When the Season Behind You Kicked Your Rear BAD
Updated: Nov 20, 2018
“Lord, it is time!
The summer was immense
Lay Your shadow on the sundials
And loose the wind in the fields”
Rainier Maria Wilkes (1st Stanza of the poem, Autumn Day”
I have this poem handwritten on the windowsill directly above our kitchen sink. When I heard this poem for the first time several weeks ago, it was being read aloud on the “The Daily Poem” podcast; the morning sun was filling up my bedroom with light and I felt at that moment such kinship with the world. I knew that Wilkes must have had the kind of summer that I’ve had: intense and stretching and awful.
“Lord, it is time! The summer was immense”
I have breathed and shouted and muttered these words to myself so many times since that first hearing. It has been a good thing to have some words to hang onto, to wrap my bruised heart around and know that others have had “immense” times and that it’s simply a part of being human. That doesn’t make it any easier. But looking back I see some lessons already learned. As more time goes on, and I feel less raw about it all, I’ll have more to reflect over.
But here’s my first public attempt to summarize some key takeaways:
1. Your gut is probably right. But other people don’t have access to your “gut” so you’re going to need to clearly communicate your concerns/fears/frustrations. I did a terrible job being clear and assertive about some issues in my life involving others – I will be less emotional (that’s the hard part) and be ok with people not liking me in the future. Being unpopular for a time takes strength but it’s necessary to have a backbone if you’re going to be happy.
2. Address a problem immediately. “Complexifiying” is a term I heard recently from Brad Feld. He says a simple mistake becomes complexified when you don’t deal with the mistake and instead make another mistake on top of the first. Just deal with the first mistake with candor and empathy (whether it’s yours or someone else’s) and don’t imagine it will all get better eventually. No such thing.
For now, as I move into a better, happier season, I feel a bit like a dog that was kicked around a whole bunch but is now in a better, safe home. Gun-shy? Yep. Hopeful? Yep. Wiser? Yep. Carrying some wounds? Yep. But I’m moving on. Cheers!
For those interested, the entire “Autumn Day” by Wilkes is lovely and haunting. I’ve typed it out here for your enjoyment. And I highly recommend the Circe Institute’s podcast, The Daily Poem. 3-5 minutes of pure literary loveliness with a teeny bit of analysis. As a poetry newbie, this has been a great resource.
by Rainier Maria Wilkes
Lord it is time!
The summer was immense
Lay your shadow on the sundials
And let loose the wind in the field
Bid the last fruits to be full
Give them another two more southerly days
Press them to ripeness and chase the last sweetness into the heavy wine
Whoever has no house now will not build one anymore
Whoever is alone now will remain so for a long time
And will stay up, read, write long letters
Wander the avenues up and down restlessly
While the leaves are blowing