This morning the piercing sweetness of the finches songs and the pearly white luminescence of the calla lilies took my breath away. My own back yard is sacred ground—if I can empty myself of distracting thoughts and let the world flood in and ravish me. Nature is always calling out to us to wake up and pay attention to what’s right here in this moment. Poet Mary Oliver reminds herself (as I also do) to “Keep my mind on what matters, which is my work which is mostly standing still and learning to be astonished.”
In the midst of our grief over what is happening in the Gulf, these moments of full presence in our everyday lives, of standing still and being astonished, is what is needed to heal our hearts—and ultimately our world. The Earth has so much to teach us right now—but we need to take the time to open to these ordinary moments that call out for our attention—when a bird is singing, when sunlight is streaming through branches, when a stone in our path catches our eye. How did I miss all this before?