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One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice – – –
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
‘Mend my life!’
each voice cried.
But you didn’t stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations – – –
though their melancholy
was terrible. It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice,
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do – – – determined to save
the only life you could save.

~ Mary Oliver

Note: I am good. Very good, indeed. After posting this poem, a friend reached out with “Are you ok?” I guess I can see where she might think I was digging through something re: THE JOURNEY… but I just love to read Mary Oliver’s words and this one struck me today.

So, no, my life doesn’t need mending, but I do love at the end of this poem where it says “… there was a new voice, which you slowly recognized as your own, that kept you company.” My birthday is next week and it’s always a time of reflection for me. Every year I hope that I’ve learned something. Grown in some way. So this morning, I sat wondering “So what is new with you, you almost 51-year-old lady?”

And, like the poem, I really feel a new voice is emerging. New, but yet, familiar. This voice is curious. Inquisitive. Quiet, yet sure. This voice is playful and even a little mischievous. This voice, though still a little muffled, is becoming louder every day.

As I move “into my 50’s,” I feel capable of kicking aside those fallen branches (or making a crochet swing for the porch with them, if I’m honest.” Maybe this really is the second childhood “they” talk about. We spend our lives being so many people: employees, wives, sisters, mothers, daughters, cooks, cleaners, chauffeurs, etc. etc, that I wonder if we forget who we were when we started out. Remember when it was like to just be you? Nothing more. So, yes, life is good. I am good. I’m just busy being me.