from "Black Oaks" – Mary Oliver

Today is a day like any other: twenty-four hours, a little sunshine, a little rain. Listen, says ambition, nervously shifting her weight from one boot to another―why don’t you get going? For there I am, in the mossy shadows, under the trees. And to tell the truth I don’t want to let go of the wrists of idleness, I don’t want to sell my life for money, I don’t even want to come in out of the rain.

– Mary Oliver, from “Black Oaks”

The message is simple: Love everyone.

“The message is simple: Love everyone. “I have to work hard to be able to keep my heart open to people whose policies I disagree with,” Ram Dass once said, in a lecture from the ‘90s. “I have a holy table with pictures on it of Buddha and Christ and Maharajji, my guru.… And I used to have Caspar Weinberger”—the secretary of defense under Ronald Reagan—“on the table, but I now have replaced him with Bob Dole. So in the morning, I say, ‘Good morning, Christ! Hello, Buddha! Good morning, Maharajji! Hello, Bob.’ And I see how far I have to go yet. Because after all, [Bob Dole] is merely God in drag, saying, I bet you won’t recognize me this way, will you? They’re all faces of the beloved.””

https://www.gq.com/story/the-unified-theory-of-ram-dass

from “Pilgrim at Tinker Creek” – Annie Dillard

“Thomas Merton wrote, “there is always a temptation to diddle around in the contemplative life, making itsy-bitsy statues.” There is always an enormous temptation in all of life to diddle around making itsy-bitsy friends and meals and journeys for itsy-bitsy years on end. It is so self-conscious, so apparently moral, simply to step aside from the gaps where the creeks and winds pour down, saying, I never merited this grace, quite rightly, and then to sulk along the rest of your days on the edge of rage.

I won’t have it. The world is wilder than that in all directions, more dangerous and bitter, more extravagant and bright. We are making hay when we should be making whoopee; we are raising tomatoes when we should be raising Cain, or Lazarus.

Go up into the gaps. If you can find them; they shift and vanish too. Stalk the gaps. Squeak into a gap in the soil, turn, and unlock-more than a maple- a universe. This is how you spend this afternoon, and tomorrow morning, and tomorrow afternoon. Spend the afternoon. You can’t take it with you.”