Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Spiritual Journey: Solace during CoronaVirus

Whistling swans poem by Mary Oliver

Whistling Swans

Do you bow your head when you pray or do you look
up into that blue space?
Take your choice, prayers fly from all directions.
And don’t worry about what language you use,
God no doubt understands them all.
- Mary Oliver   (see the rest here.)

I listen for the earth's songs these days. Mourning doves have resumed singing their lament. Coo-ah-coo coo coo. Coo-ah-coo coo coo. Geese fly over, bickering loudly in tones both amusing and wistful. The bluejay flits in from time to time, an imposter yelling Thief! Thief! Thief!!! Robins are busy stalking worms and floating their cheery tunes. Goldfinches in bright yellow plumage stage aerial flashdances through the neighborhood.

I've been watching the trees.  Many still raise bare branches in supplication, but the maples have knitted fuzzy red knots on their branches, and the magnolias take my breath away with their graceful blooms, like full-length silk gowns, eager for spring prom. When it comes to spring, New Jersey excels.

In spite of the beauty out our windows, it has been a hard week. I share the prayer below from the Celtic Daily Prayer book, a calming prayer:

Circle us, Lord.
Keep patience near
and discouragement afar.
Keep peace within
and turmoil out. Amen

Circle our families, Lord.
Keep protection near
and danger afar.

Circle our ill ones, Lord
keep strength and hope within
keep despair without.

Circle our healers and leaders, Lord
Keep light near
and darkness afar.

Circle those who suffer loss, Lord
keep peace within
and anxiety without.

The eternal Father, Son and Holy Spirit
shield us on every side.

Donna Smith is graciously hosting our Spiritual Journey Thursday found-up at Mainely Write.  Feel free to visit her there.


  1. My comment disappeared on my end, so if this is twice on your end, I apologize!
    This was so hopeful and joyous. Thank you for posting it. I have been fascinated by how the birds and flowers just come back as usual, on cue...while our lives are put on hold.
    I saw this video yesterday and it gave me comfort and hope. A doctor's upclose experience with the virus; Oh, my word. there are two lines in the number. They should be two nines. My computer is refusing to do the nine key! So type them in. It's worth the hassle. The video is long, so get a cup of coffee. You will want to see it.

    1. So evidently everyone can see the 9 except me. It looks like - on my end.

    2. I think this will be my prayer tonight. At 9pm Eastern time every evening, there are people praying for our country for 5 min. This is a beautiful prayer to get started. Thanks!

  2. The photos, your elegant descriptions of them, and the Celtic prayer are a balm to the spirit, Karen. I can drink them in for a long time. I love Mary Oliver as well - all of this comes together so perfectly and imparts such peace, in looking for the beauty and in prayer.

  3. A beautiful true and so needed. Thank you for the healing balm it already is.

  4. Nature is giving me solace, more than ever before. Thanks for this soothing post.

  5. Karen, New Jersey is certainly alive with nature's touch.Here on Long Island it is eerie. I do not see much outside. It is as if the birds know the sorrow and isolation are limiting everything in sight. Thank you for bringing the joy of spring. I love the imagery you shared. The prayer you shared is a beautiful one for the evening. Thank you. I am collecting photos for my Nature Nurtures Poetry Month project and am wondering if you would like to write a poem to accompany it. The invitation is at my blog site.

    1. Carol: Thank you for this invitation. I will look at it and make an attempt. I can never tell how things will turn out lately, so... it will be what it will be... but, yet, I would like to try.

    2. If you need help, let me know, Karen.

  6. Thank you for this lovely post. The prayer is perfect, as though written for today. <3