I became intimate with Mary Oliver in 1999.

It may be more accurate to say,

It was then that I read her words for the first time.


I fell in love—in love with her kindness,

her attention to the smallest detail

her reverence for nature.


When others called to tell me of her passing,

I was jealous; Mary was mine.

She had been my companion for 20 years.


I took her with me to Ireland, to Spain,

Italy and Iceland. We were never apart for long.

She illuminated my path and nourished my soul.


“And then, the butterfly rose weightless in the wind.

‘Don’t love your life too much,’ it said…”