21 Dec 2008, 12:08am
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surprise & delight

awe infinitum… well, where else do you find it but at a bus stop in the snow?

i did not expect to find it there. i did not expect the snow. in any case last sunday when i first woke to the snow i did not expect it to continue. i scarcely recognize this city and i am so thrilled by its capacity to surprise me! last night i wrote about traveling. tonight, i want to commit to this city. plant a garden, get a dog. i am more in love than ever. stomping in snowdrifts while i wait for the bus. a few years ago i saw a performance by the tania perez-salas compañia de danza when they came to portland. one of the dances they performed, “waters of forgetfulness,” featured a shallow pool of water that served in its way as dancer and musician. it is a beautiful, beautiful piece. tonight i thought of it: me and the snow and my laughter when i kicked it into the air and fell over on the snowy sidewalk–what a dance, oh my goodness.

this is one of my very favorite poems–nights and days like this (”like this”! what is this?) always leave me softly reciting the last two lines to myself, over and over–

MATINS

Not the sun merely but the earth
itself shines, white fire
leaping from the showy mountains
and the flat road
shimmering in early morning: is this
for us only, to induce
response, or are you
stirred also, helpless
to control yourself
in earth’s presence–I am ashamed
at what I thought you were,
distant from us, regarding us
as an experiment: it is
a bitter thing to be
the disposable animal,
a bitter thing. Dear friend,
dear trembling partner, what
surprises you most in what you feel,
earth’s radiance or your own delight?
For me, always
the delight is the surprise.

–Louise Gl├╝ck

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