Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?
–Mary Oliver, from “The Summers Day”
I didn’t mean to spend my life checking Facebook every two minutes (for what? A golden ticket to a life that’s so productive and chock-full of meaning that I wouldn’t have time to check Facebook?) and reading headlines and the first two sentences of articles on my Yahoo home page (default setting) over and over again, as if the world will change or Kim Kardashian’s ass implants will implode.
But, like the depression that slides up to me every fall at what used to be glacial speed until global warming, a constricted life replaced my expansive life. A life full of travel and work and hobbies and interesting people and a quirky community full of people who understood me and accepted me, somehow became a small life full of hanging out at home and not going out very much except for errands and doctor visits and yoga.
I structure my days by when it’s time to feed the dog or take the garbage out or refill the toilet paper holder. I spend a large part of my “wild and precious life” sitting on my ass in front of the computer, looking over the entertainment and events listings for my town and writing the ones I like in my daybook, where they stay for a bit and then pass by as the pages turn, subscribing and then unsubscribing from email lists of organizations I mean to volunteer for but never do, thinking about friends I’m too flatlined to call, making reservations on Southwest to visit family or friends or somewhere and cancelling them the next day because it just seems too hard and too much work and too tiring and hating myself for feeling that way and then remembering that I need to be kinder to myself and I can change my thoughts at any time or just see them as thoughts that come and go like the Quail pecking the empty ground where their feeder used to be because I got sick of cleaning up their poo on my fence every day (although that was one more task I could structure my life by.)
But today I saw a hawk–or maybe it was a bald eagle–swoop down, extend it’s huge talons and pick up a roadkill rabbit. When it saw me, it dropped the rabbit and flew to the top of a nearby saguaro, staring at me, waiting for me to pass by. Perhaps my life had wild and precious moments after all.