Today is the Feast of the Visitation, and we remember the loving, accepting, and supportive friendship of Mary and Elizabeth.
Today I include an excerpt of a poem by Mary Oliver, “Am I Not Among the Early Risers.” I’ll bet that both Mary and Elizabeth were early risers. We know that Mary was among “the long-distance walkers.”
May we remember to be among the “long-distance walker” and go the distance in our friendships. Then we, when we touch the holy during our visitations, as Elizabeth and Mary Oliver, “bow down”.
Am I Not Among the Early Risers (excerpt)
Am I not among the early risers
and the long-distance walkers?
Have I not stood, amazed, as I consider
the perfection of the morning star
above the peaks of the houses, and the crowns of the trees
blue in the first light?
Do I not see how the trees tremble, as though
sheets of water flowed over them
though it is only wind, that common thing
free to everyone, and everything?
Have I not thought, for years, what it would be
worthy to do, and then gone off, barefoot and with a silver pail,
to gather blueberries,
thus coming, as I think, upon a right answer?
What will ambition do for me that the fox, appearing suddenly
at the top of the field,
her eyes sharp and confident as she stared into mine,
has not already done?
What countries, what visitations,
would satisfy me as thoroughly as Blackwater Woods
on a sun-filled morning, or, equally, in the rain?
Here is an amazement — once I was twenty years old and in
every motion of my body there was a delicious ease,
and in every motion of the green earth there was
a hint of paradise,
and now I am sixty years old, and it is the same.
Above the modest house and the palace — the same darkness.
Above the evil man and the just, the same stars.
Above the child who will recover and the child who will
not recover, the same energies roll forward,
from one tragedy to the next and from one foolishness to the next.