Why I Wake Early
A Poem by Mary Oliver
Hello, sun in my face.
Hello, you who make the morning
And spread it over the fields
And into the faces of the tulips
And the nodding morning glories,
And into the windows of, even, the
Miserable and the crotchety-
Best preacher that ever was,
Dear star, that just happens
To be where you are in the universe
To keep us from every-darkness,
To ease us with warm touching
To hold us in the great hands of light-
Good morning, good morning, good morning.
In happiness, in kindness.
Up high in a
skyscraper in down town Edmonton, Alberta I face the window while reading
Mary’s poem. I too awoke early, which is
easy to do here given how early the sun rises this far north. The sun emerges out of my vision, but the
rays hit the windows of the office building across the street, and they reflect
mightily into my eyes as I write. Sun,
do you see my tears of gratitude, which are the tears of so many of us who
struggle with the tension of whether to be crotchety or kind? How might we come together to choose
kindness? Isn’t this what religion is
all about? To address these questions, I
am attending a conference on Conservation Biology and will present a paper,
“Avian Conservation as Lived Religion.”
I speak of how conservation teams go into the field to save and savor
the world, and how they experience transcendent meaning making moments amongst
them. I speak of how the emerging nature
religion guides conservationists into choosing to give themselves over to a
better thing as they strive to be kind so that the world may know
happiness. I am a preacher who has been
gratefully bested by the Sun, life giver, creator of love. Today. This moment. Amen.
What helps you be kind?
Downtown Edmonton (photo by Christa Hauke)