This morning I’ve been thinking about Mary Oliver’s poem, Everlasting. On first reading, it may seem Mary is accepting and putting a positive spin on everything. Making things pretty.
Yes, there’s always hope for something better. Nonetheless, Mary focuses intently on what’s in front of her. Nothing is too fleeting or small to notice.
Much, if not most of her poetry captures the small details and stories of nature’s wonders. Yet she also describes the horror and ugliness of human behavior. Some of it shows up in nature as well, putting beauty at risk.
I picture her with a ‘camera’ (her ever-present writing notebook), in which she records everything she observes. The good, the beautiful, the bad, the unexpected and the ugly. She doesn’t flinch or soften the blow of reality.
Mary challenges me most when she lets her unvarnished truth go public. Truth about herself, her family, her father (A Bitterness), and small scenarios playing out in predatory behaviors in the non-human world (Small Bodies).
Beginning with me, there’s so much we humans hide, or carefully dress up to mask our neediness. Mary invites us to find ourselves in the midst of whatever we’re dealing with or see in the mirror. Sometimes it’s a real mirror. Other times, it can be the mirror of Mary’s poetry. Or the morning news. Or an unplanned trip to the doctor.
Hoping your day is thoughtful and rewarding, no matter the cost.
© Elouise Renich Fraser, 13 July 2020
Invasive Mission Grass image found at 123RF.com