As I washed my hands in my yoga instructor's bathroom Monday, I read a poem she had mounted next to the mirror on the wall. It's called "The Summer Day" by Mary Oliver. I've read it before, and it was nice to be reminded of the beauty of her simple poetic style and to appreciate the questions this poem asks.
Stepping out of the bathroom, I said to my happy yogi, "First of all, I love everything about your house" (I do. Every inch of her house is like stepping into a creative haven. Everything about it represents her and her hubby so well. From the old naked books on the shelves [I love dust jacket-free books!] to the flowers in the cozy kitchen nook to the watercolor haiku hanging on the other side of the mirror in her bathroom]. A fabulous house helps tell your story.) "Secondly, I love that you have a Mary Oliver poem hanging in your bathroom."
Well, I'm grateful I added my "secondly" because I received an email from my yogi yesterday saying that Mary Oliver was reading her work tonight at Belmont University and that I should check it out if I was free.
It seemed nearly indulgent to hear Ms. Oliver read and speak these words I've read before and know that this is the intended voice for every word. And I smiled, rejoicing that this is her heart's delight, and she gets to delight her heart for a living. All of the time. Shape words into tiny snapshots of life and travel the world sharing her amazing gallery.
I would envy Mary O if envy were in my bones.
It was a lovely evening.
I'll close with one my favorites that she read tonight (oh, there were so many!):
Truly, we live with mysteries too marvelous
to be understood.
How grass can be nourishing in the
mouths of the lambs.
How rivers and stones are forever
in allegiance with gravity
while we ourselves dream of rising.
How two hands touch and the bonds
will never be broken.
How people come, from delight or the
scars of damage,
to the comfort of a poem.
Let me keep my distance, always, from those
who think they have the answers.
Let me keep company always with those who say
"Look!" and laugh in astonishment,
and bow their heads.