Thursday, January 17, 2013

I Happened To Be Praying

It was beautiful today, hiking Borderland State Park.  I was dressed in layers, and hand and toe warmers.  None of it was needed.  The temperature was in the 40's and the sun was strong.  Naturally,  we couldn't go out on the ice, but walking the trails was nice.  We followed deer tracks, and probably dog tracks, but we pretended they were fox's.

The air was so crisp, clean, and clear.  You just had to pause and pray.

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
The Trail Hikers
     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.

This is part of a poem in Mary Oliver's new book, A Thousand Mornings.  The rest of the poem is on page 3-4.  But prayer is all this and more.  It's a spiritual mystery, and no God is any good without mystery.  If you understood Him and His ways, you wouldn't be you.  You'd be God.