And all I want are the green hills and the feathered things,
the quiet of this morning's tramp--
not a human soul but myself for three blessed hours.
Just the alarmed birds,
and judging by the packs of small boys with slingshots
glimpsed on my way home,
good reason for that fear.
Solitude from people
and the presence of the creatures,
mute, instinctual, wild--
ringing like bells,
tolling the energy and passion and creativity of God,
bringing us back
to a better understanding
of our place in the order of things--
loved, yes, cherished,
but merely motes in the vast rushing universe
borne aloft by God's undying love.
They praise better than we do--
they praise simply by being.
They return my awareness to being a creature,
a creature of God, that lives and must die.
Henri Nouwen wrote:
Silence is the way to make solitude a reality.
Yet in the heat and the noise
and the unrelenting presence of others
in the Cambodian village--
how can I pray?
I who become alive
when alone and away
from the hum of human activity.
Teach me to pray, Jesu,
in the midst of the world.