When writing inspires us to find our place in the world.
While Mary Oliver is a well-known poet — in fact, we’ve quoted her before on the Daily Post — she’s still new to me. By sheer coincidence, her famous poem, “Wild Geese,” popped up in my inbox, blog reader, and Twitter feed multiple times over the past few months. Perhaps it was one of those seeming proofs of collective consciousness, but as I kept re-reading her words, I fell in love more deeply with the poem.
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.
– Mary Oliver, Wild Geese
I’m also working my way through Women Who Run With the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estés, a collection of folk tales that explore womanhood, intuition, and our relationship to nature from a Jungian perspective. I revisited “Wild Geese” after reading the chapter on “The Ugly Duckling,” that famed story about a young swan born into the wrong family and struggling to find his place in the world – and, subsequently, his self-worth.
Works like these emphasize feelings of otherness, inadequacy, and isolation, as well as our determination to move past these feelings to find where we belong. Today, take inspiration from Mary Oliver and tell us, what is your place in the family of things? If you are lonely, do you hear the wild geese? If you are surrounded by your metaphorical kin, how have you announced your place in the world?