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I Too Have Watched a Spider

Posted in Adventures With Humans

I Too Have Watched a Spider

The safest place for me is among the sentences of my favourite authors, Mary Oliver being one of them. Oliver, 83, died on January 17th. I dove deep into the pages of her work upon learning that she had flown, and with this rather vulnerable heart chakra of mine, delighted in my love of her.


For the past few months, I have been meditating in an effort to learn how to undo banish the sea-monkeys of fear and anxiety growing in my gut. I am happy to say that I can do it now. In the space of a moment, I can refocus my energy and go from what would likely develop into one fucker of a belly tumour left unchecked, to a feeling of ease and expansiveness in my chest. But the feeling is not locked in yet–I am not a yogi, and so have found it necessary to be careful how I expose my senses.

The safest place for me is among the sentences of my favourite authors, Mary Oliver being one of them. Oliver, 83, died on January 17th. I dove deep into the pages of her work upon learning that she had flown, and with this rather vulnerable heart chakra of mine, delighted in my love of her.

First of all, I admire the courage of anyone to write.  

To compose and publish despite, or perhaps without any consideration of the judgment, or imagined eye roll of a reader is a strength mightier than Hercules. I can’t tell you how many essays I have deleted, succumbing utterly to feared opinion, and withdrawing under my desk with a bottle of merlot and a stack of Premium Plus. Did Oliver ever do that? I doubt it. Not with a twist top, at least. So, I admire her as a person.

We both built, Oliver and I

She built a small, simple house with her own hands. I built a stone wall, a bunch of benches, and a swinging seat that I’m really not sure that anyone noticed. Oliver seemed to have confidence right from the beginning. Me? Not even close, plus I have smoothie on my shirt as I write this. 

I was reading Jung, when I heard that Oliver died (I feel odd referring to her as ‘Oliver’) and re-binge-watching The Good Place during breaks, embroiled in another manic attempt to find a way to philosophically grok all of this. Yes, I had bits of myth, individuation, dreams, and symbols in my teeth, and remember, I was also continually having to stop, focus, and get rid of those fucking sea-monkeys whenever my mind wandered to anything with that political stink on it.

I marched to my bookshelf, took down all of her work that I had, and tucked in.  The pressure-treated, lock-step world went away. My desire to achieve, to make good, eased, and I fell into a summer day at a pond. I am sad that she’s gone. I am envious of her life and if I could simply emulate her courage from now on, I would be happy–happier.

I’m not much good at hollering, and am not near smart enough on my feet to lead warriors in to battle against these most recent despicable world leaders–“But I can write, damn it.” 

There. I said it.

“We are each other’s destiny,” Mary Oliver wrote*.

Perhaps the key is to get dirty–to get deep into the work of it, whatever that is for each of us, and do our heartfelt best with empathy and compassion(My words). Nothing else makes any sense–plus, there are sea-monkeys.

- Suzanne Crone

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