Part of the human experience involves pondering questions about one’s life and purpose. For some, living small and hiding from the world can be a tempting way to quell existential anxiety. Deeply inspired by nature, American poet Mary Oliver urges readers to embrace the world within your reach, no matter how lonely or perhaps afraid you may be, and to claim your place in it.
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 your 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.
Feature: stock photo at MaxPixel, Creative Commons