Home > Dispatches > Daily Dispatches 2021 >Daily Dispatch #58

February 27, 2021: Otherwise

I got out of bed
on two strong legs.
It might have been
otherwise. I ate
cereal, sweet
milk, ripe, flawless
peach. It might
have been otherwise.
I took the dog uphill
to the birch wood.
All morning I did
the work I love.

At noon I lay down
with my mate. It might
have been otherwise.
We ate dinner together
at a table with silver
candlesticks. It might
have been otherwise.
—Jane Kenyon

This is one of my favorite poems of all times. It came to mind towards the end of the day as I walked Hrimmi around the loop. She felt good and was moving at fast pace. As I walked, I first thought about how it was a seemingly ordinary day


– in fact, I could have made some substitutions in Jane’s poem. I, for instance, began the day by tending to the animals and then went inside and ate breakfast. All morning I did the work I love.

After, Pete, who was on his way to school, dropped me off at the recycling center, and there I spent the rest of the morning and a part of the afternoon (happily) sorting books. There were, as always, so many good books. And now it seems like we have a system where in short order the books are sorted and prepared to go to their next destinations.

An older couple found their way into the bookstore, and I gave them an assist picking out books. They were assembling a library. They took good books, some that had been there a while. I also gave them books that I’d salvaged today. It made me feel good – as if to say, well, this is what the project has become.

Pete picked me, we came home and got Raudi and Tyra out for a ride. The loud snow machiners were out in force. I tried to ignore them and be grateful for the fact that I was out riding.

We returned to the barn and I took Tinni and then Hrimmi for a walk. And on this walk, I again thought about this poem.

Pete and I did eat dinner together.
I slept in a bed
in a room with paintings
on the walls, and
planned another day
just like this day.

And soon, I will go to sleep in my own bed. I do not have paintings on the wall – but just an old calendar. This room, it is where I rest up, and plan for tomorrow, another day just like this day.

Kenyon has written a poem of gratitude. She takes delight in the simple, ordinary, commonplace, so much so that she hopes that tomorrow will be much the same.

My sentiments are the same as hers. I want another day like today. That’s gratitude.

Kenyon concludes:
But one day, I know,
it will be otherwise

She may be considering her own mortality here. And it’s sadly ironic that shortly after she wrote this poem she died of ovarian cancer. Kenyon may also be thinking that because no two days are exactly alike, that tomorrow may have some unexpected twists and turns. That she is able to (as Wordsworth would say) “see into the life of things,” again take delight in the commonplace. Me too.

Next: 59. 2/28/21: It Could have Been Otherwise

Horse Care Home About Us Dispatches Trips Alys's Articles