Less is More

” I am grateful for the echoes ”   –Gretchen Staebler

As a cardmaker I have spent the year reading the words of others in search of quotable passages I could use as inspiration for my cards. I have a notebook of treasures plucked from books and blogs. I’m not remembering the context in which this quote of Gretchen’s came to me, but it has surfaced this morning as I remember the thoughtful words of Mary Oliver.
Knowing as I do this morning of a voice gone silent, I too, am grateful for the echoes. Reading Mary Oliver’s Devotions I am comforted knowing that her words had taken on a life of their own and that they will soar into our uncertain future with the ease of the winged creatures she loved so well.

The words black water and wild geese and even sunrise, make up the echoes for me. I’m fairly certain that my walks in the woods to watch the sun filter its light through the trees will always remind me of her words. Always remind me of the gifts brought and lovingly given through attention.

I’ll see the soft lines of her face and her rather impish grin. I’ll see Percy in every dog. I’ll remember that economy in descriptions of things creates a “less is more” awareness. I’ll be aware and grateful that her way of being in the world caused me to think more deeply and see more simply. You can smother a thing with too many words. She never did that.


I tried in vain last year to find an address where I could write her. I think it’s important that people know when they have made a difference in a life. I received a note back last year from another favorite, Marge Piercy. I have a card on my desk right now for Tess Gallagher. We should voice our thanks. It is such a small easy thing.
The women who inspire me today; Gretchen, Maezen, Jann and Katrina have all been on the receiving end of my gratitude. It matters that they know how their words resonate. Thank you all for sharing your journey to the center of self.

As for Mary Oliver, I believe that she knew what her words meant to others. It was the planting of a million seeds. I hear her influence in much of what I read today.
I imagine that in the moments of her passing, the reeds along the river bent in her favor. I imagine the shrieks of the geese were a symphony of goodbyes. A narrowing path through bramble and thicket, opening to a view of fiery orange sky blessings. She’ll be there in every sunrise. I’ll say her name aloud as a prayer.

I think I’ll write a poem today.

4 Comments on “Less is More

  1. Just going through emails I’ve saved for later reading (and still not reading most of them), and found this one I had missed. Beautiful. As I feel about my parents, I miss knowing Mary Oliver is in the world. Like living in this house of my parents, having Mary’s poems to read is like she is still here.

    • I recently watched the childrens movie Coco ( a really lovely movie for littles and grown-ups alike ). The concept of an ofrenda touched me and I have since created my own version ( a more enduring altar ) that includes photos of those I’ve lost. Memory as the keeper of life is of great comfort to me. 

  2. Beautiful tribute… She was such an amazing writer, she was always able to take my mind to places I’ve never been through her words.

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