Sunday, January 23, 2011


The word settling has such negative connotations in my mind's eye.  The image of sitting across from some man at a breakfast table with bad coffee, nothing to say, wondering if there is someone better somewhere else.  I want to begin again.  To imagine settling into a place, settling into a community, people who read books, watch movies, think 30 Rock is hilarious and believe in fairies and woodsprites.

I've posted the poem before, when a rainy day in L.A. reminded me of Oregon.  But I'm reminded of Settling again, now that I'm living in Portland, surrounded by bare branches, puddles that reflect grey skies, now that I'm considering what it means to settle in somewhere. 

I was welcomed here — clear gold
of late summer, of opening autumn,
the dawn eagle sunning himself on the highest tree,
the mountain revealing herself unclouded, her snow
tinted apricot as she looked west,
tolerant, in her steadfastness, of the restless sun
forever rising and setting.

                                   Now I am given
a taste of the grey foretold by all and sundry,
a grey both heavy and chill. I've boasted I would not care,
I'm London-born. And I won't. I'll dig in,
into my days, having come here to live, not to visit.
Grey is the price
of neighboring with eagles, of knowing
a mountain's vast presence, seen or unseen.

~Denise Levertov, "Settling"

(Photo: NYMag)

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