January 22, 2019

Like so many others, I mourn the loss of Mary Oliver, poet. Her poems have lifted me more times than I can count. She changed the way I view the natural world and showed me how to attend to the small things, but to never take them for granted. She said that attention is the beginning of devotion. Her writing has brought me solace, fed my longing, and delivered beauty time after time. I am deeply grateful to her and her daily habit of walking and writing. This outwardly simple habit has rippled out to bless the world. It’s a habit I’m working to develop in my own small way.

Such was the day, not too long ago, when I was walking in my neighborhood and saw a sycamore ball precariously hanging from a thin branch of a shrub I couldn’t name. It caught my eye. I looked up to search for a nearby sycamore, but didn’t see one. I wondered how far the wind had carried this seedglobe and how it happened to drop at just the right speed to be snagged on this twig on this day when I would be passing by. How long would it dangle there, safe from the woodland squirrels, chickadees, finches, and juncos? It was like a holiday ornament on the red-berried branch to decorate the gray day.

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