Happy Eggs and Autumn Leaves

On Monday morning, I woke up with a serious case of the grumpies. The cranky feelings had started to creep in the night before, increased when my sleep was disrupted by the snores of my husband, and welcomed me into the waking world when the first thoughts of the day were how many tasks and responsibilities lay before me. My generally cheery disposition tried to rally, whispering encouragement to me, reminding me that the day would be as pleasant or awful as I chose to make it, to which my surly self responded “Shut up, stupid.”

I reluctantly rose from the bed, fed the cat, fed the dog, pulled on my muck boots, and went outside to let the chickens out of their night pen and replenish their stock of food and water. Scowling, I looked in the nesting box and picked up the egg lying there. It was splendid: a warm, brown, perfect oval of beauty. As I held it in my hand, I could feel my mood begin to lift as I thought about how very fortunate I am to be able to enjoy fresh eggs every day from chickens who delight me with their antics and their funny chicken noises. It was a moment of sunshine breaking through the grey clouds under which I awoke.

I walked back in the house with the happy egg and was given pause by the brilliant play of color on the tree in the front yard as the sun hit it just right. After that moment, any hope of wallowing in sullenness was washed away from me. Even when the incorrigible Maggie escaped from the run yet again and I stood out in the front yard in my muck boots, pajamas, and messy hair trying to coax her into following me, I was wowed by the beauty of a white chicken set against the backdrop of fallen autumn leaves.  The egg I had picked up less than an hour before had seemingly bewitched me into seeing beauty everywhere. To be disgruntled when I am surrounded by excellence and wonder in the ordinary goings-on of my day would mean dishonoring the myriad small delights with which I am graced.

I thought back to Monday morning as I read the following poem by Mary Oliver this morning. It so eloquently sums up my own experience, and it is too good to keep to myself today. Happy Wednesday, everyone!

Mindful by Mary Oliver

Every day
I see or hear
that more or less

kills me
with delight,
that leaves me
like a needle

in the haystack
of light.
It was what I was born for –
to look, to listen,

to lose myself
inside this soft world –
to instruct myself
over and over

in joy,
and acclamation.
Nor am I talking
about the exceptional,

the fearful, the dreadful,
the very extravagant –
but of the ordinary,
the common, the very drab,

the daily presentations.
Oh, good scholar,
I say to myself,
how can you help

but grow wise
with such teachings
as these –
the untrimmable light

of the world,
the ocean’s shine,
the prayers that are made
out of grass?

One response to “Happy Eggs and Autumn Leaves

  1. Sometimes that’s all it takes–that one simple thing of such astounding beauty and simplicity to make our world a charmed place to live in.
    And thank you for posting Mary Olive’s wonderful poem.

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