Friday, October 19, 2007

Our Choices

This week I attended the Western Literature Conference in Tacoma, WA. I had the pleasure of spending some quality time with the poignant and powerful poet Tess Gallagher.

I want to share one of her short poems with you, as I just cannot stop thinking about it:


I go to the mountain side
of the house to cut saplings,
and clear a view to the snow
on the mountain. But when I look up,
saw in hand, I see a nest clutched in
the uppermost branches.
I don't cut that one.
I don't cut the others either.
Suddenly, in every tree,
an unseen nest
where a mountain
would be.

-Tess Gallagher, Dear Ghosts,

I think of the choices we have in this life. We can choose to treat ourselves well or poorly; we can choose to see what is in front of us this very moment or ignore it; we can see people and ideas through one narrow lens or through a kaleidoscope of different angles and perspectives. How many nests (literal or figurative) have been removed for the sake of a better view?

Try this:
Write about what choices you have made in your life that you feel have been mindful, thoughtful, and filled with integrity. What event or moment allowed you to see something clearly for the first time? What happens when you feel you have no choice, when you feel stuck or trapped?

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