On Praying

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Photo by Sravan Reddy Sane on Pexels.com

“I Happened To Be Standing”

by Mary Oliver

I don’t know where prayers go,
or what they do.
Do cats pray, while they sleep
half-asleep in the sun?
Does the opossum pray as it
crosses the street?
The sunflowers? The old black oak
growing older every year?
I know I can walk through the world,
along the shore or under the trees,
with my mind filled with things
of little importance, in full
self-attendance.  A condition I can’t really
call being alive.
Is a prayer a gift, or a petition,
or does it matter?
The sunflowers blaze, maybe that’s their way.
Maybe the cats are sound asleep.  Maybe not.

While I was thinking this I happened to be standing
just outside my door, with my notebook open,
which is the way I begin every morning.
Then a wren in the privet began to sing.
He was positively drenched in enthusiasm,
I don’t know why.  And yet, why not.
I wouldn’t pursuade you from whatever you believe
or whatever you don’t.  That’s your business.
But I thought, of the wren’s singing, what could this be
if it isn’t a prayer?
So I just listened, my pen in the air.

selective focus photo of house wren perched on white birdhouse
Photo by Tom Mann on Pexels.com

3 thoughts on “On Praying

  1. Thats SWEET–I too have time and reflection to listen to their songs and their busyness at the feeders. They bring a peace to me when I need it most.🕊 Mom


  2. Thank you Anita. I’m praying a lot these days. I miss you and hope you are well. Thank you for these posts. Thank you for your strength and love. I returned to this pastel the other day, I think because I miss the desert so much. I hope to be there again with you. Lots of love. Maureen


    1. Dear Maureen, I’m catching up on my website and as I read your words, I felt hopeful and sad that our summer sabbath soul tending was canceled. But may new things arise in its place. I hope to collaborate someday soon. Missing you and your beautiful spirit. Sending you wings of hope for these days…love, Anita


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