Meditation: On Minimalism

Meditation: On Minimalism

Maxwell Ryan
Jan 20, 2008

Our remarkable poet laureate, Shannon Holman, is away in Indonesia for a few months of R&R. In the meantime, we'll be revisiting her earliest meditations. This one goes all the way back to January 14, 2005. Enjoy!

I'm just back from a trip to my old hometown of Eden, NC. There's not much to please a designer's eye in that defeated mill town turned endless strip mall, and our family farm, Sunset Dairy, has long since been turned into subdivisions. But I am a proud member of a family that believes in the healing power of ham biscuits, and Dick's Drive-in still serves them up with plenty of gravy.

We had gathered to celebrate the birthday of my Aunt Kate, social worker, bluegrass fan, Carolina barbecue connoisseur, and cancer patient. We secured permission to take her out of the hospital long enough to share a meal with scores of friends and family, and the next morning my dad and I slipped away from the crowd for a walk in the woods...

The last parcel of his land will be put up for sale this year, so we found a good spot in the gully of scrubby pines and I spaded up a Mason jar full of earth to take back to New York with me. Sometimes minimalism just means surprising yourself with how little you really need.

Raymond Carver, who died of cancer in 1988, still makes good company on trips like these, and here in its entirety is his poem "Late Fragment:"

And did you get what
you wanted from this life, even so?
I did. And what did you want?
To call myself beloved, to feel myself
beloved on the Earth.


(RePublished from 2005-01-14 - MGR)

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