10/2/09

Wise Women Friday: Linda Dove

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Words of wisdom from American poet Linda Dove:

Awe proves unsustainable...

Can we talk some more about my dog? What I love about my dog is that -- for her-- every pleasure is always sustainable. She is all exclamation points. "OMG! This kibble is fantastic!" "We're going for a walk! OMG! That's just what I've always wanted to do! "Squirrel!" "Cat!" Car ride." "Bacon!"

When my children were toddlers, they were like my dog in that every morning they woke up raring to go, battery charged, as if to say, "Look! I'm conscious! We better get busy!"

At some point that stopped. At some point their awe became unsustainable. They took it for granted that morning would follow night, that lunch would follow breakfast, and that chicken gets really boring after a very short time. They became like the rest of us.

"Awe is unsustainable." But why? What evolutionary advantage does that confer? How does it help us, but not dogs? Why?

P.S.: You might want to check out Linda Dove's blog, http://lindadove.blogspot.com, for more of her poems and wise musings. She also has a new book of poetry, In Defense of Objects, available at Bear Star Press.
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16 comments:

Desiree said...

Um, did you already do a goddess of envy? Because I am currently in her clutches--
Kudos to the two of you, kiddos!

gaelikaa said...

Enthusiasm, awe, delight! These are the things which actually make life enjoyable. Without them we become disinterested, depressed, lethargic... How to keep those sensations alive is the challenge, in a way...I suppose....

Linda Dove said...

Before I read this, I never connected that line from the river poem to an epigraph (also in the book) of Louise Gluck's: "We look at the world once in childhood. / The rest is memory."

Thanks to your words, now I see that the two have been talking to each other in my book--and obviously somewhere in my head--all along.

Thank you.

Lynne said...

Your children are young and for the most part have wonderful lives so they take it for granted. I believe that one of the purposes of life is to experience things and to do that you need contrast. You can't know what you like unless you've experienced what you don't like. If every day was 40 degrees you would never know what hot means. Once you have experienced adversity you appreciate the rest much more. Some day the children will learn to be in awe of the little things again, when they've experienced more of life. Dogs (and cats) live in the moment, not the future or the past, so they are good examples for us all!

Joanne said...

Interesting, but I think that awe is sustainable to a certain degree, just not all encompassing ... Who ever is not in awe of the ocean? A sunset? A perfect concert? In many instances, that awe really never fades. Thank goodness!

Cafe Observer said...

Yes, we can talk some more about your dog!
And, yes, I do wanna check out Linda's dog as well!!

Continue your great work, MF!

altadenahiker said...

I actually do know of one man who walks around in a constant state of ecstacy; he lives in a "home" about a mile away, and scares me when he shouts, "shake it, gorgeous!"

I think there is an evolutionary advantage to living with the jaw off the ground at least half the time. That gives you time to pay bills, weed, clean, and, you know, write blogs.

(Great post though. And we're all getting Linda's book.)

Vanda said...

Cats on the other hand...

... daisy... said...

It's terrifying how much we take for granted when we grow up. Very sad too. Sometimes we should just stop from our distressful life. Get off the busy "train". And have a good look at all the beautiful things (sometimes they're so small you have to give them a second glance) and we will find something!!!
My parents often tells me "why are you so in wonder? it's an absolutely normal thing" when I just watch something that strikes me open mouthed and with a smile.
I hope I won't lose that too when I "grow up"! ;-)
Love your dog! She must be wonderful!

Italo said...

buahhahahhahahahahhahahahah

kanmuri said...

If awe was sustainable people would be satisfied with what they have and we wouldn't evolve.

Petrea said...

I think Linda's wise, for many reasons. I also think awe is unsustainable for many reasons, sort of like what the Hiker said. But it's not gone. We visit it or allow it to visit us, and in those moments we're blessed.

Shell Sherree said...

Awe may be unsustainable, but dogs and cats never fail to bring out the Awwww in me!

pasadenaadjacent said...

really smart... I welcome the bite that leaves me speechless.

Kate said...

Yup!! That's why I want to get a dog. But you're right about small kids - the baby was shrieking with delight over a packet of pens she'd picked up. Literally laughing with pleasure as she held each one up to share with me. Fantastic.

Daisy said...

I will tell you the secret! We dogs _live_ in the _present moment_. If I'm enjoying a bit of ice cream, I don't worry about my gorgeous figure, I enjoy the ice cream. Humans need to learn how to do this more .... live now, not eat more ice cream, tho that's good too! :o)