Mary Oliver: Whimsical

Mary Oliver just passed over that last rise – a clear bridge for a lot of seekers I know who miss her. My hope is that she is with her beloved partner of many years.

She is quoted saying, “You must not ever stop being whimsical. And you must not, ever, give anyone else the responsibility for your life.” I suppose the second thought follows the first — whimsical as fresh fun alive spirit! and maybe quick caution of censure of our delicate whimsy.

She spoke, for this devoted reader, such clear perception of the natural world. It felt like she put the point on a thing, like she’d captured the essence of grasshopper or goldfinch or dune.

She spoke the clarion call of the creative process, the need to give oneself over to its demands and wonders. She lived that call, walking the dunes and discovering the new thing or a fresh view of a well-known one. She felt like a trusted well, a feast for the low-on-juice times. Her poems could recalibrate the heart and mind — just one poem worded so precisely.

That creative voice is a connection we seem to have intrinsically, Oliver’s sense of wonder. I’ve taken to hugging plane trees with their smooth mottled camouflage skin. Here in France they grow quickly so they’re trained as arbors in gardens. I imagine Mary smiling, leaning into a hug with an inviting Earth-keeper tree.

That view of her spirit makes the whimsy in me grin. A new day is waiting.

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