1075: Translation by Anne Spencer

20240315 SD

1075: Translation by Anne Spencer


I’m Major Jackson and this is The Slowdown.

The last time I camped, a wolf’s howl gave me chills; it brought me closer to some primitive ancestor. I fell asleep to fantasies of leading a pack through boreal forest. The last time I camped, I gazed on evening stars blinking their wondrous code, jeweling the dark sky.

Regrettably, I can no longer cuddle up inside a downy sleeping bag and stare at their secret language. The uneven surface isn’t kind to my back. Poor blood circulation prevents my body from warming up enough to sleep through the night outdoors. A blowup mattress, so often emptied of air by sunrise, only adds to my frustration. As much as I enjoy camping, I can no longer set up a tent purely in the wild, amidst the elements.

I am at the stage where the only option is… glamping. Give me a queen platform bed with organic linens. My outdoor adventures must come with electricity, a heated, full-sized yurt, and a coffee maker. Forget bending down to a gas camping stove. Give me an on-site chef, who will deliver gourmet sandwiches in a splint oak woven basket. If s’mores will be had, then let them torch over a smokeless fire pit.

What is unexchangeable is company. Something about outdoor camping remains decidedly romantic. Staying warm together and drinking a glass of wine or hot chocolate on a cold night while watching shooting stars make for incomparable bonding experiences.

Today’s poem underscores the richness and luster of outdoor experiences that grants us pleasures in nature, but also a stillness of spirit.

by Anne Spencer

We trekked into a far country,
My friend and I.
Our deeper content was never spoken,
But each knew all the other said.
He told me how calm his soul was laid
By the lack of anvil and strife.
“The wooing kestrel,” I said, “mutes his mating-note
To please the harmony of this sweet silence.”
And when at the day’s end
We laid tired bodies ’gainst 
The loose warm sands,
And the air fleeced its particles for a coverlet;
When star after star came out
To guard their lovers in oblivion—
My soul so leapt that my evening prayer
Stole my morning song!