Tag Archives: mary oliver

Summer Is Here


Summer solstice and a full moon, our weather should change tonight. It has been so cold and wet. What better way to celebrate the first day of summer than with Mary Oliver, A Summer Day. YES, what will you do?

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
With your one wild and precious life?

Angels In Your Head

“You wouldn’t believe what once or twice I have seen.  I’ll just tell you this: only if there are angels in your head will you ever, possibly, see one.”  – Mary Oliver


I consider eagles a spirit animal and I wear an aboriginal carved silver bracelet with an eagle on it always. I am very lucky to have the company of 46 eagles on my hikes with the dogs in January and into February. Wilderness is not a luxury.

Farewell Friend ~ Farewell Advice

My loving friend Paul has started a new journey. Freed from his earthly home, he is now free to wander the cosmos, delighting in all the things he knows are there for him. I cherish his last will and testament and remember his wishes for us.

Rev. Dr. Pavel Dimitoff“Before death, life is a seeker.
After death, the same life becomes a dreamer.
Before death, life struggles and strives for Perfection.
After death, the same life rests
and enjoys the divine Bliss with the soul.
Before death, life is God’s Promise.
After death, life is God’s inner Assurance.
This Assurance of God’s we notice while we fulfil God in our future incarnation.”

Last Will & TestamentHe did not simply visit this world.

When Death Comes

When death comes
like the hungry bear in autumn;
when death comes and takes all the bright coins from his purse

to buy me, and snaps the purse shut;
when death comes
like the measle-pox

when death comes
like an iceberg between the shoulder blades,

I want to step through the door full of curiosity, wondering:
what is it going to be like, that cottage of darkness?

And therefore I look upon everything
as a brotherhood and a sisterhood,
and I look upon time as no more than an idea,
and I consider eternity as another possibility,

and I think of each life as a flower, as common
as a field daisy, and as singular,

and each name a comfortable music in the mouth,
tending, as all music does, toward silence,

and each body a lion of courage, and something
precious to the earth.

When it’s over, I want to say all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.

When it’s over, I don’t want to wonder
if I have made of my life something particular, and real.

I don’t want to find myself sighing and frightened,
or full of argument.

I don’t want to end up simply having visited this world

– Mary Oliver




When it’s the anniversary of the loss of a loved one I can feel quite melancholy. There always seems to be something that reminds me whether it is a date, a season, a quick memory of good times. This weekend was the second year anniversary of one of my dogs deaths. Noel, was a wonderful dog who lived a very good and happy life. She wasn’t my first loss or is my last. I have written frequently on my dogs and other animals and my relationships with them.

A good friend has just gone into hospice. His time left here is measured  in days.  I will support him with love on his journey. I will miss him from my life. But, I ask myself why it is I miss my animals more?

John Berger, in About Looking, wrote: “With their parallel lives, animals offer man a companionship different from any offered by human exchange. Different because it is a companionship offered to the loneliness of man as a species.”

From this blog post I read today about the relationship of a man with his pigs it offers a beautiful reflection of companionship.




I think Mary Oliver sums it up in this poem from Dog Songs.

How It Is With Us, And How It Is With Them

We become religious,

then we turn from it,

then we are in need and maybe we turn back.

We turn to making money,

then we turn to the moral life,

then we think about money again.

We meet wonderful people, but lose them

in our busyness.

We’re, as the saying goes, all over the place.

Steadfastness, it seems,

is more about dogs than about us.

One of the reasons we love them so much.




Non Harming & Country Animals

I do my best to follow a “do no harm” way of life. I shoo spiders and other bugs out doors, I watch where I walk and I have a great respect for nature but my recent move back  to country living is testing  this resolve.

Take the kamikaze chipmunks who race across the road in front of my car on the drive to work in the morning. They are so small and fast. I would never be able to stop my car in time. I feel horrible the whole day if I hit one or see a flattened body on the road from my rear view mirror. Then there are the deer who at dawn and dusk cross the road or jump up from road side ditches. I now mind  the time of day and slow down where I know they might be crossing. So far no car and animal contact.

Coyote “the trickster” gives me the finger at least once a week. Never at the same time of day and never in the same place. It’s usually within a kilometer or two. He is just standing there as I come around the winding corner. He makes eye contact and then bounds off.

The funniest event was yesterday at a friends acreage. Pack rats had been visiting the newly replaced sweat lodge and leaving their horrendous urinary scent on the new coverings and flooring. She had already trapped one and another was in the trap when we arrived. I thought pack rats were like squirrels and if you trapped one you had to take it on a long trip at least 20k and over water or it would return home. That’s okay by me but she wanted him to be expedited. She suggested drowning him in the wheelbarrow filled with water. Well it was her house.

My husband filled the wheelbarrow with water. I turned around and moved away covering my dog’s ears lest she would hear the screams. The only scream I hear was the expletive from my husband and I turned around to see the pack rat, soaking wet jumping from the wheelbarrow. I guess the door on the wooden trap floated and gave him his escape.

My dog was right after him as he ran under the concrete walkway. She doesn’t subscribe to my do no harm philosophy. Prey is prey, and fun!

I guess it was not his turn that day. It took me back to the insightful Mary Oliver poem below. I read it often when I need to understand that I am not in control.

“Maker of All Things, Even Healings”

All night
under the pines
the fox
moves through the darkness
with a mouthful of teeth
and a reputation for death
which it deserves.
In the spicy
villages of the mice
he is famous,
his nose
in the grass
is like an earthquake,
his feet
on the path
is a message so absolute
that the mouse, hearing it,
makes himself
as small as he can
as he sits silent
or, trembling, goes on
hunting among the grasses
for the ripe seeds.

Maker of All Things,
including appetite,
including stealth,
including the fear that makes
all of us, sometime or other,
flee for the sake
of our small and precious lives,
let me abide in your shadow–
let me hold on
to the edge of your robe
as you determine
what you must let be lost
and what will be saved.

Mary Oliver