Monday, January 9, 2012


Our congregation has a traditional "Decades Service" early in January each year. Speakers in their teens, 20s (if available), 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s, and 70s respond to Mary Oliver's poem, The Summer Day (see below) by revealing their plans for the rest of their lives. 

I have always enjoyed learning from service participants -- but never wanted to be one. This year, I was asked. Not only did I have to speak, I had to reveal my age to everyone. I did it. To find out my age -- and what I said, you will have to read my next blog.

The Summer Day by Mary Oliver

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 down-
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 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?

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