“You Have My Full Attention” 4×4, oil on canvas

“I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.

I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down

into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,

how to be idle and blessed”

– Mary Oliver


A while back, before it finally and suddenly turned winter(ish) cold, I was leaving my house to go for a walk and stopped a few yards from my driveway to watch a very large bee who was going about her business in the weed-flowers that had grown thick, tall and lush in the ditch where we often lose soccer balls that have to be oh so carefully retrieved without falling in. 

Ever since I started reading Mary Oliver, I see things like bees as a call to prayer and prayer as the art of paying deep and loving attention.

So I did what I knew she would have me do, and I lingered and watched with my full attention. The bee, so often mischaracterized as “busy,” was diving its entire body into the heart of a bloom. There was no hesitation, no embarrassment, just a full-bodied response to its purpose, and, perhaps, its delight. 

I don’t make New Year’s resolutions anymore, but I did think of a word I want to guide me in 2024. 


The opposite of hustle and hurry. A deep and long and attention-filled breath. And while the bee may have long been a mascot for hurry, what I saw in the weeds was something different– an ease and whole-heartedness I’m using as my New Year’s aspiration. 

What word speaks to you this new year? 

** I’m doing something a little different this year. I’ll post each painting at (or close to) 10 am each day this month and they will be available for purchase on my site. However, the pieces will not be shipped out or available for pick up until February 26, after the run of the gallery show. 



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Written by Denise Hopkins

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