I am so tired, all of the time. Each national news cycle brings with it exhaustion that reaches to a cellular level. Each candidates' debate, latest spew of hatred from the talk show hosts or the candidates themselves, act of environmental destruction, most recent episode of school student-on-student violence and death - each rape, murder, child abuse atrocity on the local news, makes the darkness drop a thicker curtain over my heart, my brain, my ability to get up and make the coffee of another new day.
Then, I find a slim volume of Mary Oliver's poetry that I haven't seen before, although it's been around for a while (Red Bird), and read myself to sleep for several nights. In the midst of nature poems, both sorrow and delight, poems of loneliness and longing for her departed partner of many years, I find this - lines that briefly and perfectly sum up the world in which we live. A world in which we must constantly work, though exhausted, to somehow keep our hearts soft, open, full of generosity and hope. To care about the quality of life for people, all people, dogs, and rivers. To be both loving and fierce.
Of The Empire
We will be known as a culture that feared death
and adored power, that tried to vanquish insecurity
for the few and cared little for the penury of the
many. We will be known as a culture that taught
and rewarded the amassing of things, that spoke
little if at all about the quality of life for
people (other people), for dogs, for rivers. All
the world, in our eyes, they will say, was a
commodity. And they will say that this structure
was held together politically, which it was, and
they will say also that our politics was no more
than an apparatus to accommodate the feelings
of the heart, and that the heart, in those days,
was small, and hard, and full of meanness.