skip to Main Content

We Can't Go Back in Time

Mary Oliver, in her book Thirst, captures an image that stays with me, and reminds me that every moment has the potential to be life changing, and we cannot get those moments back once they have passed.  How often have we moved through time unaware, and only in the looking back over our day do we see how Grace left her mark in a chance meeting, in a split decision that could have ended differently, in a moment that had we been looking, we would have been knocked over by the power of Grace breezing through our lives, filling us with joy.  We rush from place to place with a list in our heads, clouding out any visions we have of peace and calm.  In her poem, Mary captures an early morning chance visit, and then reminds us to be present because no matter how hard we try, we can never go back to that place in time.

The Place I Want to Get Back To

is where
in the pinewoods
in the moments between
the darkness

and first light
two deer
came walking down the hill
and when they saw me

they said to each other, okay,
this one is okay,
let’s see who she is
and why she is sitting

on the ground, like that,
so quiet, as if
asleep, or in a dream,
but, anyway, harmless;

and so they come
on their slender legs
and gazed upon me
not unlike the way

I go out to the dunes and look
and look and look
into the faces of the flowers;
and then one of them leaned forward

and nuzzled my hand, and what can my life
bring me that could exceed
that brief moment?
For twenty years

I have gone every day to the same woods,
not waiting, exactly, just lingering.
Such gifts, bestowed,
can’t be repeated.

If you want to talk about this
come to visit.  I live in the house
near the corner, which I have named

~ Mary Oliver ~


This Post Has 2 Comments
  1. Hi Susan. Thank you for your comment. I am now following you on your blog too. I liked your Snow Duvet post! Jan

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.