Love what you love

A few lines from Mary Oliver -
"You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves."

Ole' Tom T. Hall had a song my dad played called "I love." It was simple and profound at the same time; just a listing of what he loved. Letting myself love what I love. There may be no greater challenge in this life. I'm not Mary Oliver or Tom T. Hall, but here goes:

I love putting my hand on our kids' chests when they're asleep and feeling their hearts beat. Three kids and three different rhythms.
I love reading a footnote in a book about another book and searching out that book and falling for a new author. I discovered Rick Bass by way of David James Duncan that way.
I love spoonin' up against my wife at night. After sixteen years together, we still fit like puzzle pieces.
I love listening to music my dad introduced me to and thinking about him and crying - maybe a song like "Sunday Morning Coming Down."
I love the smell of boot leather in a western store. It's just plum erotic. Tony Lama #12 turns me on over Chanel #5 any day.
I love dusk; those moments when one world ends and another begins. It is my time of the day. Bittersweet, fleeting, beautiful; kind of like autumn - my season.
I love the essence of communion wine just before the chalice tips my way and I take and drink. I also love licking the remainder out of my beard as I return to my seat.

Those are a few of the things the soft animal of my body loves; the baskets I'm putting my eggs in. I'm tired of being good and walking on my knees. I don't love that.


  1. I can taste the wine....feel the snuggleupspoonsoftness of two people...the preciousness of sleeping children...and hear one of my favorite songs sung by Ray Stevens...Sunday Morning Coming Down....Awesome! Thank you!

  2. Also reminds me of another line from a song, I believe also Tom T. Hall, this time talking about what he liked; "I like beer. It makes me a jolly good fellow."

  3. Pounce12:39 AM

    When I read Mary, she tells me: "...there was a new voice
    which you slowly recognized as your own,
    that kept you company…”

    While I quietly relived Tom T tonight, I learned … I still don’t love old dogs or watermelon wine and “I’ve been reading the same book all the time.”

    My animal loves appreciating the calm within the freedom of my new life.
    and following breadcrumbs confidently expecting to stumble across my lost gypsy soul.

    note 2 self: must purposely encounter a whiff of TL#12