Bacon on the Bookshelf

Savory picks for the free range reader

October Special: The Trees


The grass in my yard crunches underfoot, yellow as straw in some places. Pepper rouses small tornadoes of dust as she chases the squirrels. Yet the trees remain mostly green heading into October – a dry green, a stubborn green – full of vitality even though some few leaves brown early and fall in the heat. Today’s poem by Mary Oliver says exactly what I feel… 

When I Am Among the Trees
By Mary Oliver

When I am among the trees,
especially the willows and the honey locust,
equally the beech, the oaks and the pines,
they give off such hints of gladness.
I would almost say that they save me, and daily.
I am so distant from the hope of myself,
in which I have goodness, and discernment,
and never hurry through the world
but walk slowly, and bow often.
Around me the trees stir in their leaves
and call out, “Stay awhile.”
The light flows from their branches.
And they call again, “It’s simple,” they say,
“and you too have come
into the world to do this, to go easy, to be filled
with light, and to shine.”

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Thank you,, for sending this poem to my in-box. To hear Amanda Palmer read the poem at Brainpickings, click here.

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And – Matt Osborne reminds me of another thoughtful meditation on The Trees –


  1. I love Brainpickings too! Such lovely thoughts this hot morning. xo

  2. I love that line “I am so distant from the hope of myself.” Thanks for posting this!

  3. Love this so much, Jennifer! You are always full of surprises– Rush? Who knew?

  4. Everything is better with Rush.

  5. Everything is definitely better with Mary Oliver! And we are sure about that – LOL! Thank you!

  6. And trees, for that matter. (The drought makes me worry about the trees.)

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