Life sure is full of the daily, isn’t it? It must have always been this way, but somehow a global quarantine has a way of drawing extra attention to it. My days feel different from what they were. But at the same time they feel more similar to one another than they have, perhaps ever.
One of my daily tasks is watering plants. We have a modest vegetable garden, three potted herbs, a handful of houseplants, a tree on the mend who needs extra attention, and a lemon tree and two laurels on the front porch.
It sounds like a lot, but it really only takes me ten minutes to walk around the house to every plant and back and forth, filling up my watering can between. I do it first thing in the morning, and being outside helps wake me up.
But then there’s the cutting garden. For you non-gardeners like me, a cutting garden is just a flower garden intended to be cut into bouquets, when the time comes. Cutting gardens are easy to seed-start, so they’re simple, but need babysitting. (Just like risotto.) They need babysitting because baby wildflowers need to stay moist. Mine is a wildflower mix suited to our zone: 6b. Desert. So no reliable help from the skies around here. Which means the cutting garden beds need at least three or four waterings a day. And so, I carry water.
We could put some of these on a drip system, but there is something daily and inefficient about carrying water that I’ve come to love. Maybe it is that carrying water gives me a short break – from work, from play, from all of the other dailies. Maybe it is that carrying water has evolved for me into a daily prayer.
My Water-Carrying Prayer.
I learned about daily prayers for everything from the Celtic tradition – prayers for waking up, washing your face, lighting the fire, cooking the meat, going to bed. A few years ago I read Esther deWaal’s The Celtic Way of Prayer, and it was really inspiring. The Celtic way of praying incorporates little prayers or poems that are memorized and either spoken or thought to oneself throughout the day.
But my Water-Carrying Prayer is not only Celtic. When I carry water, I think of all of the water carriers throughout the world. All of the people who’ve never turned a handle and seen water run from a tap. All of the people who spend a large part of each day just procuring, carrying, purifying, heating, and cooling water. All of the people struggling to survive because clean water is not accessible.
A friend stopped by yesterday when I was just finishing up my third wildflower watering of the day, and I said in passing, “…let me just finish up my little water-carrying prayer here.”
“What are the words?” she asked. She is a dear, sensitive soul with her own fervent, daily prayers strewn throughout her life. She wanted to learn the Water-Carrying Prayer.
I thought for a second. “Oh, I guess there aren’t any,” I heard myself saying. “I guess I just imagine myself as a Celtic and then I pray God-of-Love to have mercy on all the people who are carrying water right now, with me.”
Do you have any daily prayers? What daily rhythms could you make into a prayer? If you make one up this week, will you please share it with me – with us all? Yours can definitely have words if it helps!