Tuesday, November 13, 2007


I was visiting Technorati and came across a blog that used a quote from me as an epigraph: "Description is revelation. Seeing is praise."

Surely this is wrong, I thought. It should be the other way around. Seeing is revelation; description is praise.

But no, I went to the source -- Honey From Stone -- and there it is, just as the blogger had it. What could I have been thinking?

Revelation comes from outside. We need only be disposed to see -- objectively and without prejudice (insofar as that is possible) -- to be gifted with insights into the mystery of creation. To attend to what we see is prayer. To describe what we see is praise.

And so it is these November mornings as I stop to praise the milkweed. More than praise; I give the stems a good shake and send the seed tufts flying. I doubt if the folks in the nearby community gardens appreciate me spreading weeds, but I'm thinking of the ever-diminishing population of monarch butterflies, whose larvae feed only on this plant.

Once, many years ago, when my first two kids were not much more than toddlers, I brought home heaps of ripe milkweed pods on their stems, and two big air blowers from the physics lab. We had a back bedroom that was used for nothing but storage. I cleared it out and moved in the blowers and stereo speakers. The kids stripped down to their undies and frolicked in the room with milkweed stems in each hand, shaking up an air-blasted snowstorm of tufts while Handel's Hallelujah Chorus boomed on the stereo. I wonder if they remember?

I will praise with the tongues of angels. I will sound the lyre.