The Summer DayWho 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?
Poem by Mary Oliver, New and Selected Poems
Do you know how to be idle and blessed? Do you know how to drop to your knees in awe of something, to stop and pay attention? This poem by Mary Oliver is, for me, a call to worship. It is an invitation to question the breakneck speed at which we rush through our lives and consider the beauty and power of slowing down to see – to experience life fully.
Oliver throws off the expectation and pressure of producing, of having to have something to “show” for her day and seems to suggest, “what could be more important than strolling through the woods?” I think there is such importance in what she is saying. We must question what is truly important in life and give ourselves to it. We must figure out how to slow down and pay attention. Why?…because everything dies, and too soon. Our life is fleeting and must not be wasted.
I, for one, am grateful that Mary Oliver strolled the woods that day instead of answering her emails or finishing her other work. I am thankful that one curious grasshopper ate sugar from her hand and washed its face. Because of these things, I am faced, today, with the marvelous question, “what will you do with your one wild and precious life?” And so are you.
A “Good” Idea:
Tell us about a time when you stopped and really saw the world around you.