Mary Oliver is one of my favorite poets. Her question haunts me and inspires me. In honor of the beginning of Summer…
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?
The Buddhists call it Precious Human Birth, the rare karmic gift of a human body/mind/spirit, which allows the possibility of awakening into complete enlightenment. At least, can we learn to be aware of the beauty of the life around us, to appreciate the fleeting magic of each moment?
What do you plan to do with your precious existence?