Wednesday, February 18, 2009

"...whatever good we did...."

When I was growing up my mom impressed upon us kids a philosophy that has stuck with me ...

"Always try to leave a room, a place, a person, the day - a little better for your being there."

When we left a room we learned to take something with us to put away, wipe a table, straighten pillows on the sofa. Other times we brought something inside to leave there for others to enjoy - a pretty stone or leaf - a funny clip from the newspaper. When we went for a walk or a bike ride and happened upon trash we picked it up. At a restaurant, no matter McDonald's or nice - we were expected to not leave a mess on the table (it makes me shudder to see what others so often leave today) and we were sure to take note and express appreciation for kindnesses and services rendered - more than just a monetary "tip".

When you do these things yourself you tend to notice them more when they are done for and around you, I think and inspires a grateful heart. Living with this philosophy makes for a better feeling at the end of the day - to realize that as you are offering up your own thanks for countless good moments .... your own presence has been a reason for some small gladness somewhere - to someone.

This poem by Marvin Bell is dear to my heart - not only because it perfectly and beautifully expresses my need and dependence upon nature to restore my soul each day ... but because the last lines also express my firm belief in my mom's teaching and says it better than I ever could:

Around Us

Marvin Bell

We need some pines to assuage the darkness
when it blankets the mind,
we need a silvery stream that banks as smoothly
as a plane's wing, and a worn bed of
needles to pad the rumble that fills the mind,
and a blur or two of a wild thing
that sees and is not seen. We need these things
between appointments, after work,
and, if we keep them, then someone someday,
lying down after a walk
and supper, with the fire hole wet down,
the whole night sky set at a particular
time, without numbers or hours, will cause
a little sound of thanks--a zipper or a snap--
to close round the moment and the thought
of whatever good we did.

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