Lucy, the main character in Kim Edward's new novel "The Lake of Dreams" thinks of a *Mary Oliver poem as her family's history and her future is cracked wide open. It is "What is it you plan to do/With your one wild and precious life?"
And that, that connection of a line from a great poem quoted by a fictional character in a contemporary novel that weaves the past and future of a family seamlessly is what it's all about. Because even though I am immersed in the novel, when I leave the book it stays with me. It makes me think. It makes me question what I plan to do with my one wild and precious life. And it makes me think about some of the stories of the people that came before me in my family. Especially, my great-great aunt Tilly.
Tilly has been on my mind again lately. I am the keeper of her chair as well as her postcard collection. Tilly and her husband Art never had children, and thru the briefest of stories on the backs of these hundreds of postcards she received from 1904-1911 I have gotten to know her a little bit. I have wondered how or if our lives are woven together.
Do I know the answer to that? Do I know the answer to what I will do with this one wild precious life of mine? No. But I like the questions. And the possibilities. And the book that made me think about them.
Kim Edwards is my guest this week on Realgoodwords. Hope you get a chance to hear it!
*The Summer Day by Mary Oliver
Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
With your one wild and precious life?