Still “in the midst”; Always in the midst

27 November 2021 – There was a break; now it is raining again.

We have begun what is predicted to become a “parade” of “atmospheric rivers.”

I cannot help observing that this is a mixed metaphor: a parade of rivers? Yet the reality it describes is so worrisome that I would find it unacceptable to get all snippy about the scrambled language. (And I am one who can turn snippy at the drop of a syllable, let alone a whole scramble.)

All this somehow circles me back to my previous post, and dictates today’s follow-through. Because we’re always in the midst of it all, aren’t we? Life’s just like that; it’s a both/and package, all the time. Denying myself the joy of Saturday’s Culture Crawl would not have made floodwaters recede out in the Valley.

Concurrent realities. Both/and.

One of the joys, on Saturday, was the discovery of Samantha Reynolds’ poem, My Version of Aging, while prowling the Eastside Atelier over on Clark. I’d never heard of her, but liked the poem enough to show it to all of you, and some of you liked it a lot as well. So I looked her up.

Well! Turns out she is a BC entrepreneur, head of the ECHO Storytelling Agency with some pretty big brand-name clients — but she only founded ECHO as a consequence of becoming Bentlily. And she became Bentlily because one day, bored witless at some corporate luncheon, she noticed a bent lily in the otherwise impeccable flower arrangement on the table. That so perked her up she decided to write a poem a day, as a way to force herself to be present, to notice, to observe, and share the results.

Visit her Bentlily website. Consider signing up, and receiving more of her poems.

She encourages sharing them, by the way, and I am about to do exactly that with this one, because it’s the one I need right now, in the midst of our particular BC right-now. Wherever you are, you have your own right-now to navigate, and maybe this poem will be an encouragement for you as well.

Especially the final stanza.

No Shame in Happiness

“There is no shame
in the serene drunkenness
you get when you stand
under a linden tree in summer,
wearing the smell of honey
and the rumble of contented bees
around you like a bonnet.

“There is no shame
in careening downhill on a bike
with your legs out wide
as the wind lifts the heat
right out of the air
and you are going so fast
no one can even hear you singing.

“There is no shame
in loving the movie you saw
without restraint,
in reading whatever
you want to read,
in admitting
wholeheartedly
to hope.

“Who told you
it was ignorant
to be happy?

“How dare they forbid
something so close
to peace?

“Happiness does not ignore suffering;
it is what makes the suffering
bearable enough
so there is energy
leftover
for change”

Leave a comment

6 Comments

  1. Thank you for sharing Samantha and her poetry with us. This poem is lovely, and you are right, particularly the last stanza.

    Reply
  2. Oh, very nice, thank you, Penny. The Linden tree stanza got me – I have memories of standing under a Linden allee at Columbia University when they were in bloom and buzzing with bees. And such wisdom at the end. Interesting!
    We aren’t subject to much flooding on the island (small islands don’t have big rivers!) but it’s been way too much rain and the tedium of it all is getting to me. So I’m going to turn the poem’s concept around and say, “Maybe there’s no shame in discontent?” Permission for that? There’s another both/and for ya! 😉

    Reply
  3. p.s. – That’s a beautiful photo!

    Reply
  4. Thank you, WW, for sharing your discovery of bentlily. I love the image of swooping down a hill on a bicycle, legs out, and singing when nobody but yourself can hear. I should not add, but will, that the only ever time I’ve been stopped for speeding was when I doing close to that — I may even have been singing — going downhill through a school zone. When the police stopped me at the bottom of the hill, I indicated my handle bars, which had a bell, a light, but no speedometer, and I was let off with a warning to slow down on that hill in future. Nobody said nothin’ about my legs or my singing.

    Reply
    • Love your bicycle story. An indignant police officer tried to stop the brother of a mutual friend of yours & mind for his bicycle’s many safety failiings — it was a Penny Farthing, and the officer’s temper was not improved by the fact that the cyclist didn’t stop because he couldn’t, it had no brakes…

      Reply

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