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The Sacred in the Quotidian

Fall, 2005

Barbara Crooker

All That Is Glorious Around Us

(title of an exhibit on The Hudson River School)

is not, for me, these grand vistas, sublime peaks, mist-filled overlooks
towering clouds, but doing errands on a day of driving rain, staying dry
inside the silver skin of the car, 160,000 miles, still running just fine.
Or later, sitting in a café warmed by the steam from white chicken chili, two cups
of dark coffee, watching the red and gold leaves race down the street, confetti
from autumn’s bright parade. And I think of how my mother struggles to breathe,
how few good days she has now, how we never think about the glories of breath,
oxygen cascading down our throats to the lungs, simple as the journey of water
over rock. It is the nature of stone/ to be satisfied/ writes Mary Oliver, It is the nature
of water/to want to be somewhere else, rushing down a rocky tor or high escarpment,
the panoramic landscape boundless behind it. But everything glorious is around us already:
black and blue graffiti shining in the rain’s bright glaze, the small rainbows of oil
on the pavement, where the last car to park has left its mark on the glistening street,
this radiant world.

-----winner of the WB Yeats Society of NY Poetry Prize, 2004, chosen by Grace Schulman