H. A. Byrd

Going out to clean the pasture spring 

I'm going out to clean the pasture spring;
I'll only stop to rake the leaves away
(And wait to watch the water clear, I may):
I sha'n't be gone long.—You come too.

I'm going out to fetch the little calf
That's standing by the mother. It's so young,
It totters when she licks it with her tongue.
I sha'n't be gone long.—You come too.

In this Robert Frost poem, the narrator seems to be speaking to the object of his love, but who he truly addresses is the reader. We see that cleaning up debris, the residue of rebirth, is a natural task related to the human condition. We make way for the new season, we ready new life to thrive. The poem is an invitation to let go of old patterns and so allow new perceptions. This is an opportunity to grow, and perhaps to be healed.

On our journey through time, humanity has faced many crossroads. America stands at one of those junctions now, with most citizens reeling from exhaustion, and burdened with dismay at the condition of our collective soul. What a shock it has been to learn just how many whites still subscribe to the racism cultivated by ultra-wealthy plantation owners of the nineteenth century.

This has proved a time of self-examination for us all, a worldwide pause, an opportunity to look in the mirror. A pandemic has put a large percentage of us into isolation with plenty of time to take stock. History has reared its head as an important study, and most of us have engaged more with civics than we ever have before.

What better time to think about who we are, as individuals! Advanced age has made me more introspective. It seems to me that we can always discover new things about ourselves. And one interesting subject to consider is our personal influences. The character of even the most self-determined of us is the product of the minds of others.

Who in your life made an impression on you or guided you as a child? Did you have teachers who changed your life? Most of us have received direction from books we’ve read or stories we’ve heard. The Boy Who Cried Wolf taught us to tell the truth. Do you remember if that story scared you? What story did? Did you ever read a novel which made you feel like a different person after you’d finished? Perhaps a movie, or even a song, has made a difference.

I think this is a great time to think about who we are, what we want out of life, and how we are going to get there.

Photo credit: unsplash.com/@sharon_co
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Copyright © 2020 Harriet Arden Byrd