Monday, December 15, 2014

The Real Prayers Are Not Words, But the Attention That Comes First by Mary Oliver

My Kwan Yin statue

Of my hundreds/thousands of dragonfly photos I've taken, this is my favorite.  I love this tattered, curious little guy.  We played together for an hour or more before I took this photo.  I have it on a giant poster in my living room now.  He reminds me of the fragility, mystery and joy of life...
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The Real Prayers Are Not the Words, But the Attention That Comes First
By Mary Oliver 
The little hawk leaned sideways and, tilted, rode the wind. Its eye at this distance looked like green glass; its feet were the color of butter. Speed obviously, was joy.
But then, so was the sudden, slow circle it carved into the slightly silvery air, and the squaring of its shoulders, and the pulling into itself the long, sharp-edge wings, and the fall into the grass where it tussled a moment, like a bundle of brown leaves, and then, again, lifted itself into the air, that butter-color clenched in order to hold a small a small, still body, and it flew off as my mind sang out oh all that loose, blue rink of sky, where does it go to, and why?
There's nothing more relaxing than watching a hawk drift among the clouds on the wings of the wind.  I see them often in the woods by my house.  I even pull my car over to the side of the road to watch them twist and swirl over trees when I drive.  They fascinate me.  Last week one casually swooped down and picked off a baby squirrel that was running along the dirt road.  The circle of life...
It's been a mild winter, so far, here in Swamplandia.  Today, I walked around the block sleeveless and took pictures of the Ents, I mean trees, with their arms also bare.  Oh, how I love winter trees, naked for all the world to see.  The humidity is a thousand percent and it's been raining off and on today with the sun peeking out ever so often.  A typical Louisiana day.  My rain barrels are all full again and my Kale, Spinach, Lettuce and Swiss Chard are thriving wildly even though I pick from them every day.  This time last year we'd had snow three times, which was the only time in 25 years living down here that that's ever happened.  I think I prefer the warmer, humid days, having lived in the South all my life.  The Camellia bushes are already blooming (as are some of my Roses) and those vain Narcissus are poking their green heads up from the cool ground.  I act surprised every year, but I do live in a near tropical climate only a few hours from New Orleans.
I'm through Christmas shopping and ready for Santa to drop by.  I miss having small children around this time of year.  My youngest grandson, Warner, is 7, but he's in Nashville.  My Mary Mace turns 11 on Christmas Eve.  That blows my mind.  She's already borrowing my books and asking what I was reading at her age.  She's far ahead of me.  I gave her "The Hobbit" and she loved it and wants to read the Lord of the Rings trilogy now.  I was still reading Mark Twain and Archie comic books at 11. 
My college freshman grandson wanted "American Classics" for Christmas (which tickled the hell out of I love my reading family!), so I dug through my 6 rooms of books and came up with a modest 50 books for him.  I put them in milk crates so he could haul them back to college with him.  It blew his mind.  He started out with some J. D. Salinger and "A Confederacy of Dunces".  I told him it's a must-read, especially if you're from Louisiana.  So, I'm happy.  All I ever prayed/hoped for my children/grandchildren was that they'd all be healthy, well-educated and then avid readers...and they are, all five of them.  My work here is done.  :-)
I hope you all have a safe, Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year! 
Love and Blessings from the swamps of Louisiana.
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This December,
That love weighs more than gold!"
~Josephine Dodge Daskam Bacon
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"I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come round, as a good time; a kind, forgiving, charitable time; the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys." ~Charles Dickens


Kelly said...

I love this newsy, chatty post.

We just got back from Las Vegas where we had an Elvis wedding. :)

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas, Marion!

Stickup Artist said...

Thank you for the visit Marion! I too find your photo of the dragonfly with tattered wings touching, love watching the hawks ride the wind, and that Dickens quote one of my faves too in a bittersweet way. Enjoy your holiday, sounds as if you have many blessings...

Marion said...

Kelly, what fun! Congrats to your daughter and new son-in-law! Have a blessed Christmas, my friend! xo

Dear Artist, I am truly blessed. Thanks for stopping by. Happy Holidays to you, too. xo

erin said...

it percolates up through me, this smile, your well being, but you are far from done here:)

oh, that dragonfly! you! your love of it and it's gift of attention of you)))


Anonymous said...

I'm sitting with a cup of tea and Merlyn curled up by my knees reading poems on line by Mary Oliver. I searched for one and the search led me to your blog. Now I have spent over an hour reading your blog and feeling your delightful energy flow through the electrons in cyberspace. I am so happy to have found your peaceful beauty.

(rhymes with triage)