Instructions for living a life: Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it.

Mary Oliver

Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Mary Oliver (1935-2019) was an avid observer: Her work often centers the natural world in all its minute, astounding details. Her meditations on everything from a bird's plumage to the color of oysters are undeniably grounded in the present, free of anxiety about the future. “Attention is the beginning of devotion,” she wrote in her essay "Teach The Children." Oliver’s contemplation of nature’s small wonders reminds us that the simplest things have the power to change us in the deepest ways. In paying attention to our surroundings, we can invite in joy and avoid letting our negative thoughts spiral. She reminds us we have a choice: We can let the world delight us, rather than let it beat us down.