Crossing the border between
then and now my mind seems
intent on rehearsing who I am
and what I have or have not done
with my one “wild and precious life”
Endless rehearsals pace back
and forth through my head repeating
and expanding a long list of reasons
why I should exist as this woman
living on an overcrowded earth
I watch from the sidelines as
unquiet thoughts spin out of
control restless and insistent
saturating the air with reasons
that will convince my interrogator
and calm my agitated spirit
This past week I worked on documents for my new palliative care doctor. I also spent more time walking in the attic than usual, thanks to our latest round of high heat and humidity.
Walking without the radio or other distractions, I found myself rehearsing much of my past history. Sometimes I resorted to singing out loud in order to stop the endless cycle of data and explanations about who I am and who I am not. And why things were the way they were.
Beginning palliative care is is about what happens next. Much of my personal work has been about looking back, making sense of what sometimes seemed to be nonsense. To that I’m now adding learning to number my days. Concretely, not just in the abstract. How will I value each remaining day for the gift it will be?
On Monday afternoon D and I will meet for the first time with my new palliative care doctor. And I’ll begin making concrete this last chapter of my life. I’m excited and a bit on edge. And yes, I’ll definitely have a report or a poem.
In case you wondered, I have Mary Oliver to thank for her wonderful question to each of us.
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?
©Mary Oliver, final lines of “The Summer Day,” p. 94
New and Selected Poems, Volume One
Published by Beacon Press 1992
Thanks for listening!
©Elouise Renich Fraser, 20 July 2019
Photo found at pixabay.com