miracles by trying to figure other things out. I’ve buried my head in questions that don’t yet have answers, only to emerge stumbling and unsatisfied. Perhaps now isn’t the time for certainty. Perhaps that’s OK.


Perhaps this is the time to take an extra slow sip from a piping mug of coffee, to let the steam melt into the waiting face and to savor the way that dark substance can invigorate the body. Perhaps this is the time to gaze at squirrels in the yard, those lucky rodents who don’t seem to realize—or care—that we’ve changed, those chipper squirrels whose routines continue with full gusto despite everything else.

Perhaps this is the time to sit with someone you’ve grown accustomed to seeing each day, to stare at their familiar face under familiar light and look for the unfamiliar things that made you love them in the first place.


This is a time when one of the few things we’re certain about is how little certainty there is. We can scramble to find answers and do what we can to act in the midst of these swirling questions and trials, but this can also be a time to pause. Somehow, in the middle of all these current messes, there are still pleasant—even delightful—mysteries to be found. There are friends to check in on (from a distance), there’s astonishment to be shared. There are poems to be read. There is hope to be found, embraced, passed along.


I found this poem by Mary Oliver in the beautiful book Devotions, that my oldest daughter gave me. So many of her poems resonate with me , but this one settled some of my internal storms, humbled me into going deeper into my soul , to see my strength to know that all of this is part of my growth and becoming who I am , no matter how old, or how young, and to understand that strength grows every day.

Mysteries, Yes by Mary Oliver

Truly, we live with mysteries too marvelous to be understood.

How grass can be nourishing in the mouths of the lambs. How rivers and stones are forever in allegiance with gravity while we ourselves dream of rising. How two hands touch and the bonds will never be broken. How people come, from delight or the scars of damage, to the comfort of a poem.

Let me keep my distance, always, from those who think they have the answers.

Let me keep company always with those who say “Look!” and laugh in astonishment, and bow their heads.





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