I went for a walk this morning and thought about this. As I walked alongside the apple orchards near my childhood home, I was reminded of Mary Oliver, a poet whose writing I've come to love. Her approach to prayer isn't based in a particular religious tradition, but in the simple, beautiful gift of our attention. "I don’t know what a prayer is," she wrote in one poem, "but I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down into the grass, how to be idle and blessed." She also wrote, "It doesn’t have to be the blue iris, it could be weeds in a vacant lot, or just 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 a doorway into thanks, and a silence in which another voice may speak."
At one point, the wind picked up and the bare apple trees swayed back and forth. In the distance, a dog barked its morning bark and I watched a few puffs of smoke curl out of a chimney nearby. The wind slowed down and in that sudden quiet, I stopped walking and turned; behind me, two people, also out for a walk, stood together at the edge of the road, hand-in-hand, admiring the sun lifting up over the small hills behind the orchard. I turned around and headed home, to my family preparing dinner, to sit with them in our own perfect way and discover, together, the heap of small, beautiful moments that the day had yet to disclose.
Today, this will be our prayer. I hope it is yours as well.