Swimming Upstream

Through her famous poem, Wild Geese
Mary Oliver reminds us that we don’t have to be good, 
nudges us to leave self-punishment behind

She elaborates that we must begin to allow, 
Permit the soft animal inside us to “love what it loves”

I interpret this as making room for instinct to arise 
So that we may meet her with kindness.

And in this form, let us be wild — Let us be free!
Together wild and free may we each express, without fear.

Remembering, that wild does not mean savage. 
And freedom does not mean individuated.

Like the schooling of wild salmon
Coursing through cold waters as ONE
Accessing ancient knowledge, teamwork — collaboration
So that the individual is safe, and the group makes it home again.

For the Salmon, home is not only the place they lay nest. 
Home is more than their scaley bodies; their home is the entire sea 
Filtering and feeding on every single drop of ocean 
droplets which transform their bodies and influence their lives.

We humans too are this sensitive, continuous with landform and air
Like fish out of water do we filter experience, emotion and environment.

Consuming, integrating — relating and incorporating 
Into our sensation of ourselves — our own cells.

As we come to know this more intimately
We may just find ourselves feeling as ONE too… 
continuous with the world around us.

So if we find ourselves uncomfortable, sensitive and itching
It might do us well not to blame ourselves but to look at the waters
Maybe your skin is itching, and you’re swimming in Chlorine. Sanitized
Suppressed.

This water was never meant for drinking and we’re bathing in it 
Drinking through our skin and blaming ourselves
for the intoxication.

Do we have choice?
It think so.

Employing instinct, trust and relationship
We can work together like Salmon, 
which might mean that we have to swim upstream
but after all that’s wild and free is for.

Grace Davies