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Love what you love

June 6, 2011

Every morning I read the obituaries in my local paper. I like to hear the particular details of how a person is remembered.

He started tending cattle at 8. *  Her cinnamon rolls were the envy of all her friends  *  He skied down the mountain on homemade skis with an aspen pole brake.  (all from the Durango Herald).

Recently, I read an obituary that said: his family says his passions were cooking and collecting cast iron cookware. Oh, I thought, how lucky it is to have passions, to simply love what you love.

It’s like taking out an insurance policy against boredom, depression, restlessness.

Perhaps your house is messy and the breakfast dishes still haven’t been washed. Perhaps imperfection is the soundtrack to your life, to which you sing along laughing and unafraid. Perhaps it’s enough to spend the month of June watching pole beans split open, sticking out their green, dragon tongues.

Or to spy calendula blossoms flagging down honeybees and butterflies with circular parades of stamens.

It doesn’t matter what you love – honeybees, cast iron cookware, cobbling words together on your blog, the thrill of the opening notes of a concert, spotting antlers in the forest newly cast from an elk’s head. It only matters that you’re here, loving it.

The poet Mary Oliver says:

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.

It is enough to love what you love; really, it is everything.

Photos: grape buds, hops vine, chive flower, potato, green bean, calendula, apples, tomatoes

38 Comments leave one →
  1. June 6, 2011 8:38 am

    This is beautiful, and just what I needed to read and feel.
    xx oo

  2. June 6, 2011 8:48 am

    thank you so much for this, rachel. just beautiful!

  3. June 6, 2011 8:51 am

    Thank you.


  4. Rachel permalink
    June 6, 2011 8:54 am

    This is just lovely… I will spend my day loving what I love!

  5. June 6, 2011 9:17 am

    Maybe, my favorite post ever. Truly, the best thing to read on this beautiful morning.

    Thank you.

  6. June 6, 2011 9:33 am

    ahhhhhh, food for the soul.. you made my day:<)))

  7. June 6, 2011 10:09 am

    Awesome post. I especially loved this part: It’s like taking out an insurance policy against boredom, depression, restlessness.

    Find your passion and LIVE it! What a great thought for today. I’m linking to this now. Thanks!

  8. June 6, 2011 10:18 am

    I once read a memorial service notice that said “Chocolate will be served.” I really sort of wanted to go.

  9. June 6, 2011 10:34 am

    Wow – a beautiful, thoughtful sentiment! I LOVE it! :) Thank you!

  10. June 6, 2011 10:41 am

    Because when we all come to end of our lives, it will be good to have loved. That makes a full life. I fill up when I’m loving.

  11. June 6, 2011 10:51 am

    yes yes yes! i love your baby apple photo.

  12. June 6, 2011 11:07 am

    As usual, gorgeous. And you yanked my favorite line from my favorite Mary Oliver poem. Such a lovely thing to read first thing in the morn!

  13. June 6, 2011 11:09 am

    Wonderful post for a Monday morning. You’re so right – to live with purpose, presently. I, too, love Obituaries. Have you read
    The Dead Beat: Lost Souls, Lucky Stiffs, and the Perverse Pleasure of Obituaries? I loved it.

  14. June 6, 2011 12:05 pm

    love the mary oliver bit. and the photos of your garden. but most especially, i love that you love reading the obits…so glad to know i’m not alone in this!

  15. June 6, 2011 12:22 pm

    Lovely and inspiring, thanks!

  16. June 6, 2011 12:39 pm

    thank you for these words and the reminder…

  17. June 6, 2011 1:20 pm

    Rachel! So often I feel like we are on similar orbits. Like, you write something and I just nod and nod and smile and tear.

    I like this post a whole lot and will share.


  18. Katie B. permalink
    June 6, 2011 1:25 pm

    I give huge kudos to Ann Butler, who does the Herald’s obits, for putting in the extra effort to extract that added detail from family members. It’s not easy, always talking to people who have lost someone, but she cares so deeply about their stories, that they always end up grateful. (I’m grateful, too, having had to pinch hit for her and seen how delicate the job of writing obits is. A woman threatened to have my job because we, as a matter of policy, don’t use euphemisms such as “he went to be with the Lord our Savior” — we just say he died.)

    • 6512 and growing permalink*
      June 6, 2011 2:38 pm


      Thanks for this nugget of detail, just goes to show that for everything we love and value, there is often someone hard at work behind the scenes making it so.

      XO, Rachel

  19. June 6, 2011 2:58 pm

    Beautiful post, Rachel. Have you read If You Lived Here, I’d Know Your Name by Heather Lende? This post made me think of her book {which I loved.}

  20. Melissa permalink
    June 6, 2011 4:02 pm

    grateful for your words and these funny little connections that spring up all over the place . . .wonderful post. thank you!

    ps. at one year old, my girl weighs 22 lbs 10 oz. cannot believe it’s been a year!

  21. June 6, 2011 4:52 pm

    Oh, pole beans *do* have dragon tongues, don’t they? Lovely post.

  22. TonjaB permalink
    June 6, 2011 8:23 pm

    It is everything! Thank you (long time follower, first time poster)! My Dad passed away in 1992 and my Mom now has Alzheimer’s. I know what their loves were and mine are. They are entangled like the vines of pole beans forever! Thank you again!


  23. Ruth permalink
    June 7, 2011 7:03 am

    Oh, Rachel, thank you!

  24. June 7, 2011 11:57 am

    With gratitude to you.

  25. Christy permalink
    June 8, 2011 9:52 am

    Thank you for such beautiful words! And the “perhaps imperfection is the soundtreck…” part…just speaks to my soul. Yesterday, instead of doing the ten thousand household chores we have, My husband said “Let’s go canoeing!” And off we went. This morning, the cleaning fairies did not come during the night. But would I trade my sun-soaked day of fishing? Never.

  26. June 8, 2011 11:27 am

    I really needed this reminder today! Thanks for being great as usual, Rachel.

  27. June 8, 2011 1:14 pm

    THIS is beauty. The words and the pictures. I love it.

  28. June 8, 2011 7:41 pm

    LOVE this. So much truth in “loving what we love.” I love my sweet and simple life. It’s a gift. So are you. <3

  29. June 8, 2011 9:18 pm


  30. June 10, 2011 9:38 am

    It’s like taking out an insurance policy against boredom, depression, restlessness.

    wow. i loved this post, every part of it… and that quote by mary oliver? so perfect friend. thank you.

  31. Noelle permalink
    June 11, 2011 9:16 am

    This is amazing!! Totally great way to start every day!!!

  32. June 18, 2011 10:07 pm

    this is gorgeous — as is life, and loving it.

    thank you!!


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