On many a day I give thanks for Garrison Keillor’s The Writer’s Almanac, but every so often it speaks to me in an extra special way. This poem for me evokes the way I feel when I am sitting at the Hudson River waterfront, not among trees, but in a glorious, light-filled, reflective state nonetheless.
But I also love how the poem brings forth the language of trees. A particularly meaningful part of the 9/11 Memorial I visited last week is the Survivor Tree, which withstood the terror attacks that day, was nurtured back to life in a different location, and replanted downtown again. Oh, what stories might it tell us?
When I Am Among the Trees
by Mary Oliver
When I am among the trees,
especially the willows and the honey locust,
equally the beech, the oaks and the pines,
they give off such hints of gladness.
I would almost say that they save me, and daily.
I am so distant from the hope of myself,
in which I have goodness, and discernment,
and never hurry through the world
but walk slowly, and bow often.
Around me the trees stir in their leaves
and call out, “Stay awhile.”
The light flows from their branches.
And they call again, “It’s simple,” they say,
“and you too have come
into the world to do this, to go easy, to be filled
with light, and to shine.”