1430. I don’t want to end up simply having visited the world. ~Mary Oliver

The universe is full of radiant
suggestion…over and over in the butterfly
we see the idea of transcendence.
In the forest we see not the inert
but the aspiring. In water that departs forever
and forever returns, we experience eternity.
~Mary Oliver

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Is there some “voice” you turn to when your heart and soul needs a spark, something to satiate a vague longing, or to get your creative juices flowing, or something to make you feel acutely alive, or when you need some wise rumination or conjecture that transcends the routine and the mundane commentaries. I know that Scripture and the teachings of Jesus can do that, but as a mortal human being, I also need the take on such things from other mortal humans. I need wise musings by kindred spirits who voice things that comfort me and help me feel less alone and isolated. I know, I know; I have a loving husband and a loving family and friends, but don’t you ever long for someone who knows you better than anyone else deep down inside in those places you, seldom if ever, bring to the surface. You know, the things that touch you profoundly and you’re not entirely sure why or where it comes from, and you need another’s thoughts to help you understand what you feel and how intensely you feel it. I’ve never been anything except a daughter, a wife, and a mother, but there is a Natalie way down in there that I’m not sure I could put into words so that they could understand how or what it feels like to be the me of me, not the one who has always tried to live up to the expectations of others, but the one who has always wondered what it would have been like to strike out on her own and follow her own dreams. This is not a complaint for I have been truly blessed all my life. Nor does it mean that I’ve never faced great sorrow or loss or coped with chronic pain. Everyone has “crosses to bear,” but we don’t have to let such things define and/or decide who we are! Perhaps that’s why literature has always been a great source of illumination for me because I believe writer’s are always digging down into that same kind of well and attempting to bring to the surface what they find therein.

The most regretful people on earth
are those who felt the call to creative work,
who felt their own creative power
restive and uprising, and gave to it
neither power no time.
~Mary Oliver

Many writers fit the bill that I described above, and I quote them frequently, but it has only been in the last few years that I have found my forever go-to first person for such things. This remarkable woman is a modern-day, living poet, and I have bought to date everything she has published for I don’t think I’ve ever read works by another that touch me the way she does and explain what I feel inside any better than she. I have shared some of her works before as well as in this post, and in the coming days I’m going to post quite a few more for I’ve been “hungry” again of late and as always have found “nourishing food” in her words. I hope you to enjoy her musings and offerings.

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.
~Mary Oliver

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. ~James 1:5  ✝

**Image via Pinterest

1378. There is not a particle of life which does not bear poetry within it. ~Gustave Flaubert

Ok, truth time! I’ve had such a very difficult day. After I finally got home, sat down for a while, and ate something, I went outside, smelled the glorious fragrance of my lilies in bloom, rocked in the silence of twilight on my porch. Then I came out here to my favorite room and asked myself what was it I needed to take the rest of the rough edges off the day’s trials. Mary Oliver! By George it’s Mary Oliver; that’s what I need. For you see Mary Oliver’s poetry and thoughts always fend off stressful moments fraught with the unpleasant.

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In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. ~1 Peter 1:6 ✝

**Images via Pinterest; collage by Natalie

1048. God gave us the gift of life; it is up to us to give ourselves the gift of living well. ~Voltaire

My work is loving the world.
Here the sunflowers, there the hummingbird —
equal seekers of sweetness.
Here the quickening yeast; there the blue plums.
Here the clam deep in the speckled sand.

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Are my boots old? Is my coat torn?
Am I no longer young, and still not half-perfect? Let me
keep my mind on what matters,
which is my work,

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which is mostly standing still and learning to be
astonished.
The phoebe, the delphinium.
The sheep in the pasture, and the pasture.
Which is mostly rejoicing, since all ingredients are here,

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which is gratitude, to be given a mind and a heart
and these body-clothes, a mouth
with which to give shouts of joy
to the moth and the wren, to the sleepy dug-up clam…
~Excerpted lines from the poem, The Messenger by Mary Oliver

I am 73 years old and nearly six feet tall, and yet there are things in life that still make me dance a jig and squeal with joy like a child. And I’m not one bit sheepish about doing it either. As many of you know I absolutely adore Mary Oliver’s poetry. It’s as if she somehow managed to crawl around in my soul and heart and then spilled out what she found therein into her poetry. So I bought 4 new books of her poetry at Amazon last week and when they came today, they were greeted with none other than the same unabashed, joyful squeals. Afterwards there was a round of eeny, meeny, miny, mo before picking one of the four to open first. Then I turned to the first poem in it, read the one above, and guess what? I joyfully squealed some more. Damn, but I love that woman’s thoughts and poetry!!!

When I was in college, there were occasions when my friends and I tried to come up with the names of five people throughout history that we’d most like to meet and spend time with. I’m not sure who I would have picked or did pick back then, but at 73 I know for sure who the top 3 on my list would be now–Jesus(God), Claude Monet, and Mary Oliver. The remaining two are still up for grabs, but that’s not to say that they aren’t lots of splendid candidates to choose from. I pray that each and everyone one of you who’ve read this also have something or someone that thrills you to the point of at least wanting to squeal with animated pleasure!

And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. ~Matthew 18:3   ✝