Mary Oliver’s The Place I Want to Get Back To
Mary Oliver’s The Place I Want to Get Back To

Mary Oliver’s The Place I Want to Get Back To

In the past year, deer seem to have become my spirit animal.  We have crossed paths, stared into each others’ eyes, shared apple trees and surprised each other in the darkness of night.

deer at Shalem

In my readings of deer as spiritual beings, I understand that they are a sign of gentleness, intuition, and grace.  I return to those words each time I am blessed with a deer crossing the path of my life’s journey, and I find a sense of peace and comfort in returning to my center.

This week, my spiritual director reminded me of this poem by Mary Oliver.  I’ll be sitting with this one for awhile.

The Place I Want to Get Back To

The place I want to get back to
is where
in the pinewoods
in the moments between
the darkness
and first light
two deer
came walking down the hill
and when they saw me
they said to each other, okay,
this one is okay,
let’s see who she is
and why she is sitting
on the ground like that,
so quiet, as if
asleep, or in a dream,
but, anyway, harmless;
and so they came
on their slender legs
and gazed upon me
not unlike the way
I go out to the dunes and look
and look and look
into the faces of the flowers;
and then one of them leaned forward
and nuzzled my hand, and what can my life
bring to me that could exceed
that brief moment?
For twenty years
I have gone every day to the same woods,
not waiting, exactly, just lingering.
Such gifts, bestowed,
can’t be repeated.
If you want to talk about this
come to visit. I live in the house
near the corner, which I have named

Mary Oliver
Thirst (Beacon Press, 2006)


  1. Gail

    This is beautiful. We do not have dear where I live, however it’s lovely to read about them and I understand the gentleness you describe. I am finding your words and the poetry on your blog very inspirational and have copied much into my journal to read back over. Growing Grace Farm blog is such a place of of quiet inspiration. Honesty and feelings expressed beautiful in words. Blessings Gail.

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