April 15 – ” . . . roaring with laughter, full of earth-praise . . . “ Mary Oliver and Pine Ridge, SD

Wednesday, April 15  –  Mary Oliver and Pine Ridge, SD

A friend sent me a Mary Oliver writing, new to me.  It doesn’t quite read like a poem.  More like two small essays connected.  They remind me of a saying-set I wrote ten years ago or so imagining Lakota (Sioux) wisdom opening places in my imagination.  Living on Pine Ridge for much of my twenties and now for one Sabbatical month last September and, Pandemic allowing, some weeks this coming summer, I try to spend time with Lakota friends and visit 5 or 6 sacred places there:  meadowlarks, prairie grass and badlands, the profile of the Black Hills 60-70 miles to the west, thunder and lightning storms, horses running free.    A restorative time.

Mary Oliver’s two paragraphs nourished my imagination and memory & inspired today’s post. Thanks to a soul friend who introduced me to “Foolishness.”

Have a blest day, with 2 or 3 surprises.

john sj

Today’s Post:  “Foolishness?  No, it’s not.”   Mary Oliver

Sometimes I spend all day trying to count
the leaves on a single tree. To do this I
have to climb branch by branch and
write down the numbers in a little book.
So I suppose, from their point of view,
it’s reasonable that my friends say: what
foolishness! She’s got her head in the clouds

But it’s not.  Of course I have to give up,
but by then I’m half crazy with the wonder
of it – the abundance of the leaves, the
quietness of the branches, the hopelessness
of my effort. And I am in that delicious
and important place, roaring with laughter,
full of earth-praise.

a wisdom-saying born on the Pine Ridge Lakota Reservation

“Time spent baking bread follows the pace of yeast”

“Motorcycling alone; I move as a tiny person in a vast world”

“If I pause long enough, I  hear the sound of grass growing, and trees, each at its own pace.”


This entry was posted in Poetry. Bookmark the permalink.