For several years now my Sunday mornings have begun with the anticipation of reading the weekly email from Andrew that arrives in my inbox around 7am. I have saved every one he has sent to me, and for good reason. Both he and his wife Kathryn, in addition to being two of the wisest and most generous people I know, have PhDs in English literature and write with a gifted effortlessness. No one can offer life’s primal wisdom with such a silky touch as these two dear friends.
This morning Andrew excerpted a paragraph written by Kathryn who is spending some time in Cumbria. Currently she is researching the life of Hartley Coleridge, the eldest son of the poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge, for an upcoming conference. Her words about journals speak to so many of the feelings I have been having recently about how we witness our own lives and, in turn, share that witnessing with others. So many of the blogs that move me speak to this.
I do wonder whose imaginal dream we are. I’ve come across that Mary Oliver poem* before–and read it again with assent and wonder. I had a new understanding yesterday of the importance of keeping journals. A journal is a seed–not to insure the survival of the personhood of any one life, but just the opposite–to allow creation to happen again and again in many more minds from this one seed of the vast universal. To let go of one’s attachment to the “story” of one’s life and allow it to be whatever it is in any other’s mind is like allowing the body to decompose into nutriment for other life forms. I got a sense of that glorious impersonality in Mary Oliver’s poem.
*The poem by Mary Oliver, When Death Comes, was posted here a year ago.