I’ve been reading Why I Wake Early, a book of new poems by Mary Oliver, though reading isn’t quite the right word for poems. It’s more like listening — like listening to music, and going back to listen again. There’s so much happiness in Oliver’s writing, such close and startling observation, and then plain-talk expression of it. This fragment from “Where Does the Temple Begin, Where Does it End?” describes her stance toward the world:
I look; morning to night I am never done with looking.
Looking I mean not just standing around, but standing around
as though with your arms open.
Yesterday our daughter sent the photograph below, taken while snowshoeing on Mt. Seymour (B.C.) the day before, and it seemed, even at a photo’s remove, one of those places for long, arms-open looking. No the sun isn’t shining, but it’s the trees that matter, so lean they are and lovely, bearing all the snow they can bear, dressed up for the Christmas party. Can’t you just see them at night, swaying a little in praise?
In another fragment of the same poem, Mary Oliver says,
And now I will tell you the truth.
Everything in the world
At least, closer.
So if we do our part, open our arms, we’ll be met halfway.
—Photo by C. Dueck. (Thanks!)