Mary Oliver is the poet I go to when
I get that jittery, over-stimulated,
stressed out feeling. Her words help me to find
my real connection – to nature, to the meaning
of life. Like many of her poems, When Death Comes
is a reminder to latch on to this temporary,
precious fleeting life and make it what you want.
When it’s over, I want to say: all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.
When it is over, I don’t want to wonder
if I have made of my life something particular, and real.
I don’t want to find myself sighing and frightened,
or full of argument.
I don’t want to end up simply having visited this world.
from When Death Comes, by Mary Oliver New and Selected Poems: Volume 1
When life becomes blurry from a far too frenzied pace, my knee-jerk reaction has become a practice – to step out of this life and into the real life of nature. I walk along a wooded trail, the only sounds those of my footsteps crunching on the crust of Mother Earth, the call of birdsongs mixed with the symphony of cicada, wind whispering through high branches of the pine. I stop and listen, breathe; inhale the essence of real life. I open once again my eyes in amazement. I linger and study the bright blue iris that blooms along the pond; I smile at tiny turtles basking on a sunny log; I watch, awestruck as an Egret glides in and settles soundlessly at water’s edge. When all is said and done, the little trivialities of life won’t matter even a whit. They’ll be gone and I’ll no longer be able to recall those things that made me worry, cry, or seethe in anger. Only when I stop, open my eyes and heart and breathe in real life will I be able to remember the only thing that really matters – the present moment.