|© Penguin Press
By Mary Oliver
I've returned to New York City. I will stay in New York City for the near future. The decision to stay involved a process I'm sure I'll unfurl in my upcoming posts. In essence: it feels right, for right now. I gained the most clarity of my life in the three months I was "off" in Houston, and never have I felt so clear about the life I'd like to make for myself. I'm making it now by being here.
I committed to spending more time outside. I am at my best under the sun, surrounded by green, breathing in the fresh air. Nature most definitely contributed to my clarity.
"In the beginning I was so young and such a stranger to myself I hardly existed. I had to go out into the world and see it and hear it and react to it, before I knew at all who I was, what I was, what I wanted to be."
"I quickly found for myself two such blessings—the natural world, and the world of writing: literature. These were the gates through which I vanished from a difficult place.
In the first of these—the natural world—I felt at ease; nature was full of beauty and interest and mystery, also good and bad luck, but never misuse. The second world—the world of literature—offered me, besides the pleasures of form, the sustenation of empathy (the first step of what Keats called negative capability) and I ran for it. I relaxed in it. I stood willingly and gladly in the characters of everything—other people, trees, clouds. And this is what I learned: that the world's otherness is antidote to confusion, that standing within this otherness—the beauty and the mystery of the world, out in the fields or deep inside books—can re-dignify the worst-stung heart."