The World Is Too Much With Me

Hatcher's Pass, Alaska

Hatcher’s Pass, Alaska
(and yes, it really was amazingly green)

The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers;—
Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!
This Sea that bares her bosom to the moon;
The winds that will be howling at all hours,
And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers;
For this, for everything, we are out of tune;
It moves us not. Great God! I’d rather be
A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn;
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,
Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;
Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea;
Or hear old Triton blow his wreathèd horn.
–William Wordsworth

I had a really tough time coming to the page tonight (and yesterday).  A tornado of thoughts and emotions are swirling around in my mind and heart.  And while I’ve always thought myself more of a fiction writer than an essayist, writers write, right?  So here I am with my words tumbling and stumbling along like a diaspore waiting for the wind to disperse its seeds so they can take root and grow.

I have to trust that somewhere, at the end of this, a purpose will present itself.  What is life without meaning?  I still haven’t found mine, but I’m trusting in the process.

My soul is heavy with injustices I can’t counter and false blames I can’t deflect.  It’s times like these that I want to run off into the woods, away from people, away from the sorrows and trials of my everyday. I want to be someplace that feels real and honest.

Sky.  Trees.  Quiet.  Stars.
The rich smell of damp earth.
Mountains that make me feel small.

When I dream of a simple life, I dream of these things.

The world is too much with me.  These days I can’t take a step without sinking knee-deep into a pothole.  Is this what Wordsworth meant?  Of course it is.  He saw this coming more than 200 years ago.  I’m just personalizing it.  For this, for everything, we are out of tune…

I want to walk quietly and gently through this world.  There’s too much shouting to hear inside my own head, and too many distractions to remember what’s real.  That flickering light on the TV screen and the screeching of brakes–that’s a different kind of real.

How do I change this?  How do I find the silence in the chaos of everyday?  I’ve tried deep breathing and meditation, acupuncture and exercise, drumming and surrendering myself to a higher power and more, but nothing lasts.

I’ve been asking these questions for 20 years and I may have to learn to be content with the only answers I’ve ever received.  A breath of wind against my cheek.  A sudden storm as I start to cry.


9 thoughts on “The World Is Too Much With Me

  1. What a beautiful post Michelle, I´ve just come back to read your lines a third time. And those words of yours, which tumbled and stumbled, they´re so touching.
    I actually moved back to the woods a few years ago and love it . . . most of the time. For me, it´s healthier living where there are less sensory stimulus and where what comes is natural music to my senses and soul. But there are also moments and days where I wished I lived closer to town and the buzz. Here, there are loads of trees, megazillions of birds, squirrels, wild pigs, snakes, you name it. But there are no interesting people & no good conversations, no concerts (except the morning one by the birds), no cafés and no general buzz of a city.
    As you wrote: “nothings lasts” . . . and sometimes I find comfort in precisely that.


    • Wow Inge. Thanks so much! I’m glad you are enjoying my words. I wish I read German so I could read your blog when it is up and running. I was really drawn to your post in the Facebook group–so honest. It left me wanting to read more and feeling like you were a kindred spirit across the great pond.

      I think I suffer from too much grating sensory stimuli and not enough natural music. Ideally I’d like to live in the woods, but close enough to a city to take in a performance or visit a gallery as the urge came upon me. Being every day in the noise and bustle makes me not able to appreciate the good things that the city offers. I want to run away from it as soon as I have an opportunity to leave because by that time my senses are overfull of nonsense. Sigh.


      • “. . . my senses are overfull of nonsense” – although the dilema is obvious, I find that so well said Michelle and also pretty damn funny, in it´s own way. There´s a lot of potential in those few words, I mean, one could fill whole books just listing “today´s nonsense for the senses”.
        Creating and integrating “soul food” habits for every day and every week helps me to cope with crazy, overrun situations. And when my senses are overfull with nonsense (don´t mind me using that, do you?!) that´s where I try save myself to.
        BTW I´m back to thinking I should write my blog in English. It´s because that post of mine which came out as a blurt, came in English, not in German. And that´s the place inside of me where I want to write from. It warms my heart and gives me confidence knowing that you´d be interested in following. Thank you so much for putting that into words.


  2. I was drawn into this post by the mention and lovely photo of Alaska. I stayed for the beautiful words.

    It would be great to find silence in the chaos of the everyday. It’s so hard sometimes, but it’s something inner, I believe. A calmness that exudes from within.


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