In the last few weeks I have felt connected to death, its presence or shadow in my life. I don’t say shadow to mean something negative, hanging over. I mean that in the light and fullness of life, there exist always its end. Again, not in a bad way, but death serves as a reminder that all is temporary, that nothing is certain, nothing is deserved or undeserved. That life, wellness, yoga or whatever it is you do is not transactional. You don’t get something if you do something. You only get your now, which is beautiful and terrifying. We do our practices so our experience is rich, full and delicious.
Imagery is a huge part of my movement experience, of how I make sense of myself in the world. How the movement of life is reflected by the movement of nature. How the movement of nature reveals to us our lives.
Mary Oliver is a master of imagery, and this imagery touches me heart, my body and my sense of my life in such a beautiful way.
Heron Rises From The Dark, Summer Pond
by Mary Oliver
is the long-necked, long-bodied heron,
always it is a surprise
when her smoke-colored wings
and she turns
from the thick water,
from the black sticks
of the summer pond,
rises into the air
and is gone.
Then, not for the first or the last time,
I take the deep breath
of happiness, and I think
how unlikely it is
that death is a hole in the ground,
that ascension is not possible,
though everything seems so inert, so nailed
back into itself–
the muskrat and his lumpy lodge,
the fallen gate.
And especially it is wonderful
that the summers are long
and the ponds so dark and so many,
and therefore it isn’t a miracle
but the common thing,
this trailing of the long legs in the water,
this opening up of the heavy body
into a new life: see how the sudden
gray-blue sheets of her wings
strive toward the wind; see how the clasp of nothing
takes her in.