Michael McLendon was my cousin's husband and father of two beautiful, cheery young women. He fought a long battle with brain cancer that took all of us by surprise. My husband Doug has decided to run in his memory at the Chicago Marathon this fall, and has created this fundraising page to help fight the disease that took him from us much too early.
I came across this poem by Mark Strand today that reminded me of Michael and his love of the outdoors. He was a man of few words, but his love of nature, how things work - his relationship with his hands, the earth and his "toys" - the equipment that kept him grounded to those things and people he loved.... well - it's all here in this poem. Michael praised life in this way.
Read it once. Then again. Then one more time. Then go to the page and donate any amount that feels comfortable and right to you. Think about those brave patients who find a reason to get up every morning in spite of life's unfair deck - just like Michael did.
From a Litany
There is an open field I lie down in a hole I once dug and I praise the sky.
I praise the clouds that are like lungs of light.
I praise the owl that wants to inhabit me and the hawk that
I praise the mouse's fury, the wolf's consideration.
I priase the dog that lives in the household of people and shall never be one of them.
I praise the whale that lives under the cold blankets of salt.
I praise the formations of squid, the domes of meandra.
I praise the secrecy of doors, the openness of windows.
I praise the depths of closets.
I praise the wind, the rising generations of air.
I praise the trees on whose branches shall sit the Cock of
Portugal and the Polish Cock.
I praise the palm trees of Rio and those that shall grow in
I praise the gardeners, the worms and the small plants that
praise each other.
I praise the sweet berries of Georgetown, Main and the song
of the white-throated sparrow.
I praise the poets of Waverly Place and Eleventh Street, and
the one whose bones turn to dark emeralds when he
stands upright in the wind.
I praise the clocks for which I grow old in a day and young in
I praise all manner of shade, that which I see and that which
I do not.
I praise all roofs from the watery roof of the pond to the slate
roof of the customs house.
I praise those who have made of their bodies final embassies
I praise the failure of those whith ambition, the authors of
leaflets and notebooks of nothing.
I praise the moon for suffering men.
I praise the sun its tributes.
I praise the pain of revival and the bliss of decline.
I praise all for nothing because there is no price.
I praise myself for the way I have with a shovel and I praise
I praise the motive of priase by which I shall be reborn.
I praise the morning whose sun is upon me.
I praise the evening whose son I am.