"When despair for the world grows in me and I wake in the night at the least sound in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,Dear Earth that brought us forth, whose beauty and wonder is all we know of heaven:
I go and lie down where the wood drake rests in his beauty on the water,
and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things who do not tax their lives with forethought of grief.
I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars waiting with their light.
For a time I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.” (Wendell Berry)
Thank you, Earth, for wood drakes and herons, and for the waters and wetlands that support them – and us.
Thank you for daffodils and bloodroot pushing up through ground that was frozen hard but never dead.
Thank you for all of your beauty, which is a grace, which is a gift we do not deserve and could never earn.
Thank you for trees. Patients in hospital rooms with windows through which trees can be seen recover more quickly. Patients in rooms without such a window, but with a picture of trees on the wall take a little longer to recover. Patients with neither a window looking out at real trees nor a picture of trees take the longest to recover. This data informs the mind of what the heart always knew: our health is in the presence of trees. We were made to be among them, their solid upright trunks, their fractal ordered chaos of branching -- standing, in winter, naked, patient, and enduring; donning, in spring, rich clothing of green; sentinels of peace, exemplars of simplicity, silently whispering, "wherefore your headlong dash? It is enough just to be.”
Thank you, Earth for all of your interacting systems, geological, biological, climatological, ecological. May we, your children, be able pupils and learn what you teach.
The grasses stilled with light teach stillness.
Old stones suffer with memory, teaching suffering.
Blossoms humble with beginning teach humility.
Parents of all manner of species secure their young, teaching caring.
Ants crawling on the ground teach limitation.
Eagles soaring in the sky teach freedom.
Leaves dying in the fall teach resignation.
Seeds rising in the spring teach regeneration.
Melting snow forgets its life, teaching us to forget ourselves.
Dry fields weep in the rain, teaching us to remember kindness. [adapted from Ute prayer]
May we, your children, prove able and grateful pupils of all your teaching.