Monthly Archives: April 2014

Mary Oliver

The Summer Day

by Mary Oliver

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean—
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down—
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
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?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?


I began this post with just Oliver’s poem because there is no way to introduce it. It is, perhaps, the most lovely thought-provoking poem. I don’t pray. Much. But I think. A lot. Usually outside. My son calls it listening to the wind. Perhaps that is what I do. I find myself stopped in mid-something watching the spider make his way across the log and over the stones. His delicate legs quickly carrying his compact body. Searching out the safest route. Turning quickly to avoid a trap. Where does it go? To a home? To other spiders? What does it think?  Does it know what I don’t? I don’t have the answers to the big questions but I believe that comfort, peace, and knowledge are there if we stop and wonder.




Remembering Ramona

My daughter turns 8 this summer. She is my youngest and my only daughter so her upcoming birthday has me thinking in ways that her older brothers did not. It is not only that she is taller, or more wordy, or more sassy than ever before (she has always been sassy).  But what strikes me as so strange is that I remember being her age. I remember being an 8-year old little girl with strawberry blond hair and skinny legs skinned at the knees. I remember sparkle nail polish and climbing trees  in my stylish new purple shorts. I remember being caught between kid and girl.

I also remember Beverly Cleary. Between the ages of 7 and 10 I read (or was read to) every Beverly Cleary book available. My favorite? The Ramona series. Ramona the Brave, Ramona the Pest, Ramona Quimby  Age 8, Ramona and Her Mother, Ramona and her Father.  The list goes on and on. Then on to all the many many upper elementary daily life heroes in Ms. Cleary’s joyful stories. So, I introduced my daughter to Ramona. The first paragraph swept me right back to my childhood. You know how certain smells can bring you back to a specific moment in time? The first page of Ramona the Brave took me right back to Denton, Texas. A little girl in a rainbow room listening to a story about another little girl who was just my age. Snuggling next to my mother as she read “Ramona Quimby, brave and fearless, was half running, half skipping to keep up with her big sister Beatrice on their way home from the park.”

Now I am the one reading those words. My daughter’s response? Pleeeeaaase, just one more page mommy.  So here we go. Another generation falls in love with that loud, sweet, frustrating, funny, and totally understandable little girl from Oregon.