Wilderness and song

Wilderness is unhabitable and somehow conjures up intrigue through the wildness that runs rampant. It is part of each of us- our story will have some wilderness threaded into it. The question is how to let its texture shape us- will it be like silken shantung with bumps that call attention away from the sheen of color? I like the idea in the story of the Exodus of manna raining down from the sky and only today noticed the part that said the people ate manna “for forty years, until they reached a habitable land.” I am hearing of more friends and people losing their jobs in this economy and am not dismayed, but feel the weight of their burden on my shoulders. May we in this season of wilderness find gift in the small moments of manna dropping around us daily. To this end, I suggest Louise Gluck’s “Song” below from her collection “The Wild Iris.”

Song by Louise Gluck

Like a protected heart,
the blood-red
flower of the wild rose begins
to open on the lowest branch,
supported by the netted
mass of a large shrub:
it blooms against the dark
which is the heart’s constant
backdrop, while flowers
higher up have wilted or rotted;
to survive
adversity merely
deepens its color. But John
objects, he thinks
if this were not a poem but
an actual garden, then
the red rose would be
required to resemble
nothing else, neither
another flower nor
the shadowy heart, at
earth level pulsing
half maroon, half crimson.

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