living a life

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Instructions for living a life:
Pay attention.
Be astonished.
Tell about it.

~ Mary Oliver
(Red Bird: Poems)

I’ve posted this poem before and the words came to mind again when I learned of Mary Oliver’s death yesterday. Thank you, dear poet, for teaching us that the instructions for living a life really are that simple. (Another of her poems, my favorite, is shared in my blog’s sidebar.) She loved Provincetown, too, and many of the things she described in her poems were so familiar to me.

Tim & I have been in North Carolina almost a week now, looking after our new grandson, two-and-a-half-month old Finn, who came down with an awful cold while his dad was out of town and his mom had an extra-busy week at work. But he seems much better today so he got to go back to daycare with big sister Katherine. It was fun taking them there and we’re looking forward to picking them up again.

Of course I have caught the cold. But it is worth all the time I was able to soothe the little guy and I will treasure the memory of him sleeping in my arms for hours. And being with Katherine, who is busy monitoring the hatching of a (pretend) stegosaurus egg in a tub in the bathroom. We’re all a bit astonished. What we thought was a foot slowly emerging from the egg turned out to be a jaw! Now the mystery is wondering how big this dinosaur baby (Steggy) will get.

January down here is different than Connecticut. There are already pansies growing in planters along the sidewalks. Don’t see them in Connecticut until April! I saw a pussy willow starting to bloom on our way walking to the community compost pile. And the Carolina wrens are still singing outside my window.

Life is good. May you rest in peace, Mary Oliver.
(10 September 1935 — 17 January 2019)

6 thoughts on “living a life”

  1. Beautiful tribute to the amazing Mary Oliver. Life. Death. Life.
    Glad your grandson is feeling better. Yes, I always caught the bugs that I helped ‘bug out’ of our grandbabies, but each ache was worth the cuddles. 🙂 To the glory of being astonished.

    1. Thank you, Pam. Mary Oliver’s life was so well lived. We’re finally getting over that nasty cold. Grandparents don’t bounce back as quickly as the little ones, as I’m sure you know! 🙂 I think I will be astonished if we get a snowstorm here before winter leaves…

      1. Be careful what you ask for. It seems that in the last couple of years the biggest snow has arrived in March!
        Glad you all have recovered. It helps when the grandkids get old enough to learn to sneeze and cough in their elbows. xo

        1. You probably get more snow than we do up north there in your neck of the woods! Looks like we’re due for 1-3 inches tomorrow, only to have it washed away by rain at the end. Sigh…

  2. Sad about Mary Oliver… I’ve been meaning to get a book of her poetry for a long time, and still haven’t. I read it online, sometimes.
    Glad you got to look after Finn but sorry you caught his cold (that’s always the way, with kids!)

    It’s pretty cold here at the moment, we’re expecting snow.

    1. Not one snowstorm here this winter, except one in November when we weren’t here. We usually get quite a few in February but nothing this year. Something on the horizon for Tuesday but it doesn’t look like it will amount to much. It took us forever to get over Finn’s cold. I hope you enjoyed your snow! Mary Oliver was wonderful. Hope you read one of her collections soon. 🙂

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