It is a serious thing

just to be alive

on this fresh morning

in this broken world.

from Red Bird (2009), by Mary Oliver

Such words zing rhythms within creek bottoms, ooze exhilaration into hidden recesses of psyche, trickle down arroyos, and imprint joy upon freckled noses. Such has been my experience reading Mary Oliver’s poetry over the years.

Of special significance are these poetic words from Red Bird in the wake of last night’s absence of dreams. The dark has never been so dark. Within its grip, I felt throttled, locked within a turnabout, tumbled about in a washing machine—there was no surcease as hours limped across the face of the clock in my bedroom. Nor did exercises impinge upon the madness. Nor did prayer to Whomever, Whatever. Dry eye precluded reading. Only dawn’s whispers broke the spell and released me within exhaustion that clung like the virgin’s bower vine, sweetening fences, trellises.

Such agitation bespeaks of grief, a first for me, and leaves me with questions: Is it appropriate to dull such a trouncing with Haldol or go without and experience the lessons, therein? And what were those lessons? Certainly my powerlessness was paramount—It’s one thing to speak of it, even write about it, but another to experience it in the marrow of my bones.

Could this be the first of other thrashings, still to come, before my transition?

Yet, in this morning’s dawn my aliveness thrums. True, my old body and the world are broken, but no matter. There will be healing as Mary Oliver intuits in her poem: it just has to be held to our hearts—Song happens.