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Wild and Precious


My birthday marks the first day of summer every year. While thinking about summer vacation and my birthday, Mary Oliver’s quote, “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” kept coming to mind. Ironically, I didn’t realize this quote comes from the poem entitled, “The Summer Day.”


Summer Day

Who made the world?

Who made the swan, and the black bear?

Who made the grasshopper?

This grasshopper, I mean–the one who has flung herself out of the grass.

The one who is eating sugar out of my hand,

who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down–

who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.

Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.

Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.

I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.

I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down

into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,

how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,

which is what I have been doing all day.

Tell me, what else should I have done?

Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?

Tell me, what is it you plan to do

with your one wild and precious life?

by Mary Oliver


As I thought about the quote, my brain kept going back to while we only have one wild and precious life, each summer is also wild and precious. I thought about how it’s so cliche to ask children at the start of a school year, “What did you do over the summer?” Since we’re on the precipice of the summer, I’m thinking about this question from reverse–”What will you do over the summer?”

Just as we can answer a question like, “What do you want to be when you grow up,” with a noun, e.g., a doctor, a lawyer, a police officer, etc., you can also answer the question with an adjective, e.g., kind, fierce, brave, etc. The same, I hope, is true for the question, “What will you do over the summer?” You can think in terms of verbs like, visit family, go to the beach, have campfires, etc. You can also think in terms of adjectives that describe the overall experience you want to have, such as adventurous, relaxing, or transformative. It's not just about the specific activities you engage in, but also the emotions and memories you want to create. Whether it's embarking on a road trip across the country, exploring new hobbies, spending time with old friends, or simply enjoying the blissful tranquility of nature, the adjective we choose to describe our summer plans reflects the essence of how we wish to shape our experiences. It signifies our intention to embrace the season with enthusiasm, openness, and a desire to create moments that resonate deeply within us.

So, when considering what you will do over the summer, think beyond the mere checklist of events and embrace the essence of how you want to feel and the impact you want it to have on your life. After all, in the poem of your life, what do YOU plan to do with this one wild and precious summer?


P.S. My Catch of the Week is the Charcuterie Quote Board Blog. Since she is a former co-worker and dear friend of mine and I am biased to love the work of Melissa Laun (the author of the blog and founder of Karaton Consulting), you will love it too! Melissa uses the concept of a charcuterie board with meats, cheeses, and olives as a metaphor to frame her thoughts. As Melissa wrote in her launch post:

Welcome to the Charcuterie Quote Board Blog, where we serve up inspiration and insight in bite-sized pieces. Just like a delicious charcuterie board, we've carefully curated and selected the best quotes and sliced them into three mouth-watering sections. "The Meat" is the juicy center, where we explore the main idea or meaning behind the quote. "The Cheese" is our special flavor, where we add our own unique perspective and insights. And finally, "The Olives" are the unexpected extras that surprise and delight, providing a fresh and exciting take on the quote.

Whether you're a quote connoisseur or just someone who enjoys a good laugh, there's something for everyone on The Quote Charcuterie Board. So come for the quotes, stay for the meat and cheese, and don't forget to add the olives. Don't miss out on a single bite—subscribe today and join us for the ultimate charcuterie experience!

Melissa’s blog is newer, but all of the posts are worth checking out. I’d recommend her second post, “Conflict: The Surprising Tool to Stop Organizational Decay” and her post from June 12th, “Can 19 Words Unlock The Potential Of Your Team?” Each post is worth sampling and will leave you coming back for more. While you’re there, I encourage you to support Melissa on her journey by subscribing to her blog. I promise you will keep coming back to her posts because, like potato chips, you’ll not be able to eat/read just one.

P.P.S. Please remember to...

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Happy Birthday with Much Love

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