It’s with much fondness and a deep appreciation of her gift to the world that I learned this morning that Mary Oliver died yesterday. A fellow poet, though so much more accomplished at her craft than I, she gave us poems that explored the simple wonders of the natural world in ways that left you in awe of the Creator. You knew, beyond all doubt, when you read her words that she understood the meaning of 'the gift of the present moment'; indeed, she brought that present moment vibrantly alive.
In her poem, The Summer Day, she writes, 'I don't know exactly what a prayer is', and yet through her writing she leads us to the answer. If the ability to observe the world with such reverent awe is not the deepest of prayers, then I don’t know what is. A joyful celebration of nature, her work is infused with a deep spirituality, whilst remaining beautifully simple and very accessible. She has left a wonderful legacy.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.
For me, her words capture the importance of fully living each moment in this wonderful, amazing universe that we are privileged to exist within. They inspire me, they help me to pause before creation, and they return me again and again to her question:
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?
headed home, like her beloved wild geese, January 17th 2019