Not a Contest but a Doorway

I ran across this wonderful poem today. Mary Oliver left a few months back to see what lies beyond life in this world but she has left me s wth so much wisdom and beauty in her writing.


It doesn’t have to be
the blue iris, it could be
weeds in a vacant lot,
or a few small stones; just
pay attention, and then patch

a few words together and don’t try
to make them elaborate; this isn’t
a contest, but the doorway

into thanks and a silence in which
another voice may speak.

–Mary Oliver

It’s a mixed bag having a blog. It makes me feel obligated to have something to say, and often I don’t. And then again, when I ask myself “don’t you have something to say about all this?” often I discover that I do. This poem reminds me that I am not entered into some significance contest with myself. I have nothing to try to top, no reason to judge whether my insights or experiences are worthy of words, no need to set a mental timer on how long it has been since I last wrote.

Mary Oliver thinks of her poems as prayers. Maybe that is the special nature of poetry, but even words far more prosaic, like mine here, are also doorways to gratitude. They take me to unintended places, they burnish rough thoughts, they tell me to pause for a moment before moving on. The thoughts I write down become smarter than I think I am. I thank my blog for that, and for the inner voice that it nurtures and challenges to speak.

It is significant to me that I ran across this poem today, on the first anniversary of the day I left San Diego to relocate to Canada. I had a conscious goal of reinvention, and I wanted my blog to reflect that. I have gone back through my entries for this year and I am overwhelmed by the words I did indeed find for the myriad kinds of growth I was undertaking. And here I am, ready to move on to the flurry of travel that will be my next adventure, but right now, I want to sit here and think about the fallen leaves underfoot, the snowflakes, the waterfalls, the sunrises and sunsets, the living water and all the other things that have been part of my growth and sustenance this year. I offer up my gratitude, which indeed is beyond words.

One thought on “Not a Contest but a Doorway”

  1. Happy Scanlon Moore says:

    Laurel, it is so true that when one sits down with a simple thought and writes it down that a flow is sometimes released.
    Thank you so much for trusting that first step of putting pen to paper, I’ve enjoyed getting to know your soul more fully.
    Sending you loving hugs, Happy

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