Yes, I've been away. Like great world leaders of generations past, I took to my western ranch for a working vacation. By working, I mean gin. Some time in the Montana mountains was evidently just what I needed to come back feeling lazier than ever. I did, however, make a recess appointment to the Going40 cabinet. Ann W, frequent commenter and renowned teacher of lit'rature, is our new Poetry Curator-in-Residence. I asked her to begin her term by sharing a poem that we can all memorize together, one that encapsulates this particular time of year, when summer is on the wane but we're not quite ready to think of autumn. Think of it as Going40 secret code: you're at a party; you recite a line from the poem out loud, as you're loading down your plate with macaroons. From across the room, someone you've never seen before echoes the line. You both pause and smile, and then, from down the street, you hear the stanza completed by the disembodied voice of a teenager going by on her longboard. Nirvana. So here, a poem by William Stafford:
Why I am Happy
Now has come, an easy time. I let it
roll. There is a lake somewhere
so blue and far nobody owns it.
A wind comes by and a willow listens
I hear all this, every summer. I laugh
and cry for every turn of the world,
its terribly cold, innocent spin.
That lake stays blue and free; it goes
on and on.
And I know where it is.