a mary oliver morning

Last night I started the purging that I’m referencing as “preparing for my tiny house.”  While that dream-reality is another blog post, just know that this is not a quick task. I’m at a point in my life where I don’t cling to things–those packrat days are gone. But I have to say, that taking each item and intentionally asking, “Is this functional?” and “Do I want this in my tiny home?” and “Does this bring me joy?” takes a bit longer than I anticipated.

And so, as I began packing up CDs for the used book store, I had to stop when one case popped out of my hands and landed on the floor.  It was a Mary Oliver CD I’d purchased years ago.  I checked off my 3 questions and decided wholeheartedly, “Yes!”

Given that my only CD player is in my car, I immediately popped it in this morning before making my trek to work.  To my delight, the second poem she read was Wild Geese, one of my favorites.

As each word filled my car with meaning and imagery, I thought, “This is how God must sound when you’re sitting around the kitchen table sharing stories and tea.”  Comforting, reflective, insightful.

As I listened to the poem, it took on a new meaning for me as poetry usually does when you hear or read it in different seasons of your life.  I am so grateful for these words today.

You can hear her read the poem for Krista Tippett on the On Being website.   You can also listen to a lovely interview with her and Krista.

Wild Geese by Mary Oliver

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting–
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

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