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Sunday, July 31, 2016

National treasure:

Mary Oliver

Instructions for life:
Pay attention.
Be astonished.
Tell about it.”
Mary Oliver

Yesterday, while Liza and I were traipsing along on our early morning walk, something caused me to look up. There above me, a skein of geese, perhaps 6 or 7, flew in a line, necks outstretched, wings wide open, and perfectly silent. They glided on air, without a single bit of effort. I stopped on the sidewalk, Liza straining at the leash, and watched until they were completely out of sight. What a gift!

“I don't want to end up simply having visited this world.” (Mary Oliver)

Mary Oliver and I are both Virgos; born in September, eleven years apart. Perhaps that is why I feel her as a kindred spirit. Her fascination with every living creature on planet Earth is what makes her poetry spark with life. And, I strongly relate to her words, “I simply do not distinguish between work and play.” She seems to see her life as a continuous, unbroken line, not chopped into segments; her work and play, love and loss, lead to analysis and thought, scribed into words.

Living fully in this world keeps us grounded in reality. Paying attention to what else is living in this world, and holding in our hearts their preciousness, keeps us humble and amazed. From the little green lizard that lives on my screen porch and teases Liza no end, to the owls hooting it up at night, to that scrawny coyote that comes to eat cat food, there is a whole world out there that knows nothing of human craziness. They live all around us in perfect innocence, and by their simple being, add value to our lives.

They teach us, “You must not ever stop being whimsical. And you must not, ever, give anyone else responsibility for your life.” (Mary Oliver) I hope you encounter that wild world today; it keeps you connected, body and soul. And while you're at it, “Leave some room in your heart for the unimaginable.” (Mary Oliver)

                                                              In the Spirit,

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