The dream of my life,” writes poet Mary Oliver, “Is to lie down by a slow river/and stare at the light in the trees -/ to learn something by being nothing/ A little while but the rich lens of attention.”
Now these are the longest days of all, and if ever one might lie down by a slow river and stare at the light of the trees, these might be the days to do just that, and to learn something by being nothing.
The simplest things might create such peace, the soft cottonwood cotton floating above the water, the fuzzy leaves of the fat great mullein, black raspberries and mulberries at their sweetest, late strawberries still firm and dark, the soft sleek foliage of the touch-me-not plants just starting to give their golden flowers, the comforting scent of wood mint.
Just noticing the robins feeding their fledglings, watching the adolescent goslings and ducklings pass close by the shore, watching the green winged seeds of the box elder trees quiver in the light wind, watching the delicate green and blue damselflies shimmer near the shore, listening to the hypnotic melodies of the thrushes and the orioles, feeling the safety of orange day lilies all around.
One could do worse in the longest days “to lie down by a slow river/ to learn something by being nothing/ A little while ….”
This is Bill Felker with Poor Will’s Almanack. I’ll be back again next week with notes for the first week of Deep Summer In the meantime, find your slow river in the longest days.