Earth Prayer

With our “Stay Home” orders in place, I was reminded of one of my favorite poems.  While our bodies stay in a small space, our minds can roam to places we can only imagine.

A Love Letter

By Nanao Sakaki, from Break the Mirror (Blackberry Books, 1996)

Gathered into the collection Earth Prayers from Around the World

Within a circle of one meter
You sit, pray and sing

Tiny crab spider on zinnia.

Close up she looks intimidating.

Within a shelter ten meters large
You sleep well, rain sounds a lullaby.

Wolf spider with egg case and hatchlings.

Wolf spider close up.


Bullfrog and minnows.

Female bullfrog — her tympanum is the same size as her eye.

Within a field a hundred meters large
Raise rice and goats.

Bee on rosin weed.

Turtle on a mission, more than 100 meters from the creek.

Goats and sheep, a little shaggy in the spring.

Within a valley a thousand meters large
Gather firewood, water, wild vegetables, and Amanitas.

With a forest ten kilometers large
Play with raccoons, hawks,
Poison snakes and butterflies.

Mountainous country Shinano
A hundred kilometers large
Where someone lives leisurely, they say.

Within a circle ten thousand kilometers large
Go to see the southern coral reef in summer
Or winter drifting ices in the sea of Okhotsk.

With a circle ten thousand kilometers large
Walking somewhere on the earth.

Within a circle a hundred thousand kilometers large
Swimming in the sea of shooting stars.

Within a circle a million kilometers large
Upon the spaced-out yellow mustard blossoms
The moon in the east, the sun west.

With a circle ten billion kilometers large
Pop from out of the solar system mandala.

Within a circle ten thousand light years large
The Galaxy full blooming in spring.

“The Galaxy full blooming in the spring…”

Within a circle one billion light years large
Andromeda is melting away into snowing cherry flowers.

Now within a circle ten billion light years large
All thoughts of time, space are burnt away
There again you sit, pray and sing
You sit, pray and sing.


Living with this poem for a few days made me think about the creatures I see everyday on my walks.  How big are their worlds?  I know some dragonflies guard territories, but I don’t know how large those are.  I have read that a box turtle can live its whole life in an area the size of a football field.  I have also read that there can be 8000 spiders in just one acre!

How much room do these various animals need to thrive?  For birds and mammals the information is pretty easy to find, but for insects and herps, I wasn’t able to find much.  The only fact I could find is that male bullfrogs will guard a territory of 3 to 25 meters along a pond shore line.  The frog pictured above was a female, and I couldn’t find anything about whether they have home territories or not.

But as I sit home, I am glad to share my circle with all of them.  🙂

I really love the poem’s imagery of the galaxies blossoming, so when I learned about the possibility of merging photos from this beautiful post by Amy at The World is a Book, I decided to blend some of my flower pictures with NASA photos of galaxies.  I didn’t quite achieve what I was hoping for, but I had fun, and maybe someday I will get back to these.

Andromeda picture

Milky Way picture