liminal living

Aimless Love

This morning as I walked along the lakeshore,

I fell in love with a wren

and later in the day with a mouse

the cat had dropped under the dining room table.


In the shadows of an autumn evening,

I fell for a seamstress

still at her machine in the tailor’s window,

and later for a bowl of broth,

steam rising like smoke from a naval battle.


This is the best kind of love, I thought,

Without recompense, without gifts,

or unkind words, without suspicion,

or silence on the telephone.


The love of the chestnut,

the jazz cap and one hand on the wheel.


No lust, no slam of the door –

the love of the miniature orange tree,

the clean white shirt, the hot evening shower,

the highway the cuts across Florida.


No waiting, no huffiness, or rancor –

just a twinge every now and then


for the wren who had built her nest

on a low branch overhanging the water

and for the dead mouse,

still dressed in its light brown suit.


But my heart is always propped up

in a field on its tripod,

ready for the arrow.


After I carried the mouse by the tail

to a pile of leaves in the woods,

I found myself standing at the bathroom sink

gazing down affectionately at the soap,


so patient and soluble,

so at home in its pale green soap dish.

I could feel myself falling again

as I felt its turning in my wet hands

and caught the scent of lavender and stone.


Billy Collins

I would like to do whatever it is that presses the essence from the hour ~ Mary Oliver

To live on the threshold between the secular and the sacred, to find joy and fullness in small things, to see the divine in nature…this is what makes the difference between living life or just existing.  Slow down.  Get in your body, in the moment.  Look, really look.  Listen, listen deeply.  This is the lesson of the small child.  This is to be awake, to be aware, to build a bridge across the abyss.  No more sleepwalking.  No more missing the mystery, the miraculous and chaotic and juicy wonder of living on the threshold.  As Sir Patrick would say, “Engage.”