Wisdom for these days

We invite you, in these difficult days, to walk the grounds at Cathedral Park, to sit and pray or just be, to listen to the gentle sound of water at the Trinity Fountain under the pergola.

And to help, we offer these thoughts and poems.

When I Am Among the Trees

When I am among the trees,
especially the willows and the honey locust,
equally the beech, the oaks and the pines,
they give off such hints of gladness.
I would almost say they save me, and daily.

I am so distant from the hope of myself,
in which I have goodness, and discernment,
and never hurry through the world
but walk slowly, and bow often.

Around me the trees stir in their leaves
and call out, “Stay awhile.”
The light flows from their branches.

And they call again, “It’s simple,” they say,
“And you too have come
into the world to do this, to go easy, to be filled
with light, and to shine.”

Mary Oliver, Devotions, pg 123

 

We all breathe the same air. Air is the medium of interflow between all people. It is also the medium of interflow between person and nature. All plants breathe in the air; in this way the plant kingdom absorbs the ethos and the atmosphere of the planet. There is spirit in air.
I remember as a child that whenever my father left home he always paused at the door and inhaled a last deep breath before he went out. No one ever commented on this; nor was it ever explained. But it was as if he wanted to inhale some of the spirit of the family before he left us. It is for me a poignant image of leave-taking, the fragility and contingency of love.

– John O’Donohue, Four Elements: Reflections on Nature. pg 16

 

Invitation

Oh, do you have time to linger
for just a little while
out of your busy

and very important day
for the goldfinches
that have gathered
in a field of thistles

for a musical battle,
to see who can sing
the highest note,
or the lowest,

or the most expressive of mirth,
or the most tender?
Their strong, blunt beaks
drink the air

as they strive
melodiously
not for your sake
and not for mine

and not for the sake of winning
but for sheer delight and gratitude –
believe us, they say,
it is a serious thing

Just to be alive
on this fresh morning
in this broken world.
I beg of you,

do not walk by
without pausing
to attend to this
rather ridiculous performance.

It could mean something.
It could mean everything.
It could be what Rilke meant, when he wrote:
You must change your life.

Mary Oliver, Devotions, pg 107

 

 

One Comment on “Wisdom for these days

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