Mary Oliver’s “The Summer Day”

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean —–
The one who has flung herself out of the grass,
The one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
Who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and own…
Who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do not know how to pay attention, how to fall down
Into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
How to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
Which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
With your one wild and precious life?

 By Mary Oliver, called “The Summer Day”

Commentary: First we engage in deep inquiry. What is this? Then we look at this particular being and investigate further. We can only answer this question in relationship to our life, as it is. This is not abstract. What is this grasshopper? This grasshopper. Clearly she does know how to pay attention. How often we do not credit ourselves with our own wisdom. What do you plan to do? In this moment and the next. With this life, this grounded presencing of you and everything? Oh, what a wild and precious life! In this moment. In this email. Connection. How wild and precious. How precious. How wild.

Thank-you. Please have a good week, Shinshu

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