Aug 112010


Wild Geese
by Mary Oliver

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting–
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

At the risk of being obvious, I’d like to remind everyone that she is fine. Better than fine…brilliant, divine, crucial to the rest of us. Now, today, just as she is. With all her fear and anger and jealousy and regrets and secrets. With all of those parts.

You don’t have to be good. You don’t need to be better. You just have to accept, each moment again, that you are good enough already. If you wait to start living and loving until you are ready, I’m afraid you’ll die first. It’s a beautiful world, and it wants you to play.

You belong in the world’s family of things. And if you do not show up, no one will take your place. Life is not a game of musical chairs. If you do not sit down with us, your place in our circle will be empty forever. So there is no need to rush, no need to grab, no need to panic, and no need to perform. Your place is yours, not because you are funny, or pretty, or stylish, or good. But because your place was created for you before you were anything at all. In light of this, let us relax, be glad, and calmly and gratefully, take our places.

And let us remind the others in our circle today that we’re happy they took theirs.

Aug 122010

The following events occurred yesterday:

As I was getting out of the shower,Tish burst in the bathroom and stared at me rather critically. I gave her the evil eye.Undeterred, she said the following:

Mommy, what are those dangly things on your belly called again?

I nervously looked down to find out what foreign objects had attached themselves to my person during my shower without my knowledge. I located nothing.

What are you talking about? There’s nothing on my belly.

Eye roll from Tish.Yes there is, moooom. Those dangly things you used to feed Amma with.

I double check.

Wait. Are you talking about my breasts?

OH YEAH. Breaaaasssasts. You got Belly Breasts, Mom.

Go to your room, I said.

It’s two hours later. I have completely forgotten where I put Tish, which is far from my main concern. My main concern is that I also can’t find my book and I’m dying. It was a really, really good book, and it’s been lost for three days now.I finally find it.

In the washing machine.

This is the third book I’ve washed. I washed Barbara Kingsolver’s Bean Trees, (please read) David Sedaris’Me Talk Pretty One Day, (please read) and now I’ve washed Howard Zinn. (Yes, Sister, I know I also washed Bird by Bird but four book washings might suggest that I have some sort of problem, so I thought I’d stick with just the three for this particular post.)

This book washing issue might not be so weird, especially for me, who once had to call the sweet fire department three times in one week to rescue my children from cars into which I’d locked them nice and tight.

Unless, as my now repentant husband pointed out yesterday… it’s just that you hardly ever even wash our clothes…so how does this keep happening?

Go to your room, I said.

I must find a way to start paying attention while doing things. I don’t understand how people do it. I mean all the time? A girl has to pay attention all the time? That’s ridiculous. I think I’d rather just pay for new books.

Love you Monkees. Really, really do. Have a fantasic weekend. Try to pay attention.



P.S. Yes, the book reeks of mildew. It was in there at least three days. I have come to the conclusion that while I may be able to do hard things, I am incapable of doing easy things. Whatevs.

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