2017 Grateful 32

Lots of things to be grateful for today…

  • That I stayed up all night in case I slept through the alarm and missed my flight (as nearly happened in March with Cuba)
  • That the security queue in Schiphol airport only took 50 minutes – it could have been far worse
  • That the gate agent promised me my bag would have time to transfer planes in Panama City
  • That the airport has a lovely library seating area with free wifi close to my gate (I might just get that final paper finished before I head off)
  • That the painter is busy working on the house while I’m gone – I am looking forward to coming back to clean walls
  • That I found a stash of dollars I didn’t get to use in Cuba
  • That Costa Rica takes US dollars
  • That I tripped over a box of W5 stain remover wipes and stuck some in my bag before I left – I needed them at 4.30 this morning as my hand/mouth coordination was a little off
  • That I was asleep before taking off in Budapest and only woke on landing in Amsterdam
  • That the airport pharmacy stocked 50% DEET mosquito repellent
  • That my Kindle is fully charged and loaded
  • That even though I’m travelling solo, good company awaits in San José

But most of all, I’m grateful to CR for sending on this poem by Nobel Laureate Wisława Szymborska, translated from the Polish by Joanna Trzeciak. It’s called A Little Bit About the Soul – just what I need for some inflight reflection.

A soul is something we have every now and then.
Nobody has one all the time
or forever.

Day after day,
year after year,
can go by without one.

Only sometimes in rapture
or in the fears of childhood
it nests a little longer.
Only sometimes in the wonderment
that we are old.

It rarely assists us
during tiresome tasks,
such as moving furniture,
carrying suitcases,
or traveling on foot in shoes too tight.

When we’re filling out questionnaires
or chopping meat
it’s usually given time off.

Out of our thousand conversations
it participates in one,
and even that isn’t a given,
for it prefers silence.

When the body starts to ache and ache
it quietly steals from its post.

It’s choosy:
not happy to see us in crowds,
sickened by our struggle for any old advantage
and the drone of business dealings.

It doesn’t see joy and sorrow
as two different feelings.
It is with us
only in their union.
We can count on it
when we’re not sure of anything
and curious about everything.

Of all material objects
it likes grandfather clocks
and mirrors, which work diligently
even when no one is looking.

It doesn’t state where it comes from
or when it will vanish again,
but clearly it awaits such questions.

Evidently,
just as we need it,
it can also use us
for something.

 

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