in near silence,
this is how
a teen-aged boy
greets his alpaca:
They touch foreheads . . . and breathe,
swapping morning breath,
mutually saluting the life force.
A pulmonary transaction. A gift.
The trusting loan of what each needs most.
I think of Aslan breathing on poor Mr. Tumnus, frozen into a statue by the White Witch.
And the Hebrew word Ruach: “Wind. Breath. Spirit.”
Breath itself, in the beginning . . .
Dear Animating Mercy,
Thank you for breathing life into the first human being, part stardust, part water, part mystery.
Thank you for lungs—for every fetus, those dormant organs awakened at birth.
Thank you for dreaming up Breath Practice via placentas. Via the luminous, pulsing, umbilical cord. Each of us took practice breaths late in our third trimester. And did not drown. We inhaled rich amniotic fluid, safely expanded our untried lungs.
Thank you for surfactant, the ingenious lung coating that keeps air sacs open, inflated.
Thank you for oxygen and carbon dioxide, the great ongoing exchange among people, creatures, plants.
Thank you for sighs resetting our respiratory system, relieving stress, recalibrating emotions.
Thank you for moments that take our breath away.
Thank you for ancient truths, breathed out:
The Spirit of God has made me;
the breath of the Almighty gives me life (Job 33:4).
If it were [God’s] intention to withdrew his spirit and breath,
all would perish together and return to the dust (Job 34:14,15).
But it is the spirit in [us], the breath of the Almighty,
that gives . . . understanding (Job 32:8).
Tell me, what does holy mean now?
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Dandelion photo, by Johannes Plenio, Unsplash
Let everything that has breath praise the Lord (Psalm 150:6).