It’s that time of year when the leaves start to change–and sadly, it won’t be a pretty fall around here because of the very dry summer–nights are cooler, and I start thinking I really should have something in blaze orange when I go out walking in the woods. It’s also time for the annual reading of Mary Oliver’s wonderfully evocative poem, “Wild Geese.”
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.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting-
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.