“They were being taught to thank the sun for their lives and the warmth that it brought, the life that it brought to the earth and they were told to do that right before they did their sun salutation exercises…” ~ complaining parent quoted in 09 January 2013 NPR news article “Promoting Hinduism? Parents Demand Removal Of School Yoga Class”

And why should we not thank the sun
for life and warmth it lavishes on all
regardless of caste or class; why not

thank the mountains that sustain and are
far older than the buildings and townhouses
lining the avenues, older than the giant

letters that have spelled Hollywood
in bright white only since 1923, older
than Grauman’s Chinese Theatre

and its forecourt bearing the handprints,
footprints, and signatures of movie stars?
And why should we not give thanks

for the heart expanding, the lungs filling
with our common lien of breath, the ribcage
hinging open as the body is reminded

how it feels to press its length along the ground
then rises like a cobra, like a tree, like an eagle
balancing upon a rock? And what is prayer

but a way to teach— in any tongue, by any
means— the kind of quiet that extends
farther than comprehension; and what

is wonder but what might link us once again
to vastness, leaf outward as gratitude, no matter
circumstance or clime? Just ask the oldest

giant sequoia— so old it must have started
growing in the iron age, rooted first
as seed before reaching for the sun.


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