This morning, I read a poem by Barbara Crooker titled “Ordinary Life.” It is one of many beautiful poems in Garrison Keillor’s Good Poems for Hard Times.
Here’s an excerpt. The entire poem can be found on The Writer’s Almanac website.
This was a day when nothing happened,
the children went off to school
without a murmur, remembering
their books, lunches, gloves.
All morning, the baby and I built block stacks
in the squares of light on the floor.
And lunch blended into naptime,
I cleaned out kitchen cupboards,
one of those jobs that never gets done,
then sat in a circle of sunlight
and drank ginger tea,
watched the birds at the feeder
jostle over lunch’s little scraps.
I think this poem touched me because of the “ordinariness” of my life these days. I’m not used to my life feeling ordinary.
My days are usually filled with a flurry of activities. Now, most of my time is filled with “nothing happening,” and my strange discomfort with the relative quiet makes me think I need to retrain myself for “ordinary.”
Each night, in my last prayer of the day, I include a statement of gratitude “for all of my blessings.” The thing is, I don’t often specify what my blessings were for that day.
Last night, I decided to get specific. Here’s what I was thankful for:
- A friend who suggested I sing at the top of my lungs, no matter how I sounded. She told me to “talk” to my mom, warn her that I’d sound silly, but that was okay.
- The feeling of freedom I felt as I painted an abstract on a table striped by sunlight coming through the blinds.
- The scent of steak on the grill, and the taste of it later.
- That male-female relationships have come so far since the Mad Men days, as we watched Don Draper and his cronies belittle the women in their lives.
- Laughing so hard I cried as Steve and I shared a story together just before bed.
It was just another ordinary day, when nothing much happened. Perhaps that in itself is something for which I should be grateful.
Here’s that abstract piece. I call it “Freedom.”