The poet Mary Oliver died on Thursday (Jan. 17, 2019). I am truly saddened by this news. I had hoped to one day meet Mary Oliver. She is a hero to me, a spiritual guide.
Mary Oliver lived among us, not as a celebrity or person of fame, but as one like us, a woman who lived in such a way that the repetition of daily life revealed to her, and, through her poetry, to all with eyes to see, the ways that beauty is present in every moment. Nothing is ordinary.
“One tree is like another tree, but not too much. One tulip is like another tulip, but not altogether. More or less like people—a general outline, then the stunning individual strokes. Hello Tom, hello Andy. Hello Archibald Violet, and Clarissa Bluebell. Hello Lilian Willow, and Noah, the oak tree I have hugged and kissed every first day of spring for the last thirty years. And in reply its thousands of leaves tremble! What a life is ours! Doesn’t anybody in the world anymore want to get up in the
middle of the night and
sing?” (Upstream, 2016)
Mary Oliver could see what others could not, and drew on the natural beauty of everyday life. Each day a new adventure, she walked along river banks and through the woods, recognizing the extraordinary everywhere. In her writing, she shared the splendor of her discoveries with all of us.
Many will remember Oliver for her line, “Tell me, what will you do with your one wild and precious life?”
Mary Oliver’s wild and precious life stayed focused on eternity through her unyielding observation of the sacredness of Nature. She showed us the courage it takes to lose one’s self in the awe of the unknown. Her contemplative spirit remains, to be found in tall marsh grasses and fragrant fall flowers…a mysticism of the heart, woven through woods and words.