You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about your despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting –
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.
– Mary Oliver, Wild Geese
I’ve read this poem many times over the years and it never fails to move me to tears as I struggle to embrace the words and the meaning, that I might really, truly be forgiven and accepted. Only recently did I come across On Being with Krista Tippett and discover this blog post where Mary Oliver Reads “Wild Geese.” To hear her own intonation, the pauses and emphasis in her reading, the cadence and the compassion –she delivers the poem like a gift to my soul.
Today’s picture was made with my film camera, a Canon AE-1 loaded with Kodak Portra 400 film. I had the film processed by PhotoVision with digital scans and negatives. I am fascinated with the way film handles the color and contrast, and film gives the look I LOVE without having to do any editing. I hate being behind a computer!