Sometimes I want to start these posts the way Garrison Keillor's introduces The Writer's Almanac, "And here is the 100 Word Challenge for Monday the 10th of September, 2012.", and then make some mention of literary moments in history, and read you a poem.
Garrison was the anchor to my morning ritual that year I lived in the Vermont cottage on the hill - the one where my friend M named the great banks of snow pressing on the picture windows, "snow elephants". I was recently separated, working full-time for the first time in several years after raising up my babies to school age, feeling anxious about catching up on whatever life I thought I might have lost in that time I was married, and still, not then, not ever, a morning person.
It worked out that The Writer's Almanac started at just the time I needed to have the three of us in the car to ensure we all made it to our schools and work on time. Where I had never been much motivated by time schedules, I prided myself on getting us all to the car at just the moment that when I turned the key, the musical prelude would be just starting.
I had such a need for that little 5 minute radio spot in the morning at that time in my life. I needed to hear Garrison Keillor's voice, I needed to listen to the poetry, needed to be soothed, needed that oral, fatherly reassurance, needed that anchor, that reason to pull it all together in the morning - just one morning at a time - during that time when I was so frightfully clueless about what was coming next.
I always particularly loved when Keillor read anything by Mary Oliver. Not because Oliver is my favorite poet, but that Keillor's breathy baritone paired beautifully with Oliver's haunting simplicity. It is not a coincidence I planned, I promise you, but just now checking The Writer's Almanac I see a poem by Oliver was featured today. Of course, then, of course the word prompt must come from In Blackwater Woods:
Do read the poem, even if you don't like poetry. Better yet, click the "listen" button.