The Ponds, by Mary Oliver

Happy New Year! It’s hard to believe that I have been writing blog posts on a monthly to quarterly basis for two years. I have a few more started that I simply have not had the time to finish. Stay tuned…

This post focuses again on the poem that is the basis of my New Year’s e-card and animation: “The Ponds” by Mary Oliver. If you haven’t read it, you might want to now……click to open the e-card in a new window.

There are a few precious and poignant messages that I draw from “The Ponds.”

  • How transitory, tender and breathtakingly beautiful the different seasons and their associated foliage can be… The image of the lilies in the pond is so evocative. I can almost feel the warm breeze on my skin. From a kayak, lilies are amazing to behold – like small miracles that emerge suddenly and unexpectedly.
  • But, at the same time, the lilies can crowd each other and get caught on the kayak paddle and they are not perfect when you bend closer to look at them. Each might be a little “off.” It is a relief to realize that imperfection is part of nature and in fact, paradoxically, adds to the poignancy and the miracle.
  • And the season of the lilies is over so quickly! We have to be careful not to miss these small miracles. It’s amazing how hard it can be to carve out time to visit a lily pond and appreciate the season.
  • Finally, I take the message to allow myself to be dazzled by the small miracles in the natural world, in the people around us, and in the hopeful possibilities. We can choose to focus on the imperfections or we can choose to concentrate on the beauty and the hope.

So, for me, there are a few lessons and reminders from “The Ponds” for the New Year of 2013:

  1. One is the reminder to stop, be present, in the moment, in the season, to appreciate what is around me and to see how beautiful so many aspects of life can be if I would only notice!
  2. Two, to remind myself to reframe … why do we allow ourselves to be disappointed when someone or something is not perfect? As someone suggested to me not long ago: “Do not expect perfect conditions.” Maybe, just maybe, if we do not expect people to conform to our narrow view of perfection (narrow because each of us can only have our own perspective), we will see them in all of their imperfect glory and love them and value them for exactly who they are.
  3. And three, to know yet again, that I have a choice to float above the disappointment and tragedy that is also life; for a moment, to be dazzled by the world’s beauty and be fortified by what I see and by my appreciation. Fortified and restored, we can go forward and continue our work, whatever that is. And I hope I do.

I wish you a 2013 of noticing the world’s beauty and going forward fortified.

  • Bonni

    Thank you, Martha; what beautiful thoughts to begin the New Year.  I love the idea that imperfections may not be imperfections at all; they represent the uniqueness found in nature as well as in ourselves.  I may be imperfect, but I’m also unique, and that’s not all bad!

    Bonni

  • Maggi

    Gives me a whole new perspective on (and appreciation for) my lilly pond at home!

  • Janine

    So beautiful, Martha! Precious gems of inspiration for this new year. Thank you.


Martha Lask’s Blog

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