My neighbors had a huge oak tree come crashing down during Hurricane Irene. It crushed their car, tore off their roof, and did enough structural damage that there’s now a big red sign from the county saying that their home is not safe for occupancy. Four days later, the tree company is still working at slicing down the tree and carting off the huge sections of trunk. That (and worse) happened to people all up and down the East Coast. It will be a long, costly project, but my neighbors (and many others) will rebuild.
Here’s a blessing from John O’Donohue‘s book To Bless the Space Between Us: A Book of Blessings. It’s for a new home, but I think it will work as well for one that’s been rebuilt.
Elemental Blessing for a New Home
Before a human voice was ever heard here,
This place has known the respect of stone,
The friendship of the wind, always returning
With news of elsewhere, whispered in seed and pollen,
The thin symphonies of birdsong softening the silence,
The litanies of rain rearranging the air,
Cascades of sunlight opening and closing days,
And the glow of the moon gazing through darkness.
May all that elemental enrichment
Bless the foundation and standing of your home.
Before you came here, this place has known
The wonder of children’s eyes,
The hope of mornings in troubled hearts,
The tranquility of twilight easing the night,
The drama of dreams under sleeping eyelids,
The generous disturbance of birth,
The anxieties of old age unclenching into grace
And the final elegance of calmly embraced death.
May the life of you new home enter
Into this inheritance of spirit.
May the rain fall kindly,
May daylight illuminate your hearts,
May the darkness never burden.
May those who dwell here in the unseen
Watch over your coming and going,
May your lives of love and promise
Refine and deepen the mind of the land.
(Regular readers may note that I’ve linked to Bartleby’s Books, an independent Vermont bookseller. I usually link to Politics & Prose, my beloved D.C. independent book store. (If you are ever in D.C., P&P is definitely worth a side trip. It’s metro-accessible, surrounded by great places to eat, and it’s a simply fantastic, old-fashioned bookstore where you wander around, see more D.C. celebrities than at Mortons, and find books that make you go, “Oh, I never heard of this; I NEED it!” Bartleby’s store, like my neighbors’ home, was badly damaged by Hurricane Irene. (I admit the thought of rain water pouring down on the books in my home makes me sick.) While Bartleby’s rebuilds, their on-line sales will be their primary source of income. If you’re inclined to buy O’Donohue’s Book of Blessings, you might consider doing so from Bartleby’s. Or, your own independent book store.)
note CORRECTION for line 19
in O’Donohue’s Elemental Blessing for a New Home:
May the life of YOUR new home enter
May the life of YOU new home enter