I am reading Mary Oliver’s beautiful collection of essays entitled Upstream, a gift to me from a dear friend. My very favorite piece so far is very short and the last section in the first essay entitled also, “Upstream.” I quote it here in hopes of sending out a bright spot for you on this last day of February. Indeed, let us teach the children how we love and cherish our blue green planet. And let them teach us how to notice everything. Every day.
Teach the children. We don’t matter so much, but the children do. Show them the daisies and the pale hepatica. Teach them the taste of sassafras and wintergreen. The lives of blue sailors, mallow, sunbursts, the moccasin flowers. And the frisky ones-inkberry, lamb’s-quarters, blueberries. And the aromatic ones-rosemary, oregano. Give them peppermint to put in their pockets as they go to school. Give them the fields and the woods and the possibility of a world salvaged from the lords of profit. Stand them in the stream, head them upstream, rejoice as the learn to love this green space they live in, in sticks and leaves and then the silent, beautiful blossoms.
Attention is the beginning of devotion.