Mary Oliver’s The Fawn: Outdoor Spirituality

By , June 1, 2011

If you’re following Mary Oliver’s Twelve Moons as a lunar calendar with me, the poem for tonight’s new moon is The Fawn. If I were to choose a single poem that best describes my sense of spirituality, this might be it.

view from Zeiger homestead

Oh, the cathedrals of the world! I think mine compares quite favorably to most . . . (Photo: Mark Zeiger).

My father is a Presbyterian minister, and performed much of his ministry in Alaska, which means that I have attended church in Alaska more than any other state. Ever since I was very young, I found the idea of going inside to worship a very strange practice. As Ms. Oliver so eloquently illustrates, the real miracles are happening outside man-made walls.

My parents, luckily, raised me to appreciate the natural world rather than despise it, as many denominations seem to do. This life isn’t to be endured or ignored, to be hurried through on the way to something better. It’s to be appreciated, savored . . . blessed. It’s a gift, if your heart and mind is open to it.

The way I see it, this life is heaven or hell, depending on how you look at it, and what you make of it. The choice, and the power, is yours. They key, I believe, lies in what matters most to you.


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