In my weird half-pagan, half-agnostic way I do a reasonable amount of praying. I pray to a mixture of God, the universe, Mother Nature, saints I loved as a child like my all-time favourite St. Francis of Assisi, the archangels, people I know who have passed on, the sky at night, the sky in the morning, and in an odd kind of twist, sometimes to my inner self.
I think that most people, whether they view themselves as religious or not, engage in some kind of praying. Surely, prayer is about aligning our thoughts in a positive way so that we calm and restore ourselves;we don’t necessarily need to invoke God or Jesus or the Virgin Mary to do that.
I have found that along with the prayer comes the altar. A place to sit, or kneel, or lean against where contemplation comes easily. It is a natural altar that has just presented itself. It could be under a tree, on a bridge or an office desk that happens to be beside a window.
This photo is of my bedroom window. It is a little dark inside because it is the evening but it is still light enough outside to sit and reflect and watch the colours dress the sky for night.
I often sit there. Sometimes on the bed. Sometimes leaning against the lintel. Sometimes on the floor so I can see the rooftops turn from red to amber.
Sometimes the sunset casts a pink and orange glow on the curtains. You would swear they had changed colour but in the morning the shades of sunset have faded to cream.
Often the birds call. A plaintive sound, a sonata in a minor key that soars and twists and aches like weeping.
I watch as the lights come on in houses up and down the street like hands being raised in welcome and hear doors thud one after the other against the night.
I give thanks then. For making it through the day. Whether it is to a god or to myself, I can’t be sure. But it works. It crystallises hopes and dreams. Then I think of, hope for, pray for those that need some good to come into their lives. People I know and people I don’t. The animals. The trees.
It is a prayer. It is a poem. It is a story. It is a song. A mantra, an anthem, a meditation, a psalm.
It works. Sending out all that energy to be gathered by the spirits who wait to catch and disperse it. The ether zings with wishes and prayers flung out from altars of our own making.
Who would have thought that sitting by a window could provide such coherence, such relief?
I’d better watch out.
I might start believing in something.