Answering Mary Oliver

I love a good question. I used to think that life was about seeking out and finding answers–about being someone who had answers for others–but I don’t think that anymore. I now think that the point of life is to sit in the questions, to roll around in them, to get dirt on your face and twigs in your hair, and to allow this process to change your heart.

Poets ask all the best questions. Maybe this is why poetry has resonated so much with us through the ages–maybe at some level we’ve always sensed that our life on this planet isn’t about rigidly knowing and defending the “right answers,” but rather, it’s about the beauty of not knowing, of exploring, of being a little lost, of waiting and longing for something beyond ourselves that we don’t understand.

My favorite poet is Mary Oliver. How I wish I could have spent time with her gentle soul while she walked this earth. And how grateful I am that I have her poems and can know her through them. My favorite Mary Oliver question of all time (and the inspiration for this blog) is this:

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

It’s so good. It’s life’s basic questions–Who am I? Where I am going? What matters?–all mashed up into one glorious, simple, and beautifully-stated sentence. It’s not the kind of question you answer one time. It is the kind of question you ask every day, every moment, and consider again and again as you try to get it right and simultaneously come to realize that there probably is no “right.” It’s the kind of question you roll around in, until you are covered in dirt and twigs, and then you ask it again.

I’ve have come to know that my life needs to include the writing of words. The past few years have included many changes–some big and some small–to create meaningful space for words in my life. This blog is one of those spaces. I know that blogs aren’t popular anymore and that podcasts are where it’s at. Or YouTube. Or TikTok. But I guess I’m not that concerned about being popular. I just need to make words and have a space for them to go.

I invite you to join me on this journey. I don’t know exactly where this project will lead. Right now, I plan to write about three things I love: nature, travel, and the things of the soul, which I have imperfectly labeled “spirituality.” Over time, these categories may grow or they may shrink. I have no agenda. I’m not selling anything. I’m just a woman grappling with a poet’s question. If that is enough for you, come walk with me, kind friend.