Helping my folks navigate the last years of their lives was hard. Still, it’s painful to realize that I will never again hear their voices or hug them. This has been a year of infinite loss, from saying goodbye to my folks to the abrupt loss of the traveling lifestyle that we enjoyed for more than seven years.
I know that we are not alone. This last year has been supremely challenging for most people. As for us, we’re still uncertain about our next step in life. (Stay? Go? When? Where? Aargh!!)
But today, listening to the eternally cheerful Carolina Wren who greets me every morning, I’m reminded of this beautiful poem that Eric read to me recently. It makes me happy. I hope that wherever you are, you have your own version of a Carolina Wren to remind you of gladness.
The Wren From Carolina
Just now the wren from Carolina buzzed
through the neighbor’s hedge
a line of grace notes I couldn’t even write down
much less sing.
Now he lifts his chestnut colored throat
and delivers such a cantering praise–
For the early morning, the taste of the spider,
for his small cup of life
that he drinks from every day, knowing it will refill.
All things are inventions of holiness.
Some more rascally than others.
I’m on that list too,
though I don’t know exactly where.
But, every morning, there is my own cup of gladness,
and there’s that wren in the hedge, above me,
with his blazing song.
Perfect Poem Eric. We, too, love the little Carolina Wren, all Wrens really. Way will open for you…..
Sue, it is the perfect poem, isn’t it? It makes me happy every time I read it. Like you, we love all wrens…they are universally such joyful little creatures. We’re hoping a pair will nest in our yard this spring.
The Carolina wren is one of my favorite birds, it’s a lively little bird that fluffs itself into a puffy, round shape to appear larger than its tiny body. For its size, the male has one of the loudest voices of all birds; it can sing 27 to 47 different tunes and usually sings one repeatedly before switching to another. The male and female often sing together. I too often sing back to it, and we go back and forth forever!! What a delight this bird is!
Teri, thank you for sharing these wonderful tidbits about the Carolina Wren. I shared them with Eric and he enjoyed them, too. I had no idea that their song repertoire is so vast! I love that you join in with their singing. :-)
Another lovely poem by the great Mary Oliver. Thank you for sharing it along with the sweet photo. Hugs to you.
Les, Mary Oliver’s poetry always soothes my ruffled feathers. She seems to say exactly what I need to hear. Hugs to you, too…I hope you’re cozy on the Oregon coast.
Hooray, I was just going to look this poem up and you did my work for me! Now I can memorize it for a new Morning Poem. Did you know I’m a native North Carolinian? So this poem is extra special for me.
Thinking about your terrible awful horrible year, I’m wondering if you know this book? I just started it, but it seems to fit your current stage of life pretty well:
With love & gratitude,
Gretchen, I’m so glad you enjoyed this poem. It seems like a perfect candidate for a Morning Poem, with even more meaning for you since you’re from North Carolina. I’ve been trying to memorize it on my daily morning walks but haven’t mastered it yet. My mind still goes off on too many tangents. :-(
I appreciate your book suggestion—it sounds like good medicine!
I had an actual Carolina Wren making me happy this morning, too, but I wholeheartedly agree that it’s vital to find a version of one every day! :)
Joodie, how lucky we are to have so many opportunities every day to find joy just by paying attention. I don’t know what I would do without birds and other critters…and good friends.
Wonderful picture, beautiful poem, perfect sentiments as we all continue to muddle through this difficult time. We’ll get through it, one day at a time, and, hopefully, come out on the other side stronger and more appreciative than ever. Hugs to you both.
Thank you, Laura. Muddling through is exactly what we’re all doing…one day at a time. It helps me so much to focus on this moment and to be grateful for what we have. As soon as I start worrying about the future, I get myself into trouble. Apparently, we’ve all been thrown into a radical immersion in mindfulness training! Hugs to you guys, too.
Aah, Mary Oliver, another bright light. I’m glad you aren’t traveling across the country right now. Yikes, winter storms.
Nancy, we were just talking about how grateful we are to not be traveling right now, or stuck in Texas or anywhere else with these crazy winter storms! We’re feeling pretty happy about being in Florida. But check back with us in July, haha! Hope you guys are staying cozy in Oregon.
A perfect poem for our most unusual times this past year and ahead. We can all take a little lesson from the Carolina Wren and remember to greet each new day with that song of gladness for what we do have.
We, too, are still undecided about when to travel next. I don’t want to make plans until we have the first vaccine shot (Nevada just announced tonight that 65+ can be begin vaccination next week. We are already on the list here in BC). At that point we can be assure that there is some safety in moving forward. Our first visit is east to visit Jessica, Dan, and Ella and their new home. Kevin is moving back to Atlanta in April, and he just bought a beautiful new home, too. So the east is calling us this spring. I will buy three seats to fly just to be a little safer. We don’t a close seatmate.
