And forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair. ~ Kahlil Gibran

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Poetry in the Soul

I think we are all born with poetry in our souls and a sense of wonder and magic. As we grow, our life experiences change us, give us new things to focus on, and gradually steal that romance and awe from us.

I, of course, live in MN. A land of folks proud of their pragmatic and stoic way of life. A land of gossipy old Church Ladies, leathery farmers, resourceful farm-wives, and Grumpy Old Men. A land where the only appropriate comment when the weather is -30 degrees is "So, is it cold enough fer ya?"

We are obscenely proud of the fact that we will go ice fishing in temps that keep Polar Bears under wraps, and no snowstorm on earth is enough to keep us all from getting up at o-dark-hundred to take our little selves off to work. We are private people, unwilling to air our arguments in public and terribly embarrassed when others do.

Sometimes, especially in small towns, it seems that the cold has frozen the hands of time. It seems that everything is the same as it has always been; the same as it always will be.

But it is not a land of poets or dreamers. It is a world where often those who are a little bit different receive sidelong looks. Those inclined to take long flights of fancy are thought of by all as "just a little off, if you know what I mean".

And so the poetry we are all born with is slowly suffocated, fading away to nothing as we grow older and leave behind childish things. Daydreams are left behind in favor of "good, solid plans". The pristine beauty of snow-topped pines fades as we focus on shoveling our drives. The orchestra of evening birdsong is lost as we strain to hear the first tell-tale buzz of the dreaded mosquito. The thrill of sledding down a great hill at break-neck speed is eclipsed by the terror of slipping and sliding your way down poorly plowed town roads.

And it is sad.

The poetry in my soul has not died quite yet, and I am trying to revive it the best I can. I don't want to lose that vital part of me that sees the romance in life and the dreams in every waking moment. I am trying to breathe; to remember the joy of finding magic in the smallest flower, the wonder in the change of seasons, the peace of really hearing the world around me. I am focusing on the small things, and remembering that the journey is more important than the destination.


Lynne said...


This is THE BEST, most beautifully written post you've ever done.

Really, really good.

barefoot gardener said...


Thanks, Lynne. I am so glad you enjoyed it....

Finding Pam said...

May you never loose sight of all your joy in the mundane things of life. Your so blessed to have young children because they keep your eyes wide open with imagination and great joy.

Such a wonderful post. Take care and post poetry!

Kati said...

This is what I love about books. As I've grown up, the poetry and magic that used to come so naturally have been choked away (not literally, but you know what I mean) by every day life and by family and friends who's imaginations were lacking the first place. In books, I can still find a bit of that. It made me incredibly sad when my Dad sold his house (though I knew it was coming) because that realization hit that the magic I felt in tea-parties in the back yard and in the possibility of seeing fairies in the little patch of wild in the side-yard. In the alley-way (a wild alleyway, not a plowed down & treeless alleyway) that could be counted on to produce a moose from "thin air" once or twice a year and provided a "hidden path" between yards to the younsters. The roughly fenced in vacant lot just across the street where we'd sneak away as kids to hunt wild strawberries, despite our parents directive to stay out of the property as it didn't belong to us. The spot where we found a "fairy circle" every couple of years when the conditions were right for the mushroom circle to pop up. The towering lilac bushes that threw off massive amounts of incredibleness in the form of perfumed air and raining flowers. The hedges and hedges of wild-roses. All that magic, now lost to me forever. Almost makes me wish we'd tried to buy the house (didn't have the money, and it was in crappy shape after Dad's crappy care of the property).

I hope you can hold onto the magic, BG. Gods know how hard it is to find it again when you've lost it. And I hope your sprouts do much in keeping it alive in you. When all else fails, read a favorite childhood book. (If you need a couple of suggestions, F.H. Burnette's _The Little Princess_ and Julie Andrews Edwards' _Last of the Really Great Wangdoodles_ are my two favorites for renewing the magic in my soul. _The Hobbit_ and the _Lord of the Rings_ triology are excellent options for adult-ish reads.)

Deb said...

Wonderful post. Simply wonderful. You have captured the essence of small town Minnesota!

forest wisdom said...

Another Minnesotan weighing in here, although I am a Twin Cities denizen (when I am not hanging out on the North Shore every chance I get) and not small town. But I have to agree with all the others that this is a splendid and evocative piece of writing that captures much of the Minnesotan "essence." Kudos to you, Barefoot Gardener, and thank you!

Fr. Peter Doodes said...


LauraHinNJ said...

Beautifully written post! I'm here, for the first time I guess, by way of Deb at Sand Creek Almanac.

I want to argue that all those things that you almost suggest as anti-poetic about the frozen north where you live, are, for someone like me living in the middle of gazillions of people and tons of traffic, a cause for celebration (and poetry)!

It's all a matter of perspective, I guess. Poets know how to step back and see beauty for what it is; doing that is a worthy goal, I think, whatever the season.

barefoot gardener said...

hehe, you really don't want me to post my own poetry. This is about as close as I can come before I start tripping over cliches in my writing. Thanks for the encouragement, though.

I love re-visiting the stories I grew up on. I often re-read the Chronicles of Narnia, Anne of Green Gables, and The Secret Garden. There are also a couple modern writers that have a good hand with fantasy that I read and re-read. Isn't it wonderful how one can escape into the pages of a book?

Thank you. I am so happy this little piece was enjoyed.

Forest Wisdom-
I just recently found your blog through Deb (as I see you found me), and have really loved your writing. Thank you so much for the compliments. "evocative"....I love that word. It sounds so sophisticated.

*grin* That is also a wonderful compliment, and I very much appreciate it.

barefoot gardener said...

Thanks for stopping by! I hope you pull up a chair and stick around for a while. I love making new friends.

For me, it is more the loss of wonder and awe that I am fighting. Too often our busy lives interfere with our enjoyment of life. I don't want to look back on my life and regret the things I didn't pay attention to....

Cindy said...

what a beautiful poignant post. I found your blog via Deb, and I'm certainly glad I did (putting you on my sidebar as not to loose such a beautifully written journal)
I too at times struggle with enjoying those moments and appreciating them for what they are.. I think everyone does at one time or another.
Thank you for a much needed reminder, and I wish you good journeys. They trully are all good journeys if we choose to view them as such :)