I Happen to Be Standing


I Happened To Be Standing

by Mary Oliver

I don’t know where prayers go,
or what they do.
Do cats pray, while they sleep
half-asleep in the sun?
Does the opossum pray as it
crosses the street?
The sunflowers? The old black oak
growing older every year?

photo 2 I know I can walk through the world,
along the shore or under the trees,
with my mind filled with things
of little importance, in full
self-attendance. A condition I can’t really
call being alive.
Is a prayer a gift, or a petition,
or does it matter?
The sunflowers blaze, maybe that’s their way.
Maybe the cats are sound asleep. Maybe not.

While I was thinking this I happened to be standing
just outside my door, with my notebook open,
which is the way I begin every morning.
Then a wren in the privet began to sing.

IMG_1877 He was positively drenched in enthusiasm,
I don’t know why. And yet, why not.
I wouldn’t persuade you from whatever you believe
or whatever you don’t. That’s your business.
But I thought, of the wren’s singing, what could this be
if it isn’t a prayer?
So I just listened, my pen in the air.

“I Happened To Be Standing” by Mary Oliver from A Thousand Mornings. ©

photo 1

Categories: Nature ScapesTags: , , ,


  1. I agree, this was beautiful. I pray — just not with the traditional interpretation, but with the understanding that all our cells, including neurons have little antennas and put out a frequency. 😉

    • I just love your perspective, Victoria. I totally agree with neurons, antennas and positive energy. Sending you all that (and a bag of chips) on this beautiful Tuesday afternoon. xo

      • *smiles*

        Thank you Michelle. I think it’s wonderful that we can pick up on each others thoughts/prayers — especially the happy frequencies. 😀

        Mmmmm, tater chips. Will go well with my chocolate Easter bunny.



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