Take care. Spring is a beautiful time in the panhandle.
Mary Oliver always has a beautiful sentiment to help us through tough times. Hugs to you both as you continue to navigate these difficult times.
Lisa, I know you share our appreciation for Mary Oliver. Her words have helped me through some difficult times, including now. She makes me happy on a deep level, just like the Carolina Wren. Hugs to you and Hans, too.
Pam, that’s so exciting that you’re close to getting vaccines, and that you have your visits to Jessica and family and Kevin to look forward to! We’re trying to figure out how and when we can visit Amanda and Findlay. It’s hard being so far away and not feeling comfortable flying yet. We’re going to wait until we have our vaccines, too…and even then, we may wait a while.
Meanwhile, we do have the beautiful spring weather of the panhandle to look forward to. And that little Carolina Wren that serenades us every morning. :-)
“Some more rascally than others.” Experiences good and sad, people who flow in and out of our lives, critters large and small who leave their mark. Definitely some are more rascally than others, and bring such delight! We enjoy a wonderful variety of birds here and our Bewicks and Rock Wrens are special.
Thanks to you and Eric for sharing Mary’s sweet reminder to cherish our own cup.
Haha, that is my favorite line of the poem, Jodee! I’m glad you noticed it, too. It makes me smile just thinking about rascally inventions of holiness.
I know you cherish the delights of nature, just as we do. Enjoy those wonderful wrens in your backyard. We have a special fondness for Rock Wrens after rescuing a nest of babies several years ago. :-)
I love the poem and the photo! Can’t wait for this terrible winter weather to clear so we can see birds again. I mean, we’re not suffering from freezes or lack of water, but I certainly didn’t think I was going to be living in a facsimile of Seattle for the month of February. Ugh! Need more bird song in our life to remind us that spring is on the way….
Shannon, as you know, this has been an unusual February for Florida. One good thing is it makes me REALLY certain that I would not be happy living on the Olympic Peninsula, which we have at times considered. I need sunshine! Meanwhile, the sun has returned, and we’re in for some gorgeous weather. Let’s go kayaking!
Birds are such instructive companions. Thank you for yet another beautiful post
We have been holed up in SC while getting to know our 2 year old grandson. He already has a keen ear and stops and looks up where he hears the tapping of the wood pecker. It’s so amazing to see new life as old folks move on to their next incarnation.
I have a good friend who refers to grief as a ‘tender time’. I am glad that you have the Wren to keep you company as you navigate your tender time.
I hope you can hit the road soon. We are bee-lining it to a friend’s property in AZ where we will stay for a few months. As long as our exposure is limited to gas stations and grocery stores, we feel ok.
Susie, ‘tender time’ is such a perfect way to describe this chapter in our lives. I’m grateful that we’re surrounded by the soothing balm of nature, including the joyful wrens. They immediately make me happy.
How wonderful that you’re spending time with your grandson. I’ll bet you’re having fun! Safe travels, and enjoy your time in Arizona. It’s a good place to be in the spring.
The Carolina wren has such a big voice for such a little bird I’ve always thought. I don’t think a day went by at the farm that we didn’t hear her cheery voice. What gladness to have a man who reads Mary Oliver to you. I can only sigh.
Sherry, I do love that Eric reads poetry to me, especially Mary Oliver. I feel lucky in that. And yes, the Carolina Wren has such a big voice for such a little bird! I’m watching and listening to one right now outside in the azaleas.
So very lovely, Laurel. I read this post on the phone while we were traveling, but waiting to get back home before looking again on the computer, where it is a bit easier to write a comment. I so appreciate your beautiful way of expressing positive thoughts in the midst of hard times.
Thank you, Sue. This has definitely been a difficult year, in many ways. Still, I’m grateful for so much. I had good teachings from my folks about appreciating nature and treasuring life. I know you share the same sentiments.
What a hubby to give your cup of gladness to perk your day!
I love wrens especially the Canyon Wren which is also my ringtone. A big voice for such little bird.
It seems like you will still be in FL for a little while.
Did you you know that we were hanging out together this time in 2019? How time flies.
Hugs from both of us to the both of you.
ML, I love that you have the Canyon Wren as your ringtone. They have the most melodious, beautiful song. We’re thrilled whenever we hear it when we’re hiking in the southwest.
I was just looking at photos and remembering our fun time together a couple of winters ago in Apalachicola. That was such a special visit…we miss you guys! I wish you were here right now! Hugs to you both, too. OX