Along the trail towards the Upper Falls at Tahquamenon Falls State Park is the above sign, the “Prayer Of The Woods.” The prayer has been used in Portuguese forest reservations for more than 1,000 years and can be found at state parks, national forests, and national parks across Michigan, the United States, and the world. Another sign when you enter the park reads, “Take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints.” It’s something valuable to remember the next time you find yourself sauntering through the woods.
I am the heat of your hearth on the cold winter nights, the friendly shade screening you from the summer sun, and my fruits are refreshing draughts quenching your thirst as you journey on.
I am the beam that holds your house, the board of your table, the bed on which you lie, and the timber that builds your boat.
I am the handle of your hoe, the door of your homestead, the wood of your cradle, and the shell of your coffin.
I am the bread of your kindness and the flower of your beauty.
Ye who pass by, listen to my prayer: “Harm me not.”
Photo by Randy Williams