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Tag Archives: Mary Oliver

Look, the trees…..

via Look, the trees…..

I have been offline for the past week, as we moved into our new house, which is located on the same lot we lived on before. We still do not have Internet, so I go to a local coffee shop once a day and sometimes every other day to catch up. Purple Rays provided a wonderful post to get back in the groove.

When we bought our house 40 years ago, it came with two relatively large spruce trees in the front. Those remain in place as proud sentinels and, as Mary Oliver describes trees in to the new houses we build on the same lot, one for Kathy and I and the other our youngest son built.

We chose to stay and build for several reasons. First and foremost, it gave our son a chance to have his own house. Second, we enjoy the community we live in and have been part of the fabric of it for 40 plus years. It is an area of Edmonton that has tremendous stablity despite the rapid growth of the metro area. We have neighbours who have lived in this community longer than we have.

The house on the left is our house and the one on the right is our son’s house as the trees stand guard.

 

Fresh Quotes: Mary Oliver

via Fresh Quotes: Mary Oliver

Nancy posted this over two years ago and reblogged it on her site Strawberry Indigo after Mary Oliver passed away.

I noted the other day what draws me to Mary Oliver’s poetry are the questions, direct and indirect she poses. Several years ago, I concluded a presentation on Mindful Servant-Leadership with the following question from her poem Summer Day with this quote: “Tell me what is it you plan to do/with your one wild and precious life?”

Another quote Nancy shared which fits is “Instructions for a living a life/Pay attention/Be astonished/Tell about it.” This raises questions about how I pay attention, how we reveal being astonished, and how I give an account of myself and respond through stories. Rather than answers, as Rilke says, “Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves like locked rooms.” Without preconceived answers, there is eloquence and beauty in one’s questions, living themselves out in ever broadening circles.

Mary Oliver reminds me to “some room in your heart for the unimaginable.” At my age, I understand myself as a river meandering through the landscape rather than cutting through rocks. Perhaps, this appears predictable, but I ask “what is invisible and moves with currents below the surface? What has life taught me? How do I share with others, who often are disinclined to slow down, stop, and listen?”

What I recall is I did the same, filled with busyness and urgency of life, not in the moment, but in some future I chased. Instead of meandering, I was a rushing river carving out a path without concern for what might appear. The second river flows through a narrow channel, with high banks I cannot see over. The first river flows in ways I can look back and ahead, understanding there is mystery flowing below the surface. What is obvious is often superficial, rather than mystical.

Above Numa Falls

 

Wild Geese by Mary Oliver

via Wild Geese by Mary Oliver

Yesterday was a day of riches as this wonderful Mary Oliver poem was posted by Dawn and re-blogged by John and Kenne.

There are prayerful and questioning qualities in Mary Oliver’s poetry that challenge me to think about the universe as a place where each sentient and non-sentient being thrives and flourishes. We grow mindful of our needs as they relate to the needs of other living and non-living being. Living is a practical and ethical way of standing in the world. Practical and ethical ways of living are essential to growing spiritually and acting with care towards sentient and non-sentient beings.

Wendell Berry has a poem entitled The Wild Geese asking me to be thankful for the gifts that come to me each day. What do I take-for-granted? What do I overlook and treat as ordinary that I can celebrate as (extra)ordinary? As Mary Oliver asks, “how does my body ‘love what it loves?'” How do I notice the universe and let myself find its way home each day?

Here, is a video of me reading the two poems about geese and the poet’s reminder of being present to what is here.

 

….and Mary Oliver spoke

via ….and Mary Oliver spoke

Udo posted this quote from Mary Oliver‘s poem, The Summer Day. It is my favourite line from all of her wonderful poetry and challenges me to reflect on and act on the purpose and calling of my life’s vocation.

Mary Oliver reminds me life and its many callings are not filled with certainty and fixed paths. Instead, I wander and wonder as I take detours and hope I find my way.

I share this line teaching and presenting, as a reminder life is about unexpected and, sometimes, we have to permit ourselves to stop and experience what we often drive by and take-for-granted.

Robson

On trips to visit in British Columbia, Mt. Robson is a favourite stopping place. The mountain is a sentinal over the valley, with wilderness gems to experience and revel in as I live my one and wild life.

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The waterfalls are located in the Crowsnest Pass. Like Mt. Robson, I gave myself permission to pause and experience being in nature and not just a visitor.

A Poet is …..

via A Poet is …..

There is no shortage of quotes in this post by Penumbra Haiku, so I will not go through them.

Although she did not describe writing poetry in this quote, I add one from Mary Oliver: “I want to think of dangerous and noble things/I want to be light and frolicsome/I want to be improbable, beautiful and afraid of nothing as though I had wings.”

When I write poetry, I want to be light, frolicsome, and play with language as my dangerous and noble thoughts take form and flight. In those moments, I appreciate living in the midst of wilderness that has no words, but is expressed somehow.

I took this video of the Spokane Falls two years ago, during a period of record high water flow. It reminds me that, even in the middle of a city, I am in the midst of my own wilderness seeking to be expressed.

Yes Mary. Everything Does. And Too Soon. Way Too Soon. (RIP)

via Yes Mary. Everything Does. And Too Soon. Way Too Soon. (RIP)

David shared Mary Oliver’s poem Summer in this post.

This poem poses many questions from its opening line to the closing. Who creates life and nature? How will I live my one wild and wonderful life? These questions are about the essence and mystery of life and living.

At the end of his post, David shared from another Mary Oliver poem, When Death Comes: “When it’s over, I want to say all my life/ I was a bride married to amazement.” If I only live a small portion of my life in amazement, I can fulfill what calls me to live most fully.

One of the amazing things about Mary Oliver’s poetry is, although she is physically removed, her voice remains alive and vibrant in the words she so eloquently shared with us.

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I took this picture in Jasper National Park several years ago. The flow of the river as it narrows becomes wilder and reminds me of the wildness I seek in life.

 

The World Goes On

via The World Goes On

With his post, Eddie provided me with an opportunity to share and reflect on a Mary Oliver‘s poem Wild Geese.

The poem is about belonging to the larger family we each live within. It is also about being who we are and not fretting about what that might mean. Certainly, it is essential to living to reflect on who we are and who we are becoming, but we sometimes we let this become greater than the life we are living.

I think to experience the world and living most fully I need to be present and mindful of what I am experiencing and letting go in each moment. This is challenging, as the human mind scurries here and there, but, when I let go and am present, the riches are enriching and add to the becoming in ways I cannot predict and caculate in advance.

Moon Rise

I took this picture at Radium Hot Springs during an evening walk while on retreat there. I was surrounded by all the beauty nature has to offer in these moments.

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