Perspective: Some Gifts Unwrap The Heart

Jan 17, 2020

Mary Oliver was a gift. 


That is the simplest way to put it. 


She became my friend as a gift -- a wall-hanging shaped like a small box, painted with a colorful stack of old-fashioned suitcases. Around the edges is a quote from Mary Oliver asking: “What is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” 


Perfect words as we all reset our calendar clocks. 



When I got that gift Mary Oliver was just a name. I loved her words but did not know her. Exactly one year ago today she died. She was 83.  


She was applauded and mourned by a group of fellow writers who told me her poetry was amazing. Which is why she was on my Christmas list this year. And why she’s back in my home -- again as a gift. Her many books of poems and prose connect us to nature -- including human nature.  


Her words are telling. She said …  


“I don't want to end up simply having visited this world.”  


“A dog can never tell you what she knows from the smells of the world, but you know, watching her, that you know almost nothing. . .” 


“I am never done with looking. Looking, I mean not just standing around, but standing around as though with your arms open.” 


“Instructions for living a life.  


Pay attention.  


Be astonished.  


Tell about it.”   


Mary Oliver’s words remind us that we are surrounded by gifts. She came to me as a gift … that lives on. While I march onward … and no doubt puzzle over my wild and precious life. 


I’m Lonny Cain … and that’s my Perspective.