When I Am Among the Trees


When I Am Among the Trees- Mary Oliver

When I am among the trees,
especially the willows and the honey locust,
equally the beech, the oaks and the pines,
they give off such hints of gladness.
I would almost say they save me, and daily.

I am so distant from the hope of myself,
in which I have goodness, and discernment,
and never hurry through the world
     but walk slowly, and bow often.

Around me the trees stir in their leaves
and call out "Stay awhile."
The light flows from their branches.

And they call again "It's simple," they say,
"and you too have come
into the world to do this, to go easy, to be filled
with light, and to shine."


Yesterday I wandered through the book store hunting. Hunting for the poetry section (which the bookstore moves constantly), only to find it nestled in the corner near the magazines and bathroom. Wide on the shelf, a fresh frosting of books spread in front of me. I found two by Mary Oliver, whose work makes me want to nature walk and hummingbird flutter. And Billy Collins, who is new to me but there is a dog on the cover so he is already in my good graces.

So this morning, up early, pain seething up and down my legs and spine from a damn incurable disease, I read this poem and it made me think of Yosemite and waving trees and that flick-flack song they sing to me when I sit on the swing in the yard on a breezy day, listening, sitting on the faded orange cushion, the pups wagging around, my garden set before me half dead, but half alive too, and I'm at home. At home in this world, at home in this tree. All is at peace.

xo, C


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