Those words: “. . .one wild and precious life. . .” and the question that contains them, were one of my first encounters with the poetry of Mary Oliver. Also, “You do not have to be good.” Simple, quiet, observational statements, so often seen through the doorway of words about misty mornings, herons, still ponds, that send a gentle breath in to awaken a room in an inner world. It has been a year since she died. Still we share her poems like we share life-giving water or food. Just yesterday, a colleague stopped in my doorway and said, “Do you know this one of Mary Oliver’s?” We talk about her as though she were our own friend, our teacher, our priestess.
“Between every two pines there is a doorway to a new world.” —John Muir
“Maybe death isn’t darkness after all, but so much light wrapping itself around us.” —Mary Oliver
“. . .we are only as strong as we are united, only as weak as we are divided. Lord Voldemort’s gift for spreading enmity is very great. We can fight it only by showing an equally strong bond of friendship and trust. Differences of habit and language are nothing at all if our aims are identical and our hearts are open.” —Albus Dumbledore, HP & tGoF
“Women, if the soul of the nation is to be saved, I believe that you must become its soul.” —Coretta Scott King
“If you bring forth what is within you, what is within you will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what is within you will destroy you.” —Gospel of Thomas
“If a child is to keep alive [her] inborn sense of wonder, [she] needs the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with [her] the joy, excitement, and mystery of the world we live in.” —Rachel Carson
“The weight of the world is love.
Under the burden of solitude,
under the burden of dissatisfaction
the weight, the weight we carry is love.”
“What have you done for color?”
“Beauty is whatever gives joy.”
—Edna St. Vincent Millay
“In every outthrust headland, in every curving beach, in every grain of sand there is the story of the earth.” —Rachel Carson
with tender ferocity
and ingenious empathy
and wild compassion”
“Dreams make the inner life substantial, giving it dimensionality, colour and form. Ritual is the further enfleshment of the unseen; a way of feeding that which is nourishing you so that your living conversation with the holy in nature grows in strength and vocabulary.” —Dreamwork with Toko-pa
3. Long weekends
4. Snow in the forecast
5. A yawning boy waking up here at the table with me.
May we walk in Beauty!