Thursday, May 25, 2017
Hey, you...pay attention!
“Instructions for living a life.
Tell about it.”
― Mary Oliver
Hey...yes, you...over here! Please pay attention to this blog entry. The Christian Century magazine did a cover article recently on poet Mary Oliver called An Invitation to Wonder.
We have a number of Mary Oliver's volumes of poetry and have been intrigued that in her later years Oliver has included more overt Christian imagery, although it is subtle. What we have always appreciated is her awareness of the world around her.
The author of the article, Debra Dean Murphy, observes:"a mystic of the created order, Oliver listens to moths, trees. and other nonhuman neighbors." As someone who has revelled in mystical experiences in creation I like this description.
I appreciate that Oliver invites us to "pay attention," a phrase in each of the poems I've included here. In this time of generally accepted distraction and inattention it is often when we put away our devices and walk in the world, beautiful and fierce that we enter into the presence of God.
As I read the article Murphy makes reference to Robin Wall Kimmerer, a plant ecologist and I was intrigued. So, instead of reading on I pulled out my smart phone and made the dumb move of googling Kimmerer. Then I was off on the "snakes and ladders" search for...what was I searching for?
Iris in Galilee
Jesus invited us to look to the birds of the air and to consider the lilies of the fields (Matthew 6) to give us a perspective on worry and anxiety. I have walked amidst irises on a hillside in Galilee, so we can include them in our gaze as part of a spiritual practice of attentiveness.
It doesn’t have to be
the blue iris, it could be
weeds in a vacant lot, or a few
small stones; just
pay attention, then patch
a few words together and don’t try
to make them elaborate, this isn’t
a contest but the doorway
into thanks, and a silence in which
another voice may speak.”
--- Mary Oliver