Today is the beginning of a new-to-me season; one of the many in which we humans have tried to reckon our days with meaning. It’s the liturgical season of Ordinary Time, which falls between Pentecost and Advent (in 2019, that means June 10 to November 30). Not having lived a terribly liturgical life—except for a love of Christmas and Easter, and a passing acquaintance with Lent—I wasn’t aware that there was such a thing as a whole season, with such a poetically evocative name, that crossed from spring through summer into autumn every year. And which, in essence, is about the sacredness of the ordinary.
Lacy Clark Ellmann of A Sacred Journey describes the season as follows: “There’s no invitation to keep vigil, like with Advent, or to fast, as with Lent. There’s no specific call to celebrate, as with Christmas or Easter. And, oftentimes there’s no great burst of insight or inspiration, as marked by the Feasts of Epiphany and Pentecost. … If Ordinary Time has an invitation, it’s to stay present to [the] elements of daily life, engaging them with intention and looking for the Sacred hidden within. What so often seems ordinary then has the power to become extraordinary.”
This struck a chord with me, as a poet who often writes as a contemplative practice—as an engagement with nature and with those transcendent moments when suddenly a walk, or a golden moon, or some jewel-colored roadside weed smites you for a while. For me, contemplating and engaging with the spiritual (though not necessarily the religious, per se) provides endless sustenance and “scope for the imagination,” as Anne Shirley would say.
I’ve missed writing as much poetry since becoming a mother almost two years ago. I’ve tried to keep poetry in my life in play-full ways, such as those projects you’ll find on my Work page; but it had continued to suffer a comparison with the long quiet hours I used to have in which to write. But now I see that I need a new perspective; a transition to a new season. As for every good thing which must be kept, a little shapeshifting is in order. It’s okay to change, it’s okay to do the thing you’ve always done a little differently, it’s okay for it to grow because you’ve grown, it’s okay to be flexible with the things you love, and which feed your soul. Maybe there’s no other way to be, in fact.
So an idea occurs: a poetry project. An engagement with a season of ordinary time; one day at a time, one poem at a time. One poem a day, every day of the season. Poems inside moments, as the moments themselves dart in and out of the rhythms of an ordinary day. I suspect the poems will be short; all to the good.
Why not join me? We’ll read and write together, and let the ordinary reveal its extraordinary. I’ll be posting the poems here on my website as well as on Instagram, with the hashtag #poemsinordinarytime. Perhaps a corollary tag could be used for poems written by others that you’d like to share, #poemsforordinarytime. ‘Tis the season!