Living With Poetry | To Minnesota and Back

Living with Poetry is an occasional series where we explore how poetry infuses our everyday lives. Catch up with past features here.

Minneapolis from the air

Last week I told you about some changes in my life, and it led me to Minnesota. I spent the last few days of April in a suburb outside Minneapolis, visiting the global headquarters of the organization I recently joined. That's right, I have a new job! (I should specify that my time in Minnesota was short term. I'll be working out of the Los Angeles office.)

Even on business trips, food is a high priority, but not being stationed in downtown Minneapolis left me with fewer exciting options to explore. At first I wrote a paragraph detailing the disappointing food I encountered, but decided to shift gears, focus on the good things, and tell you what I loved about Minnesota instead.

The Hertz car rental desk. The woman who helped me was incredibly nice and talkative, and in between asking if I wanted extra insurance or the gas package, told me about the elderly neighbor she was planning to check on after work to be sure her basement wasn't flooded from the recent rains. So sweet! 

The accents. Yes, I love them. It made me want to watch New In Town again.

My new job. This was a business trip, my first with a new organization, and it signifies a new chapter in my life I'm excited to begin. I'm still working in philanthropy, but this time at a corporate foundation, and my role involves social media, content development, and community engagement. Fun! 

A little bit of rain, a little bit of snow.

The high-tech terminal for my departing flight. There were iPads everywhere, and instead of long rows of uncomfortable chairs, sleek desks with plugs at every station. Very fancy. I had my most memorable meal here before boarding my flight back to LA, at a Parisian-tiled bistro, where I ordered and paid for my meal straight from an iPad. A lightly dressed salad accompanied by a mushroom, goat cheese and tomato jam grilled sandwich hit the spot.

Meeting Sarah. This was a highlight, as Sarah is one of my favorite bloggers. The food we shared was decidedly mediocre, but we cozied up in a corner table in my hotel's restaurant, with a view of the dimly-lit pond and fountain. It was also raining, so there was something poetic about the whole thing. We laughed about how salty the soup was and how much lime laced the guacamole. It wasn't an epic food blogger meal, but the company was what really mattered. (She also managed to snap the photo of me below.)

Despite the rain (and a little bit of snow), the trip was refreshing and inspiring. On my flight home, I started reading Reduced to Joy by Mark Nepo, a gift from a friend, and turned to the following poem, reminding me that even in the midst of change and transition, the best thing I can do is step back and listen.

On the Ridge

We can grow by simply lis- 
tening, the way the tree on 
that ridge listens its branches
to the sky, the way blood 
listens its flow to the site
of a wound, the way you 
listen like a basin when 
my head so full of grief 
can’t look you in the eye. 
We can listen our way out 
of anger, if we let the heart 
soften the wolf we keep in- 
side. We can last by listening 
deeply, the way roots reach for 
the next inch of earth, the way 
an old turtle listens all he hears 
into the pattern of his shell. 
— Mark Nepo