Sage in bloom in my garden a few springs ago.
GIFTS VI. June 8, 2015
The spirit of an artist’s gifts can wake our own. The work appeals, as Joseph Conrad says, to a part of our being which is itself a gift, and not an acquisition. The Gift. Lewis Hyde
How many years left? We never know. I tell
myself twenty-three, but who knows? Even
twenty-three is not very many. So far my
body and mind hold me together. Seventy-seven
isn’t young, but I don’t feel old yet. My aging
has been gradual, gentle, graceful. I rest
more, but I work steadily to prepare books
for publishing and write new ones, too. I
grow food, care for the plants, trees,
creatures, earth where I live and flourish.
I work with others, too, for justice and
well-being in our communal life. Always
the battle: good versus evil. Let my life
help the good, strengthen its place among
us. Let me learn and keep on learning.
Let my life be a beacon to help others see
and understand more than they did before,
lift the smog that obscures the view of cynics.
Let me praise those who quietly do their
best without fanfare. Let me reveal in my
writing the foolishness and wrong-footednes
of the evil-doers, but not forget their
humanity. Let me drop all stereotypes
and glib pronouncements and see beauty
and honesty wherever it flourishes. Let me
face my own problems with wisdom,
courage, and humor, and imagine the
difficulties of others. Let me be patient
with myself and my body and mind. Let
my wisdom increase and my foolishness
fall away. Let me treasure each day, each
creature, plant, being I encounter. All
our gifts are precious, and we, mortal
and flawed though we are, are also gifts
from the Universe, which we inhabit
long enough to leave behind us what
may be cherished when we’re gone.