Thursday, April 21, 2011

Seek Refuge in Nature

Hello everyone!  I hope that you have enjoyed reading my two previous posts.  Hopefully the poem that I share with you today will benefit you in some way.  The poem is entitled, “Exiled,” and is written by Edna St. Vincent Millay.  The poem reads:

Exiled by Edna St. Vincent Millay

Searching my heart for its true sorrow,
This is the thing I find to be:
That I am weary of words and people,
Sick of the city, wanting the sea;

Wanting the sticky, salty sweetness
Of the strong wind and shattered spray;
Wanting the loud sound and the soft sound
Of the big surf that breaks all day.

Always before about my dooryard,
Marking the reach of the winter sea,
Rooted in sand and dragging drift-wood,
Straggled the purple wild sweet-pea;

Always I climbed the wave at morning,
Shook the sand from my shoes at night,
That now am caught beneath great buildings,
Stricken with noise, confused with light.

If I could hear the green piles groaning
Under the windy wooden piers,
See once again the bobbing barrels,
And the black sticks that fence the weirs,

If I could see the weedy mussels
Crusting the wrecked and rotting hulls,
Hear once again the hungry crying
Overhead, of the wheeling gulls,

Feel once again the shanty straining
Under the turning of the tide,
Fear once again the rising freshet,
Dread the bell in the fog outside,—

I should be happy,—that was happy
All day long on the coast of Maine!
I have a need to hold and handle
Shells and anchors and ships again!

I should be happy, that am happy
Never at all since I came here.
I am too long away from water.
I have a need of water near.

I hope you enjoyed reading the poem.  Here is what I think it could teach us:

There are times in which we find ourselves suffering from some of life’s toughest blows.  Your spouse was in a terrible car accident.  The accident left your spouse on life support.  Doctors predict that your spouse will never recover; they recommend that you remove the support.  You contemplate this option, but you are clueless as to how you will be able to endure the pain and continue living.  You two had promised to spend the rest of your lives together.  Or perhaps, your adult child has just revealed to you his/her homosexuality.  You are having trouble digesting the news because it defeats much of what you morally believe.  Or maybe, you recently found out that you are pregnant.  It wasn’t planned.  You know that there’s no way you can care for a baby.  You grow scared.  What will you do? 

When life punches us with its fiercest blows, we often grow helpless and feel like exploding.  We wish we could just escape from it all, yet we feel as if there is nowhere to run.

However, Millay tells us that when the bludgeoning of life becomes unbearable, we can simply exile ourselves to nature.  She suggests that nature will comfort us from our deepest worries and will help us obtain peace.   

Therefore when life becomes brutal, we must quickly flee to one of nature’s many shelters, preferably one devoid of all humans and man-made objects, for such things could potentially inhibit our healing.  We shall go to one of nature’s beaches and let the seashells whisper to us their innocent secrets.  When the tides brush against the sandy shore, we must run into the foamy water and allow it to suck away our jittery nerves.  Or perhaps, we shall enter into one of nature’s forests.  Once there, we could rest against the towering trees, let the birds perform to us their sweetest songs, and allow the nearby ants to fascinate us with their busy activities.  Or, we could even travel deep into the godly mountains and let them woo us with their majestic beauty.  In being nature’s pampered guest, we can take a few seconds to clear our minds.  Release our frustrations.  Then, if we prefer, we can calmly begin to think things through.  However, if that begins to become too much, we can simply allow ourselves to just be. 

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