• Gretel Enck

Who Likes It?



Mary Ruefle shares an Osage poem she translated into English when she was young:


To have to carry your own corn far—

who likes it?

To follow the black bear through the thicket—

who likes it?

To hunt without profit, to return weary without anything—

who likes it?

You have to carry your own corn far.

You have to follow the black bear.

You have to hunt to no profit.


If not, what will you tell the little ones? What will you

speak of?

For it is bad not to use the talk which God has sent us.


My version today begins something like:


To have to clean you own cupboard shelves—

who likes it?


Then on This American Life (as I’m cleaning the cupboards) I hear stories of coincidence. The theme is No Coincidence, No Story—based on a Chinese proverb, I believe, that suggests that all stories are based on a happening of coincidence. Is there meaning in coincidence? As someone who has experienced many coincidences in my life, I do not attribute meaning to them. Maybe it’s because I see coincidences where others may not; this is certainly a point made in the radio show. I’m someone who sees patterns easily. And what I’ve learned is that patterns mean nothing. The only patterns that matter are the patterns in my own behavior and thinking that I can change, evolve.


I’m moving this week out of my darling apartment and into a friend’s spare basement bedroom because my lease is up and I don’t want to commit another year to Fort Collins. My pattern.


To have to reinvent your life again—

who likes it?

To have to lay it all on the line again—

who likes it?

To not know where the road is taking you—

who likes it?

You have to reinvent your life.

You have to lay it on the line.

You have to take the unknown road.


If not, what will you tell yourself? What will you

dream of?

For it is bad not to use the life which God has sent us.

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