Views in Prayer

Today for my silent sitting time I opened a window and looked out. When I lived in New Mexico I spent this time looking out a window every morning. Here in Washington it’s not so easy, and for several months it has been dark while I sat. Today I looked out and found that I pray best with my eyes open and focused. What I saw was the tree in the corner of my yard, edging on wanting to bloom, swaying gently in the wind against the side of Little Mountain, a big rock south of town that juts up several hundred feet, coated with a dense mat of trees. Behind her, the night’s left-over clouds hung in shreds. Clouds, Mountains and Trees. How do you better sum up the Pacific Northwest, unless you are going to add the gleaming white bodies of Trumpeter Swans wafting by, headed for the Sound. But even at the Sound, clouds, mountains and trees dominate the horizons.

It’s funny how, when you’re up on the side of the mountain, you get to look into treetops at eye level. In all their verticality, mountains are levelers, even of the most mighty of trees. They are levelers of humanity, splitting peoples apart and joining them together, rendering even the most hearty as knife-edge close to their own mortality as the older and wiser. Clouds are the only thing in the area bigger than mountains, for even the majestic Mount Baker slips in and out of view depending on the clouds. Being in a cloud on a mountaintop is as disorienting as on the plains below.

What is it that you pray best when you look at, listen to, taste, smell or touch? Whatever it is, it is what opens your heart to the depths of things, the wonder of their is-ness.

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