Less Fussing, More Living

American poet Mary Oliver. Less fussing, more livingI have started what I hope will become an annual custom for me. It is a custom of reading a book on Christmas Day. On Christmas Day, 2012, I read the book Tales of the Dervishes by Idries Shah. I have shared four stories from that jewel-box of wonder since then.

Less fussing, more living

On Christmas Day, 2013, I read the book A Thousand Mornings by American poet Mary Oliver. I have shared two Mary Oliver poems so far, one of them coming from A Thousand Mornings. I will most likely share a few more before all is said and done, like this one.

Good-bye Fox

He was lying under a tree, licking up the shade,

Hello again, Fox, I said.

And hello to you too, said Fox, looking up and not bounding away.

You’re not running away? I said.

Well, I’ve heard of your conversation about us. News travels even among foxes, as you might know or not know.

What conversation do you mean?

Some lady said to you, “The hunt is good for the fox.” And you said, “Which fox?”

Yes, I remember. She was huffed.

So you’re okay in my book.

Your book! That was in my book, that’s the difference between us.

Yes, I agree. You fuss over life with your clever words, mulling and chewing on its meaning, while we just live it.


Could anyone figure it out, to a finality? So why spend so much time trying. You fuss, we live. And he stood, slowly, for he was old now, and ambled away.

What’s the New Message from God angle? Step 124 (of 365) of Steps to Knowledge “Today I will not pretend I am happy,” teaches “Knowledge is not a form of behavior. It is an intense experience of life.” Less fussing, more living.

Mary Oliver has spent a lifetime being astonished at nature, and eloquently expressing that astonishment. As we say here in Minnesota, you could do worse. Less fussing, more living.

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