Nips, Lips, Hips, ‘N Fingertips

{February 26, 2006}   An Earth Prayer

Okay, this has been building up for a long time and I finally feel like I have created the safe space in which to spit it out: It sucks to be a non-Mormon in Utah. It sucks that we moved from “the bad part of Ogden City” to “a nice subdivison in Shadow Valley” where no one talks to us at all now, presumably because we do not go to the church around the corner. Yes, it’s good that it’s quiet- but it’s a little too quiet.

I let our sheepdog bark his fool head off this morning because it’s Sunday and I figure all of our neighbors are up getting ready for church anyway. I never really pay attention, but I have heard that a lot of LDS families walk to church- which would be great to see- yet somehow, the parking lot of the church around the corner is always overflowing (and it’s a big, big parking lot) with Audi’s, BMW’s, Excursions, Lexuses (Lexii?), and Yukons.  I have seen a few people walking from the church to their cars. I wonder where they all come from? Don’t the people in the neighborhood go to the neighborhood church? Maybe they are all from the really nice houses up the mountain? The ones with the view of the lake. 

We have a really choice view of the church from our bedroom window. It’s especially breathtaking when there is fog. The church looks a bit gothic and spooky then, but maybe only because I am an outsider. I am a not-Mormon.

And even though we have found some solace in the Unitarian Universalist Church of Ogden’s Sunday service, lately my partner has had to go in to work for a few hours on Sundays at 1 a.m. (that’s Saturday night if you ask me). Then this morning he got called back in at 8 a.m. So we may or may not go to “church”. I got this great book at the Antelope Island visitor’s center, called Earth Prayers From Around the World: 365 Prayers, Poems, and Invocations for Honoring the Earth. Here is one of my favorite poems from it- I especially appreciate the lines about pleasing women!!):

So, friends, every day do something

that won’t compute.  Love the Lord.

Love the world.  Work for nothing.

Take all that you have and be poor.

Love someone who does not deserve it.

Denounce the government and embrace

the flag.  Hope to live in that free

republic for which it stands.

Give your approval to all you cannot

understand.  Praise ignorance, for what man 

has not encountered he has not destroyed.

Ask the questions that have no answers.

Invest in the millenium.  Plant sequoias.

Say that your main crop is the forest

that you did not plant,

that you will not live to harvest.

Say that the leaves are harvested

when they have rooted into the mold.

Call that profit.  Prophesy such returns.

Put your faith in the two inches of humus

that will build under the trees

every thousand years.

Listen to the carrion— put your ear

close, and hear the faint chattering

of the songs that are to come.

Expect the end of the world.  Laugh.

Laughter is immeasurable.  Be joyful

though you have considered all the facts.

So long as women do not go cheap

for power, please women more than men.

Ask yourself, will this satisfy

a woman satisfied to bear a child?

Will this disturb the sleep

of a woman near to giving birth?

Go with your love to the fields.

Lie easy in the shade.  Rest your head

in her lap.  Swear allegiance

to what is nighest your thoughts.

As soon as the generals and the politicos

can predict the motions of your mind,

lose it.  Leave it as a sign

to mark the false trail, the way

you didn’t go.  Be like the fox

who makes more tracks than necessary,

some in the wrong direction.

Practice resurrection.

~Wendell Berry

I don’t know who Wendell Berry is! But I thank him for that. 

Great Mother, I pray that more Utahns will become environmentalists this year, especially because Utah is about to become home to even more nuclear waste- and unfortunately, it will travel through and be stored near Native American land.


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