My home backs onto some woods and a pond, where we see a multitude of wildlife: bobcats and otters, great blue herons, kingfishers, Canadian geese, mallards, mergansers, cormorants. Once a moose actually walked by our patio, and in the spring a bear was spotted on the edge of the woods. As of yet, we have not had any swans, but a body can hope. I find the presence of the animals, especially the birds, opens up space inside me, such that I quiet down and listen deeply. At such moment, if I am blessed, prayer comes unbidden and reassures me, as does this lovely poem from Mary Oliver. 

-- Kate Maynard