I am clearing a space

 here, where the trees stand back.

 I am making a circle so open

 the moon will fall in love

 and stroke these grasses with her silver.

 I am setting stones in the four directions,

 stones that have called my name

 from mountaintops and riverbeds, canyons and mesas.

 Here I will stand with my hands empty,

 mind gaping under the moon.

 I know there is another way to live.

 When I find it, the angels

 will cry out in rapture,

 each cell of my body

 will be a rose, a star.

 If something seized my life tonight,

 if a sudden wind swept through me,

 changing everything,

 I would not resist.

 I am ready for whatever comes.

 But I think it will be

 something small, an animal

 padding out from the shadows,

 or a word spoken so softly

 I hear it inside.

It is dark out here, and cold.

 The moon is stone.

 I am alone with my longing.

 Nothing is happening

 but the next breath.

 ~ by Morgan Farley

This evening, I will gather with members of my church family to observe Ash Wednesday.  Always a solemn service, we will each walk forward to receive the mark of ashes and will contemplate how to move toward Easter during the coming days of Lent.

My Lenten practice in past years has included taking on a study or discipline as a way to focus on spiritual things.  For several weeks, I’ve been mulling over ideas for study this year, and in spite of that, nothing sifted to the top of the list as an obvious choice.

A few days ago, I received a beautiful poem in an email, as if in response to my Lenten dilemma…it inspires purposeful openness to that which comes my way, especially in images from nature.   (Again, I think, God speaks to me most profoundly through the vastness and diversity and beauty of the natural world.)

Taking guidance from the poet’s masterful description, I will clear a space, set stones in the four directions, and watch and wait with empty hands, open to the changing winds upon me.

…and so the days of Lent unfold before us…

Holy Creator, I know there is another way to live…quieted, willing, welcoming, open.   Inspire my awareness of your constant presence as I venture forth in faith to experience you in this world. Amen