September 10th is the birthday of poet Mary Oliver, born in Maple Heights, Ohio, in 1935. Partly to retreat from her home life, she would often skip school and spend time in the woods, reading and rereading the likes of Keats and Dickinson and Whitman (“I got saved by poetry. And by the beauty of the world.”). She wrote much of her work while walking or hiking in the woods, often in the early morning, with a hand sewn notebook and pencil in her pocket. She once lost a pencil on such a walk, and subsequently began hiding pencils in the trees along the trails, so she could always find a spare.
Enjoy this, one of her many poems …
Why I Wake Early
Hello, sun in my face.
Hello, you who make the morning
and spread it over the fields
and into the faces of the tulips
and the nodding morning glories,
and into the windows of, even, the
miserable and crotchety–
best preacher that ever was,
dear star, that just happens
to be where you are in the universe
to keep us from ever-darkness,
to ease us with warm touching,
to hold us in the great hands of light–
good morning, good morning, good morning.
Watch, now, how I start the day
in happiness, in kindness.