In her 79th year, poet Mary Oliver is still in love with life and still full of beans. It seems she and I are walking the same shore.
I recently discovered that Oliver left Provincetown and moved to Hobe Sound, a few miles south of me, to be near friends.
I go down to the shore in the morning
and depending on the hour the waves
are rolling in or moving out,
and I say, oh, I am miserable,
what should I do? And the sea says
in its lovely voice:
Excuse me, I have work to do.
I look to her for a celebration of the little things in nature. And the big things.
Ocean (by Mary Oliver)
I am in love with the Ocean
Lifting her thousands of white hats
In the chop of the storm,
Or lying smooth and blue, the
Loveliest bed in the world.
In the personal life, there is
Always grief more than enough,
A heart-load for each one of us
On the dusty road. I suppose
There is a reason for this, so I will be
Patient, acquiescent. But I will live
Nowhere except here, by Ocean, trusting
Equally in all the blast and welcome
Of her sorrowless, salt self.
Molly Malone Cook, Oliver’s partner for over forty years, died of cancer in 2005. In 2012, Oliver faced her own battle.
In Blue Horses, she writes with grace and gravity from her “platform of many years” and her recent triumph over cancer.
Oliver’s perception is acute. She points out the wild and the quiet, what we all might see if we take the time and have the patience to truly look.
I wonder if we are both looking at the same double rainbow over our shared sea. If I meet her (some end-of-the-rainbow jackpot that would be) at the café in town or on a meander under the twisty-knotted banyan trees, I’ll say, Have you noticed this wonderful thing?
It seems there’s always a message in her words just for me. But mostly, there’s just beauty.