An Entreaty to Myself in the Time of the Virus by Patricia Lee Lewis

An award-winning poet, Patricia Lee Lewis has led creative writing and yoga retreats for 30 years at Patchwork Farm Retreat in Westhampton MA and the US, and 70 retreats internationally. She moved recently to downtown Northampton MA where she will ride her bicycle again and revise that West Texas novel. (Patricia was an editorial review board member for the Pandemic Project.)

An Entreaty to Myself in the Time of the Virus

If you remember how to pray, please pray for the earth. Please do not stop praying as you do the small things, as you gather the plastic from the ocean, as you reuse aluminum foil, as you refuse plastic bags and straws and plates and spoons, as you seal your spent batteries from decay, as you limit the miles you drive alone in your car, the gas, the oil, the rubber from the tires, signaling plantation owners in Brazil to spare the forests, the laborers’ long lives. Please do not fail to don your mask against the virus and turn before you must, to a life of small work, small meals, small consumption of what cannot be replaced, repaired, restored. Choose if you can a life of long walks, candle-lit talks, communal work. Bend each day to the earth in thanksgiving. Hasten your praise to trees that give oxygen and mosses that live with them, to plants that flower, and plants in seed, bees and butterflies and the pollen that sustains us; to scavengers, beetles and buzzards, to microbes in soil and fungi in root systems, to catfish and earthworms, to glaciers and winds. To all beings and systems of beings along the chain of death and rebirth. We who are at war with our own home, fouling our nests, killing our kin, burning our forests, we may not be strong enough to stop ourselves. But we can pray to the earth for courage, to need less, to care more. We can act as if what we do will save what is left; as if our species will not be extinguished. Pray, at least, for that.