Who knows if Mary Oliver was Buddhist. She probably wasn't. She left a spiritual legacy, however, and that was sort of the focus of the tribute.
There are a few things I didn't have space to say in that article. No other writer's words have soothed me to the extent that her words have. Emerson comes in close second, but still, the fact that Oliver and I had (seemingly) similar challenges as small girls pulled me even closer to her.
I admired her privacy. The fact that she gave few interviews. That she wanted the writing to speak for itself. She had faith that it could do that, that she didn't have to add any more language to explain what it was that she wrote. There it is, she seemed to say. Just read it.
I also love loved loved this article about her on Lithub called "The Overlooked Eroticism of Mary Oliver." I read this and felt breathless. Of course, I thought. I had just read Our World, a book Oliver wrote in 2005 that combined her prose with her late partner Molly Malone Cook's professional photographs. It was a story about their life together. She was lesbian, queer, and deeply in love for four decades. I felt thankful that one of the many tributes I read focused on this. I couldn't have written it, but I'm so grateful someone did.
She was blunt. Unforgiving. Sharp, direct, unapologetic. And also incredibly tender. Not of this world. I'd also like to imagine that one day well before she died, she realized she was free.