knee deep in weeds

notes on a simple life

a book review

“I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?”

— Mary Oliver

I placed a hold on Mary Oliver's new book even before our library had it. It was published in October and I picked my hold up a few days ago; all in all, not a bad wait for such a treasure. 

I was enjoying everything: the rain, the path
wherever it was taking me, the earth roots
beginning to stir.
I didn’t intend to start thinking about God,
it just happened.
— Mary Oliver

It is a huge book with over 400 pages and encompasses over five decades of her poetry. There is not room for it and Basil together on my lap, so I curl my legs up underneath me, and place him next to me. He is a bit miffed by the whole arrangement, but accepts it. I read to him one of my favorites and I like to think he gets it. 

He puts his cheek against mine
and makes small, expressive sounds.
And when I’m awake, or awake enough

he turns upside down, his four paws
in the air
and his eyes dark and fervent.

Tell me you love me, he says.

Tell me again.

Could there be a sweeter arrangement?
Over and over
he gets to ask it.
I get to tell.
— Mary Oliver

I will be buying the huge volume as I can't get through more than a couple of pages without needing to set it down to let her words sink deep inside of me. She reminds me to notice, to pay attention, and that most of what is important in life is right in front of me. I want to see the world as she does; to allow it inside of me without holding back. To allow the earth's reflection and all her beauty to penetrate my very being. 

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.
— Mary Oliver

I feel her love of dogs so deeply, even her love of snakes in the cold of winter. I try and grasp the beauty she finds in the simple act of the sun on her face in the morning, or the taste of peaches. She is just what I need to balance out the uncertainty in our world today.

She gives me hope. 

And did you feel it, in your heart, how it pertained to everything?
And have you finally figured out what beauty is for?
And have you changed your life?” 
― Mary Oliver

I would suggest you put it on your Christmas list for giving and receiving. 
Have a great weekend. . .  

“Love, love, love, says Percy.
And hurry as fast as you can
along the shining beach, or the rubble, or the dust.

Then, go to sleep.
Give up your body heat, your beating heart.
Then, trust.” 
 ~ Mary Oliver