Nothing Fancy

A few weeks ago the leaders of the G7 gathered for their summit in Cornwall, the southwest corner of England. I recalled a walking holiday a few years ago along the coastal paths of Cornwall. Some days the path stayed fairly close to the coast and other days it took turns inland and uphill as the two photographs above demonstrate. I have wonderful memories of the beauty of Cornwall and how every turn presented a whole new vista of hill, rugged coastline and un-spoilt beaches. Granted the vacation was in October and we missed the crowded tourist season, yet each day was crammed full of beauty. All too often such beauty escapes us due to our inattention. Please slow down and take notice of the beauty which is never far from where you stand. Mary Oliver made it her life goal to pay attention, to notice, to observe, to wonder and to imagine. Today is the third of three posts using Oliver’s poems. I hope her words, even if you are not familiar with her poetry, cause you to pause, ponder and marvel in the wonder and mystery rather than search for certainties. Don’t be too hurried or you will miss it!

This World
I would like to write a poem about the world that has in it
nothing fancy.
But it seems impossible.
Whatever the subject, the morning sun
glimmers it.
The tulip feels the heat and flaps its petals open and becomes a star.
The ants bore into the peony bud and there is a dark
pinprick well of sweetness.
As for the stones on the beach, forget it.
Each one could be set in gold.
So I tried with my eyes shut, but of course the birds
were singing.
And the aspen trees were shaking the sweetest music
out of their leaves.
And that was followed by, guess what, a momentous and
beautiful silence
as comes to all of us, in little earfuls, if we’re not too
hurried to hear it.
As for spiders, how the dew hangs in their webs
even if they say nothing, or seem to say nothing.
So fancy is the world, who knows, maybe they sing.
So fancy is the world, who knows, maybe the stars sing too,
and the ants, and the peonies, and the warm stones,
so happy to be where they are, on the beach, instead of being
locked up in gold.

Holy God,
I am reminded of the words of Jesus
from the gospel of Matthew.
We call it the Sermon on the Mount.
We are asked to consider the birds of the air,
the lilies of the field.
Forgive my fretting and worrying
about so many things.
Help me to believe,
help me to trust.
Help me to notice,
help me to pay attention
to the beauty of nature.
Awaken me to the responsibility
of caring for this our planet.
Forgive our foolish and wasteful ways.
in silence
hear my prayer. Amen.

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