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.
Mary Oliver passed away today, at the age of 83. This poem written by her has always been a favorite of mine, and it comes into my mind often as I meander through fields and forest, especially in the fall, when geese and ducks and sandhill cranes migrate south to warmer climates. This wild, beautiful world does call to me, telling me that where I am is where I belong, regardless of where it happens to be. Rest in Peace, Mary Oliver, and thank you for sharing your words and your wisdom with us all!