JV gave me an autographed copy of Billy Collins' latest, Aimless Love: New and Selected Poems. I've been dipping into here and there. And as I don't have many words right now, let me share some of Mr. Collins'.
This morning as I walked along the lakeshore,
I fell in love with a wren
and later in the day with a mouse
the cat had dropped under the dining room table.
In the shadows of an autumn evening,
I fell for a seamstress
still at her machine in the tailor's window,
and later for a bowl of broth
steam rising like smoke from a naval battle.
This is the best kind of love, I thought,
without recompense, without gifts,
or unkind words, without suspicion,
or silence on the telephone.
The love of the chestnut,
the jazz cap and one hand on the wheel.
No lust, no slam of the door—
the love of the miniature orange tree,
the clean white shirt, the hot evening shower,
the highway that cut across Florida.
No waiting, no huffiness, or rancor—
just a twinge every now and then
for the wren who had built her nest
on a low branch overhanging the water
and for the dead mouse,
still dressed in its light brown suit.
But my heart is always propped up
in a field on its tripod,
ready for the next arrow.
After I carried the mouse by the tail
to a pile of leaves in the woods,
I found myself standing at the bathroom sink
gazing down affectionately at the soap,
so patient and soluble,
so at home it its pale green soap dish.
I could feel myself falling again
as I felt its turning in my wet hands
and caught the scent of lavender and stone.
This poem reminded me of how I take pictures often, just looking for the flash of beauty, the change of context, the moment of seeing.
I was feeling a moment of existential panic today. I decided I had better take that energy and see if I could work it off in a walk. I tried to find a public park or some place a little different nearby, but nothing was really nearby. I did find a big park about 20 minutes away and drove over there, but I could hear a very busy street or highway the whole time. The important thing is that I tried and that my impulse was to get out and move instead of nap. Action not escape.
I'm going to go watch the Fred Wiseman documentary about UC Berkeley.