To honor Mother Earth this week, I invite you to bring a poem that celebrates nature, our planet, and/or life in general. We can offer these to one another during Monday night Sangha. Below, is the poem I chose, followed by an excerpt from a Love Letter to the Earth, by Thich Nhat Hanh.
Poem Offering: “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?
Dear Mother Earth,
You are this infinitely beautiful planet, fragrant, cool, and kind. Your immeasurable patience and endurance makes you great bodhisattva. Even though we’ve made many mistakes, you always forgive us. Every time we return to you, you are ready to open your arms and embrace us.
Whenever I am unstable, every time I lose touch with myself, or am lost in forgetfulness, sadness, hatred, or despair, I know I can come back to you. Touching you, I can find refuge; I can reestablish my peace and regain my joy and self-confidence. You love, protect, and nurture all of us without discrimination.
You have an immense capacity to embrace, handle, and transform everything that is cast at you, whether it be great asteroids, refuse and filth, poisonous fumes, or radioactive waste. Time helps you do this, and your history has shown that you always succeed, even if it takes millions of years. You were able to reestablish equilibrium after the devastating collision that created the moon and have endured at least five mass extinctions, reviving yourself every time. You have an extraordinary capacity to renew, transform, and heal yourself—and also us, your children.
I have faith in your great power of healing. My faith comes from my own observation and experience, not from something others have told me to believe. That’s why I know I can take refuge in you. As I walk, sit, and breathe, I can surrender myself in you, trust wholly in you, and allow you to heal me. I know I don’t have to do anything at all. I can simply relax, release all the tension in my body, and all the fears and worries in my mind. Whether I am sitting or walking, lying down or standing, I allow myself to take refuge in you, and allow myself to be held and healed by you, I entrust myself to you, Mother Earth. Each one of us needs a place of refuge, but we may not know how to find it or how to get there. Looking deeply today, I can see that my true home, my true place of refuge is you, my beloved planet. I take refuge in you, Mother Earth. I do not have to go anywhere to find you; you are already in me and I am already in you.
Dear Mother, each time I sit in stillness on your Earth, I will be aware that because you are in me, I can embody your wonderful qualities: of solidity, perseverance, patience, and forbearance; of depth, endurance, and stability; of great courage, non-fear, and inexhaustible creativity. I vow to practice wholeheartedly to realize these qualities, knowing that you have already sown these potentials as seeds in the soil of my heart and mind.