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  • Writer's pictureMayfair United Church

A Beauty Seen and Felt By the Body

Earth Verse

Wide enough to keep you looking

Open enough to keep you moving

Dry enough to keep you honest

Prickly enough to make you tough

Green enough to go on living

Old enough to give you dreams

~ Gary Snyder ~

(Mountains and Rivers Without End: Poem)



It has now been several days since we left the Masai Mara. A place of beauty so unlike anything I’ve seen before that I have been without words. And yet, I saw similarities . It is human nature, I believe, to look for what we know.

The wide, wide vistas and big sky remind me of the Canadian prairie where I make my home. The giraffe makes me think of the moose – graceful and beautiful but also kind of bizarre and other-worldly.

Before I left for Kenya I remember thinking of the environmental impact and the privilege that it reflected and I asked myself ‘should I really do this?’ I know that it is still privilege to be able to say I did not regret one moment of that experience. I saw a whole new part of creation, of the earth, and so a whole new part of God.


I have come into this world to

see this: all creatures hold hands


we pass through this miraculous existence we share on the way

to even a greater being of soul,

a being of just ecstatic light,

forever entwined and at play

with Creator

-Hafiz (adpt. smt)


For many human beings, other parts of creation and other creatures are still seen as commodities and poaching (or worse) is still a reality. But I also wonder is it different for me to pay to even look at these amazing beings? Tourism is also a way of commodifying and only a privileged few get to see what I saw. Perhaps it is about what we do with our experience after – how sharing our stories and images and amazement can offer a gift to others. As we heard about then met some members of research teams and a BBC filming crew I believe that what they are doing is part of this message.



As Canadians we might wonder how does knowing about the life of a giraffe or following a family of hyenas affect how we live and what choices we make….

Perhaps it is a reminder of the specialty of creation and how amazingly suited the creatures are to their environment. Perhaps it is to remember Creator’s unmistakable sense of humour. Perhaps it is to be reminded that we are called in respectful relationship with ALL of creation, no matter how vast or limited our views.



My hope is that everyone will get a chance to experience the beauty of this amazing earth from wherever they are and that the gifts I have received can be shared as best as I can. Take time to notice the creatures around you – a tiny bird, a huge mammal, even the neighbours’ barking dog or an ant. Take time to notice the beauty, creativity and strength within even a small flower, the sky, a tree or your own hands. Take time to know that you are part of the earth and that out of this mud, came the unique shape of giraffe, moose, hyena, elephant, monitor lizards and YOU.


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