For the past week, I’ve been fascinated by a robin who has taken up residence on top of the honeysuckle vine in our back patio. Her nest is fairly exposed and allows for easy viewing. As I spy from the window above, I admire her devotion and single-mindedness to protect her eggs, and her apparent lack of concern for anything else. The joy I’m getting from watching this astonishing display of nature makes me think of today’s poem by Mary Oliver.
My work is loving the world.
Here the sunflowers, there the hummingbird –
equal seekers of sweetness.
Here the quickening yeast; there the blue plums.
Here the clam deep in the speckled sand.
Are my boots old? Is my coat torn?
Am I no longer young, and still not half-perfect? Let me
keep my mind on what matters,
which is my work,
which is mostly standing still and learning to be
The phoebe, the delphinium.
The sheep in the pasture, and the pasture.
Which is mostly rejoicing, since all the ingredients are here,
which is gratitude, to be given a mind and a heart
and these body-clothes,
a mouth with which to give shouts of joy
to the moth and the wren, to the sleepy dug-up clam
telling them all, over and over, how it is
that we live forever.
What’s caught your eye recently and left you astonished?
Mary Oliver mentions distractions such as old boots or aging that may keep her from noticing nature. What keeps you from “standing still and learning to be astonished?”
“Messenger” by Mary Oliver from Thirst, 2006. Copyrighted material used for educational or therapeutic purposes.