What Awaits?

Photo and text by Joe Grant © 2021

Stay watchful and awake for neither day nor hour are known to you.

Matthew 25:13

Have you ever felt that everything has been waiting for you?

Enthralled by the wind-whisked waltz
of crinkled leaf casings
skittering across the path,

or blood-red berry bunches
glistening on stickled twigs
that decorate a crisp winter morning,

could it be ridiculous
to consider that all this
was just waiting, wanting, willing to be noticed?

What else might beauty be,
if not the beaming resonance
of being, fully recognized.

Landscape isn’t just matter.
It is actually alive, and it recalls us
into a mode of silence and solitude
where you can truly receive time

John O’Donohue

As we enter the umbra of ecological eclipse,
where earth and moon, stars and galaxies
are blotted and blotched by our own shadow,

surely now is the moment to incline ears to the ground,
and raise the gaze skyward
to heed the urgent appeal of this hour.

Before rushing headlong,
committed to compliance or rebellion,
first comes attentive watchfulness,

welcoming wild wisdom
offered by beauty and blight,
wordlessly proclaimed by nature.

For earth herself is hermitage,
miraculous, solitary sanctuary
silently spinning through spacious dark.

Rolling dark to light
in endless revolution,
bright fades back to black.

Joe Grant, Scratchings

Could contemplation,
simply understood and eagerly embraced,
be the art of attention, the practice of noticing?

Could such communing too
evolve into mutual conversation,
where a waiting world readily reveals itself to the watcher;

this golden morning,
this smoldering evening,
this patient blanket of night,

this breathy moment,
dressed up in delight and disturbance,
wanting to be noted and known?

In relation to the earth, we have been autistic for centuries.
Only now have we begun to listen with some attention
and with a willingness to respond to the earth’s demands
that we cease our industrial assault,
that we abandon our inner rage against the conditions of our earthly existence,
that we renew our participation in the grand liturgy of the universe.

Thomas Berry

Without willing attention,
waiting and watching,
listening and learning from lengthy conversations with life,

how can we enter
the fullness of now,
this appointed time, this critical hour?

Be still
Listen to the stones of the wall
Be silent, they try
To speak your

Listen to the living walls.

Thomas Merton

Counting down the days,
months and minutes
to global climate catastrophe,

the earth clock gives us a handful of years
to wake up and shake up
demented patterns and degrees of separation,

and alerts us to disastrous portents,
already in motion,
that await our children and theirs.

All the while, a living tapestry
anxiously anticipates our awakening,
waiting to welcome us home.

Awash in mass distraction,
with “virtual” misdirection
masquerading as reality,

may you awaken from hypnotic hallucination
to attend the miracles that await
in sights, sounds and scents all around.

Let Life lead us from the unreal into the real,
so together we might face all that awaits,
clear eyed and open hearted.


Visit my website: inthestormstill.com
Now available here.

Scratchings by Joe Grant provides a fascinating journey showing the extraordinary wisdom and beauty found in the most ordinary of events. While appreciating events such as the beauty of a leaf falling and the often-unnoticed activities in the backyard of his inner city neighborhood, the journey also takes us far and wide from his childhood in Scotland, to his mission experience in the Amazon rainforest, and even to the site of genocidal massacre in Rwanda. Each episode draws the reader in with exquisite language and creates a picture that engages the imagination. The word play, rhyming, cadence and alliteration are delightful and evocative.

In a powerful section of his book called Epiphany, Joe reflects on the in-breaking moments of graced awareness:

To the awakened,
every sunrise is a first
brilliant blush of brand-new creation
each frigid breath suspended,
a sacramental exhalation
in conspiration of
spirit holy.

He goes on to write, “sometimes a singular ray pierces perception to jolt us into wakefulness with a radiant revelation that all ground is hallowed.”

This beautiful book is for me a meditation on our amazing yet troubled world. Joe’s book helps me to see the sacred mysteries which are all around us.

  • The Rev. Karl Ruttan, Ph.D., Episcopal priest and spiritual director