One of my absolute favorite memories of a discovery was the first time I heard The Writer’s Almanac on MPR driving home one day from work. The poem was a Mary Oliver poem and Garrison Keillor was reading. It was winter, it was snowy and the sky was dark, dotted with patches of moonlight through the snow. I nearly missed it for flipping through the radio to find something that wasn’t the pop song of the minute.
It was lovely, it was warm and it made me feel as if I was the only person listening in that moment.
I still have the daily email sent to me and often I end up sharing the poem of the day because it’s so lovely or appropriate.
Today is such a day. I hope you enjoy this as much as I did.
There is weather on the day you are born
and weather on the day you die. There is
the year of drought, and the year of floods,
when everything rises and swells,
the year when winter will not stop falling,
and the year when summer lightning
burns the prairie, makes it disappear.
There are the weathervanes, dizzy
on top of farmhouses, hurricanes
curled like cats on a map of sky:
there are cows under the trees outlined
in flies. There is the weather that blows
a stranger into town and the weather
that changes suddenly: an argument,
a sickness, a baby born
too soon. Crops fail and a field becomes
a study in hunger; storm clouds
billow over the sea;
tornadoes appear like the drunk
trunks of elephants. People talking about
weather are people who don’t know what to say
and yet the weather is what happens to all of us:
the blizzard that makes our neighborhoods
strange, the flood that carries away
our plans. We are getting ready for the weather,
or cleaning up after the weather, or enduring
the weather. We are drenched in rain
or sweat: we are looking for an umbrella,
a second mitten; we are gathering
wood to build a fire.
“Weather” by Faith Shearin from Orpheus, Turning. © The Broadkill River Press, 2015.