The Reason They Can Fly

This week I’m sharing a wonderful poem by one of my favorite writers.

Storage written by Mary Oliver

When I moved from one house to another

there were many things I had no room

for. What does one do? I rented a storage

space. And filled it. Years passed.

Occasionally I went there and looked in,

but nothing happened, not a single

twinge of the heart.

As I grew older the things I cared

about grew fewer, but were more

important. So one day I undid the lock

and called the trash man. He took


I felt like the little donkey when

his burden was finally lifted. Things!

Burn them, burn them! Make a beautiful

fire! More room in your heart for love,

for the trees! For the birds who own

nothing – the reason they can fly.

I’m not on board with burning all the things, but I have felt my burden lighten as I have learned to appreciate living with less. I have always felt stressed and anxious when my space is disorganized and messy, but a couple of years ago all my stuff started to bother me, even if it was neatly organized and out of sight. Since then I have purged almost every area of my home, and it has provided me with the gift of time.

Fewer clothes means less time deciding what to wear. Fewer household items means fewer things to repair or maintain. Less stuff = more time. Two years ago, I donated 75% of my Christmas decorations because I was dreading decorating the house and tree as it had become a time consuming, stressful, all day affair. After letting most of it go, I started to enjoy unpacking and rediscovering the decorations that I had kept that had meaning. I also started to add fresh greenery and flowers to my decor which was both beautiful and healing.

So, what do I do with all this new found time? I hang out with my kids. I try to cook fancier things. I ride my horse. I have meaningful conversations. I read. I write. I dream. None of these are going to make me more money, increase my status, or buy me bigger or better things, but they do fill my heart. 

I’m thoughtful about what I add to my home and closet because this untethered heart’s purging days are done. Fly sweet friends, fly!

One thought on “The Reason They Can Fly

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