Spirit of Life, source of all change:
The end of autumn is nearly near
and all is darkness and waiting.
In the deep woods the tracks of animals
tell stories of lives unseen:
Bear has found a ground bees’ nest
dug it out
and eaten all the larvae.
Great Blue Heron
whose foot is longer than mine
has hunted in the canal for fish.
Young Raven has dropped sticks from a great height
and then gone to the ground
to see what became of them.
So much life goes on unseen—
at least by us—
because we are busy looking elsewhere.
How much life among humans
How many joys and sorrows
are tucked away in hearts
not quite brave enough to share?
What wells of longing
lie waiting to be tapped
by words of kindness,
a hand held out?
Who is putting on a brave face?
Who is just barely hanging on?
May we look carefully
into one another’s faces.
May we learn to read
each other’s signs.
May we offer each other deep listening
so true stories can emerge.
In this time of darkness and waiting,
help us pay close attention,
so that no life goes unseen.
Among the dry stones
rainwater has collected
into a pool.
A single yellow leaf
floats on the surface.
The stones are round
from a thousand years’ travel together.
The water is perfectly clear.
Do you see?
None of this was arranged just for you.
Stones, water, leaf…
They have been doing this
since the beginning of time
and they will continue
until the end.
This is God, being.
You can walk on,
or you can stop, and
I do not understand the noise
that comes from the television
or the freeways
or the open mouths
of the people in charge.
This is the language I understand:
The maple leaf
slowly twirling down
from its branch
The trickle of water
seeping out of the rocks
The water boatman rowing
to the bottom of the pool
The cottonwood leaves
Spirit of Life, source of all love:
Now is the time when the wheel of the year
tips toward more darkness than light.
One minute the sky is a perfect deep blue
and the next it is filled with clouds.
One minute the air is still and warm
and the next the wind sweeps through the trees.
These are such small and lovely changes;
they happen every year.
Help us lose ourselves in their beauty.
Help us pause for a whole eternity
just breathing in this sweetness:
this autumn air,
this fragrance of leaves and moss,
this gift of life itself.
May we be strengthened by our pause.
May we be strengthened by the beauty.
May we face unafraid all we must do
to serve and uphold life.
Spirit of Life, source of all love,
You who body forth as our starry universe
and this luminous, blue-green planet:
Help us know you as the breath of our bodies.
As we mark the end of summer
and the beginning of autumn,
help us know you as the life force
that fills grapes and pears
with the liquid sunshine
that delights our tongues.
Help us also know you
as the force that turns green leaves yellow
and starts their slow spinning to the ground.
Help us know you as a love so large
that in all beginnings,
and in all endings,
we are ever safely held.
Help us rest in that love,
as we look with open eyes
upon the suffering within us and all around us.
Fill us with the loving kindness we need
to relieve this suffering.
Help us to breathe your love and peace
into our scarred and beautiful world.
Spirit of Life,
Great Ocean of Compassion,
Now the rains begin to fall
and the leaves to show glorious color.
Now begins our time of gathering in,
of making fast.
Squirrels rush to and fro
carrying summer’s bounty
to their secret hoards.
May we ourselves gather
just what we need, and no more.
May we open ourselves
to the knowledge that there is enough.
There is enough love.
There is enough food and water.
There is enough shelter and medicine.
There is enough wisdom and beauty.
There is enough if only we will share.
Grant us the strength to share.
Spirit of Life,
Great immensity of love that birthed the stars
and washes through our bodies
with every beat of our hearts:
Open us to your cleansing breath.
Let your moving, changing winds
clear away our fear and confusion,
leaving us fresh of heart.
Let us then be ready to do Your work:
to bind each other’s wounds,
to share all that we have,
to mend the tears in the web of life.