Mushroom Hike

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The weekend before last some friends and I went for a hike on the Olympic Peninsula to observe mushrooms. A whole day of looking for the little things, for the beauty hidden under leaves and moss, and for the beauty of the leaves and moss themselves. Very few things make me happier than people who appreciate nature as much as I do.

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A colleague of mine shared this poem with me today, after a friend had shared it with her. When I began to read it, all my thoughts were in a jumble as I frantically tried to organize and make sense of everything I need to do for my thesis.

Wild Geese, by Mary Oliver.

“You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about your despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting —
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.”

By the time I finished reading my mind had quieted, and I felt calm. I still have a million things to do, and I’ve spent the last three hours plotting the next six months of my life into charts and word documents and calendars. But now I am much more at ease with it all, and I am ready to press onward.

We’re hosting Thanksgiving for all my museum studies friends in two days, and I go home in another week. I am blessed, and grateful, and happy.

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