On the eve of Earth Day, Joe and I seized the coincidence of lovely weather and an unscheduled evening to enjoy a walking ritual at a park near our house. In a sort of mini-pilgrimage, at points along the way we read aloud blessings for each of the four elements. The blessings were adapted from Christine Valters Paintner’s book Water, Wind, Earth, and Fire: The Christian Practice of Praying with the Elements. (Only brief excerpts are reproduced here.) 

Blessings of wind be upon me.
May I breathe deeply the gift of inspiration.


The day was even breezy so that we could fully experience the element of wind!


Blessings of fire be upon me.
May the flame of love burn brightly within me.


Facing west in the late afternoon, we paused to enjoy the sun’s warmth.


Blessings of water be upon me.
May I be carried by the flow of the great river of life,
to the shores of the sacred and renewed.


No swimming allowed in this pond, but I dipped my hands and sprinkled each of us as a gesture of baptismal renewal.


Blessings of earth be upon me.
May I live in awareness that all life
depends on caring for earth’s abundance,
in harmony with all creation.


Last stop, our plot at the community garden. I took a moment to dig out a few nettles out of the damp soil.


IMG_0787Returning home, we enjoyed a meatless meal of bean and quinoa chili. Before saying our usual grace, we recited blessings written by Jewish poet Marcia Falk.

Let us bless the source of life that brings forth bread from the earth.

Let us bless the source of life that ripens fruit on the vine.

A beautiful sunset provided a perfect closing rite.