Earth’s Heartbeat


(on a hike at Devil’s Punchbowl near Pearblossom, CA)

Mountain-shaped silhouettes
Mark the the tall pale stalk 
Of a spent yucca:
Are these its last lines of praise
For the land where it stands?

Above, the yellow pine
Sighs with the deep gratitude I feel
As wind vibrates
Its long-needled vocal chords.

Below, in the canyon,
Slabs of pale sandstone tilt sunward.
The fault line that lifts them
Carves a long notch into the mountains beyond,
And drives a crack 
Through my imagination.

A thin bright stream shapes the stone
With tumbling grains of sand.
A pinon tree lifts hidden water
Through roots, up its trunk, through needles, 
And into the air.

Slowing, I breathe scents of sage and pine.
This is the silence of the centuries
Between the last earthquake and the next.

No less alive than I
Is all I see, and the ground on which I stand.
Can I stop long enough
To catch the heartbeat of this earth?


I’ll be speaking on THE BIBLE AND THE BRAIN – exploring how recent findings in cognitive science and in the evolution of human consciousness can inform the way we read the Bible – this Sun, Feb 12, 8:30 am at Manhattan Beach Community Church.


For your progressive Christian calendar – events that will be celebrated in churches around the US and beyond:

February 12, this Sunday:  Evolution Weekend
April 15, Sunday:  Blessing of the Taxes
May 6, Sunday:  Pluralism Sunday – sign up your church to participate, now!


Right after I wrote last week’s “musing” about progressive taxation, President Obama quoted the same passage from Jesus that I cited:


See a recent article by Diana Butler-Bass refuting conservatives’ charge  that a “war” is being waged on religion in America. 


About Jim Burklo

Rev. Jim Burklo is the Associate Dean of Religious Life at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. An ordained United Church of Christ pastor, he is the author of three books in print, OPEN CHRISTIANITY (2000), BIRDLIKE AND BARNLESS (2008), and HITCH-HIKING TO ALASKA: THE WAY OF SOULFUL SERVICE (2013). See more about him at .