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Prayer for the Desolate

Even in a world that’s being shipwrecked, remain brave and strong. —Hildegard of Bingen Sometimes there’s a strange, wild splendor in what otherwise looks desolate. I’m thinking about the meadow I frequently walk. Now that it’s in full winter garb, some might describe it as shabby, unkempt, even desolate. Most of it hasn’t been mowed since early last spring so as to preserve it as habitat for meadowlarks. Even its edges, last trimmed in September, have grown ragged. The various wild grasses, dried to nearly monochromatic shades of gray and tan, are bent from rain, wind, and the bodies of passing deer. The stalks of last spring and summer’s wildflowers are desiccated and broken. The huge oaks

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