I heard a couple of days ago that Mary Oliver has died.
I love that woman, I love how she lays the wonders of this world before us with her delicate, funny, wild words.
I love that when I hear her, I often feel love and despair; longing and hope; laughter and beauty all rise up within me as one event; not separate or opposed to each other, but simultaneous.
She asks questions which need no definitive answers. David Whyte said once (or maybe often), cultivate the art of asking beautiful questions. She does that masterfully. On behalf of us all. No need to figure out anything, like what to do with this one precious life? But to keep gently, urgently, quietly, raucously lifting up my head, or laying my head down, asking, without need of answers but willing to feel for the mystery which each question evokes…
I am immensely grateful to Mary Oliver, and to the thousands of inspiring lovers of life who lead us to drink from the fresh clear waters of their inspiration, and guide us with words and music, with dances and painting and sculpture, deeper into the mystery of things. We need them.
Here we all are. We’re in a crazily lurching boat together; all of humanity and all the creatures and plants we share this planet with. It is unfathomable, what we are facing. Impossible to comprehend or to prepare for.
But I hear the owls’ call as I write; the night is alight with moonshine. The cells of my body are vibrantly alive, and I remember Mary and all those who, like her, keep loving, keep giving their gifts – come what may – and I feel a quiet joy and a sense of belonging; knowing my place in the family of things.