The late Irish poet and philosopher John O’Donohue wrote blessings in the ancient Celtic tradition. I’ve listened to him with intention as I’ve traveled in my “Alcyon” pickup/camper through the Sonoran desert of saguaros and along the Sonoita Creek where Arizona sycamores reveal the first tinges of green in their extremities. Alone and in the company of Sandra, I drink in my surroundings and the words of O’Donohue who told us that every landscape is alive, and to be alive is to know and treat the world with kindness–all of it–from its rocks and crags to its trees and cacti to its birds and fish and animals, and to one other. Today, inspired by O’Donohue, I offer a blessing to cactus and sycamores:
For you, Saguaro with your arms akimbo
May your night flowers touch the stars
As the wings of bats brush by and with a
Delicate kiss, taste your sweet nectar,
Pollinate each flower as the Elf Owl
Peers from within your sheltering hollow.
For you, Sycamore with your elephantine trunk
Your white branches alive with squirrels, bees, and birds
Your roots holding the streamside fast
May your shade give rest to all those
Who are weary and hot
And in need of safe harbor.
For you, Cholla with your spines shimmering
In the gold light of afternoon
May your thorny branches always protect you
And offer a nesting home for
The Cactus Wren and the Verdin
Who sing their way into every heart.
(by Marina Richie)
Finally, I offer to you the blessing by John O’Donohue called Beannacht, a blessing for you on this Sunday of reflection, of a moon trending full, wherever you may be–in fog or sun, in desert, or deep forest, in city or town, ranch or farm.
Read the whole blessing that ends this way:
“May the nourishment of the earth be yours,
may the clarity of light be yours,
may the fluency of the ocean be yours,
may the protection of the ancestors be yours.
And so may a slow
wind work these words
of love around you,
an invisible cloak
to mind your life.”