This Morning I Watched the Deer

This Morning I Watched the Deer

By Mary Oliver, from Why I Wake Early (2004)

This morning I watched the deer

with beautiful lips touching the tips

of the cranberries, setting their hooves down

in the dampness carelessly, isn’t it after all

the carpet of their house, their home, whose roof

is the sky?

Why, then, was I suddenly miserable?

Well, this is nothing much.

This is the heaviness of the body watching the swallows

gliding just under that roof.

This is the wish that the deer would not lift their heads

and leap away, leaving me there alone.

This is the wish to touch their faces, their brown wrists—

to sing some sparkling poem into

the folds of their ears,

then walk with them,

over the hills

and over the hills

and into the impossible trees.


I find myself reminded this morning reading Mary Oliver’s poetic expression of what it’s like to be drawn to beauty in the natural elements and to see the abundance that surrounds us, even as a feeling of separation arises. Over and over again, she captures the essence of something deeply felt within myself. And it’s all Ok. There is a beauty in being alone. A certain kind of poignancy in glimpsing Life as it is, without conditions. Often this brilliance carries me. Still, my experience of longing and desire are felt deeply; both, willing to go out and seek and who find there way home to my heart. My teacher says “Consciousness wants us to be Whole”. Love always has our best interest. Masculine, feminine, earth, air, water, fire – the dance of life at play, never static, and uniquely designed for each and every one. We each have a choice – to dance, play, contemplate, observe, be dull, be brilliant, be heavy or be light, “to walk over the hills and over the hills and into the impossible trees”. Love will not be denied.