It is juicy synchronicity that last week I was thinking about poetry and how I haven’t indulged in reading any in a while and what popped into my head specifically was poet Mary Oliver. She is one of those writers I keep meaning to get to.
So I Google-d her in an effort to look over book options and choose one to begin. What came up is her poem, “Journey,” which I wound up posting on this blog immediately because it hit me right between the eyes in that moment. So wonderful. Then yesterday I went to the Strand bookstore in New York to buy some Mary Oliver and wound up choosing The Leaf and the Cloud: A Poem.
I’m still getting to the synchronous part. I have been a subscriber to O The Oprah Magazine for years, but my subscription had lapsed and I just renewed two days ago. Because I was late getting to it, I missed the March issue. After buying Oliver’s book yesterday, though, I began reading my Twitter feed and I saw Maria Shriver did an interview with Oliver and that she had posted the link from the March issue of O. “Journey” is one of Shriver’s favorites, as it turns out.
I am hard-pressed to pick a favorite passage in the interview, for I take such solace in hearing other writers talk about their love/need for solitude and Oliver opens up about that. But it is these parts that also resonated strongly:
I just happen to think you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. So I try to do more of the “Have you noticed this wonderful thing? Do you remember this?” … Yes, I try to praise. If I have any lasting worth, it will be because I have tried to make people remember what the Earth is meant to look like.
And to this question from Shriver — “One line of yours I often quote is, ‘What is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?’ What do you think you have done with your one wild and precious life? — Oliver says:
I used up a lot of pencils … What I have done is learn to love and learn to be loved. That didn’t come easy. And I learned to consider my life an amazing gift. Those are the things.
Beautiful. On to my own Mary Oliver journey …