Recently I received a book of poems by Mary Oliver, “Thirst” in the mail from a friend. It is a small book which can be quickly gulped down, and then later savored. Gulping down poetry is not necessarily the best way to take it in...it’s meant for sipping. But the poem that stood out to me on first reading is “When I Am Among the Trees.” In the poem, Oliver explains so beautifully how her time with trees lets her feel their gladness, lets her hear their voices telling her about a graceful approach to living.
From what these trees say, it seems easy to be a tree, blissfully easy. Stand and take in the light, sway your branches in the wind. Shine. I wonder if it is easy. Perhaps none of it is easy, but they make it look effortless and beautiful because of their grace and experience in being trees for so long.
I’ve got to say, I am finding it hard to go easy, and hard to shine. Like Oliver, “I am so distant from the hope of myself.” Coincidentally, I have not been among the trees in quite a long time...perhaps its time for the trees to save me, too.