Morning Prayer / Evening Prayer

Prayers_Night Shadow diagonal

Two books, boxed as a set, made from prints of original watercolor paintings and calligraphy

Edition of 12

28 pages each

Each book 4.5” H x 11 1/8” W x 1/4” D

Box roughly 12 W x 10 H x 1 D, Dreaming Mind Bindery, Castro Valley, California

2016

Morning Prayer

I arise, facing east,
I am asking toward the light:
I am asking that my day
Shall be beautiful with light,
I am asking that the place
Where my feet are shall be light,
That as far as I can see
I shall follow it aright.
I am asking for the courage
To go forward through the shadow.
I am asking toward the light!

Evening Prayer

O Great Mystery,
My heart is open
Although my mind is sleeping
And my eyes are shut.
Come, Great Mystery,
Into the secret places,
And while my mind is sleeping
My heart be teaching.
Then all day thereafter
My heart shall be remembering
What it knew at night,
And however my thought stumbles
My heart will stand upright.

Who has not been touched by the magic hour at dawn or dusk? This is a liminal space, where one thing flows into another: day into night, night into day. Prayer and praise often come naturally here.

Dawn and dusk also mark the rhythm of our days, transitions that tell the passage of time. I believe we respond to these threshold moments because they reflect the larger rhythms of our lives. At dawn we might feel the great turning of the seasons; at dusk perhaps the greater round of birthing and dying.

The poems in Morning Prayer / Evening Prayer were created by Mary Hunter Austin in the late 19th century. As a young schoolteacher in the eastern California desert, she wrote them for children; thus they are informed by a childlike wonder we feel in the presence of the numinous.

The poet often felt the land speaking to her, and her work answering. Later she would write about “. . . the landscape line . . . . singing in tune with the beloved environment . . . . and all the peacock splendor of the American continent.”

Her sensitivity to the shape of the land informed the silhouette of my paintings. These horizons asked for space to be seen and entered. Most of the design decisions, from page width to paper for the prints, were made in keeping with the tender feeling of sunset and sunrise, and a quiet interior sense of prayer.

These two poems were published in Austin’s 1928 book The Children Sing in the Far West. Archival prints of original calligraphy and watercolor paintings, composited digitally and produced on an Epson 3880 on Arches Text Wove paper. Bound in hand sewn signatures on grosgrain ribbon within soft covers of painted Rives BFK, with painted endpapers of translucent vellum paper.

Please contact me for availability.