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

4 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

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  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

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    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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  3. Hi Anita!! Here is an email response from wonderful friend Gary, looks promising. Lots of love to you. Maureen

    Maureen T. O’Neill

    Assistant Professor, Director of Exhibitions and Educational Programming Barton Art Galleries ArtWorks Cohort Coordinator School of Visual, Performing, and Communication Arts Barton College P.O. Box 5000 Wilson, NC 27893-7000 office 252-399-6476, cell 252-452-3490 moneill@barton.edu (She/Her/Hers )

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