A note to Mary Oliver
I woke with a start
Already caught up in
The impossible tug between
Daily upkeep and writing
Now in danger of starvation
Thanks to inedible pieces
Unredeemed if not forgotten
Standing at my heart’s door
Begging for a breath of air
Yes, Mary, you found a way to live with disciplined abandon. Doing what you loved most. Though it wasn’t easy, you found a way.
I want to believe there’s a way for me. Not to be you, but to be the writer I am, the woman I am, the mother, sister, and grandmother I am.
I was happy to retire from my professional life. It wasn’t all bad. I can’t imagine myself today without it. It was, however, punishingly difficult work, sometimes even outrageous.
So here I am, wondering how I might relate to you except in some far-off never never land.
It pains me to admit this: In spite of the inspiration and insights I gain from your writing, I might be happier if I’d never discovered you. Then again, this is probably the highest compliment I could give you.
I don’t hate my life, and I have no plans to give up. It’s just that every time I read Upstream, I realize how much of life I’ve missed, and how little time is left for me.
© Elouise Renich Fraser, 5 March 2020
Photo found at labmonline.co.uk