Monday, May 28, 2012

Red bird in green world

This morning the sun through tree leaves painted black and white, moving artscapes on my white walls. Later, as I walked out in the world, I noticed every color of the rainbow. Even a little stem of newly dying leaves looked so bright in the sun I wondered briefly why BGE had orange-sprayed that spot by my lane. The flowers, the still-new-growing leaf stems, and the dying ones, the variety of grass and tree leaves, together showing all hues. No wonder red bird blends into the landscape.

Saturday, May 26, 2012


Another son married in the eyes of the state; a celebration with friends and family; joy and sorrow so obviously mixed. "All shall be well, and all shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well." Did they become an official couple in the reality of All That Is when they privately promised themselves to each other, or on the day they publicly stood before many humanly-embodied witnesses to do so?

Saturday, May 19, 2012

I am a pray-er. Does that also mean I am a prayer? In this lovely day, a part of all there is.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Best

Air in the low 70s, humidity low, sun in the blue sky, and green, green, green. The trees and lawn and meadows are every tint and shade of green under the sun. A day doesn't get any better than this.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Praise for Creation

Creation is too grand, too glorious, too complex, and too mysterious to be captured in any single human expression. All the world's great religious traditions, the disciplines of mysticism, the sciences, and the secular arts all address, each in their way, this bedrock affirmation of a majestic Creation. We humans are not the masters, but one more expression of Creation's jubilation. Surely this is the season to experience Creation's jubilation. (Paraphrased from the writings of the Rev. Dr. William F. Schultz.)

Monday, May 14, 2012


This world is rational and also not-rational. I need emotional and spiritual tools as well as my rational mind. One of those tools rests in the ability, the willingness, to recognize moments of grace: the free, undeserved gift that is mine (or yours) for the seeing, the reaching and receiving.

Grace finds me, not vice versa. It's only up to me to recognize it. It comes when I notice some not-yet-tried thing, some potential, possibility. Grace arrives in my life-challenges and comes with transformative power. Let me simply notice that, amid all the burdens, there are also all the blessings, all the beautiful things

Let me make, each day, my list of at least five beautiful things.
The memory of sunlight on the meadow; sunlight sometimes seen filtering in bright, moist shafts through trees; sunlight today from behind cloud cover in a shadowless, drizzly morning. "The earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof." I am held by breath and pulse, part of the Earth that is the Lord's, part of the fulness thereof. Here, too, I find grace.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day!

Every person reading this has or had a mother. Also, every one of us may rightfully call Earth our Mother. Notice with your five senses (sound, sight, scent, taste, touch) how each Mother lives in you. Grass wind, pine wind, wind over water. Meadow light, wooded light, light by the shore. Scent and taste of places, the air, the sweet base of the grass, the tang of dandelion. The tactile sensations of bark, rock, flesh. Love your Mother! Happy Mother's Day.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Be awake, aware, and even glad

In her book Wild Comfort: The Solace of Nature, Kathleen Dean Moore writes of a time when a friend questioned her, "What will Earth lose, when it loses human beings?" After consideration, she realized that humans have a level of awareness that other animals don't have. She realized many animals display evidence of joy and playfulness, and the earth is full of music, the vibrations going out forever. 

She writes that she realized that without humans, Earth loses, "Not just joy, but the awareness of joy. Not just music, but that swelling response to music, the way it opens the heart. Humans are Earth's way of knowing itself. With the tongue of a human being, Earth tastes itself. In a human's search for meaning, it comes to know its own mysteries. In a human's loving attention, Earth rejoices in its own beauty. It's one thing to be. It's quite another to know that and to pronounce it good. This is what a human brings to the world-- the ability to take notice, to be grateful and glad, glad for the river swinging by, for the sun warming my shoulders, for the breeze lifting the hairs on a butterfly's back."

(Kathleen Dean Moore. Wild Comfort: The Solace of Nature. Trumpeter Books, Boston, MA. 2010. 159.)

Friday, May 11, 2012

Shadows and Light

Wendell Berry's poem "Thrush Song, Stream Song, Holy Love" begins with speaking images of how these three songs of the title flow to us from the natural world as living grace. And it ends with these lines:

Be still. A man who seems to be
A gardener rises out of the ground,
Stands like a tree, shakes of the dark,
The bluebells opening at his feet,
The light one figured cloth of song.

This is just such a sunny, windy day. The trees seem to stand each as an humble image of God. The dappled, shifting light here in the woods, so busy with leaf and bird, covers me over completely as "one figured cloth of song."

("Thrush Song, Stream Song, Holy Love" by Wendell Berry is published in the book Traveling At Home, Counter Point Press, Berkeley, 1988.)

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Late Spring

The trees have grown their veil of green again between me and the farm meadows. We are enveloped in mystery. The tulip poplar blossoms are full and beginning to drop. How amazing to find these huge, orange-yellow  tree-tulip-flowers on the ground.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

How beautiful on the mountains

How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings... Isaiah 52:7

Who among us humans does not revive upon receiving good news? And how do we determine what is good news? Four quotes from Julian of Norwich:

Let nothing disturb you. Let nothing frighten you. Everything passes away except God. 
The greatest honor we can give Almighty God is to live gladly because of the knowledge of his love.
He said not 'Thou shalt not be tempested, thou shalt not be travailed, thou shalt not be dis-eased'; but he said, 'Thou shalt not be overcome.
All shall be well, and all shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well

Fr. Richard Rohr writes that today is the Feast of Lady Julian of Norwich. He writes, On the night of May 8, 1373, God "showed himself" to her and it took her more than twenty years to unpackage the experience.

And what she seems to know, at the end, is that all news of God (and God is also All There Is) is good news. Let me embody this knowing, that all that comes is good news for me, for I am too limited to discern otherwise. And let me share in the proclamation.

Yesterday in Bethesda I saw spirea in bloom. Mama had a spirea bush near the house. The flower clusters are so creamy white, fresh looking, surrounded by young but sturdy greenery,  all part of this beautiful world. And so is the roadside litter. How do I embrace this All There Is?

Sunday, May 6, 2012


Life manifests in all sorts of world forms. Four crows perch nearby, three in one dogwood, one in another. The dogwood bloom is done, the trees moving to the next stage of growing. Always, always we let go of one stage to move to the next. All the small endings that lead to new beginnings.

"The body will be faithful to living for as long as it can," says yoga teacher Matthew Sanford. He was injured in an auto accident at age thirteen, and cannot walk. He speaks of healing, changing, death of one thing to make way for the growth of another thing. He speaks of the human body, but the analogy extends seamlessly to all the living Earth.

Compassion for the aging individual body that does not heal like it once did can grow understanding and compassion for all the wounds and struggles in the world. Compassion for world-embodied life, not just human-embodied life. What an opportunity for growth comes to us through death.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Wildflowers and Lilies of the Valley

In the years when I was physically unable to push the mower, the lawn went uncut until the first growth reached thigh high. Then I first saw the lawn break open in wildflowers: fleabane, tall and delicate; some spiky, purple-blossomed, probably invasive plant with dark purple-green leaves; a bitter kind of vigorous, wild strawberry with heart leaves and a tiny yellow flower. The plant that bears the berries that I like to eat has white flowers, open and generous. But here are these, too, the tiny yellow ones that later will bear a hard, bitter fruit. This morning I sat in my chair reading. Pausing to consider, I looked out on the wildflowers, the arrangement of them by no human hand. Now I, too, delay the first mowing until after the first full bloom.

Jack-in-the-Pulpit stands high near the fern beds east of the house. Some authorities recognize one species of Jack, others three. I only know some are short with thin stems, and others grow tall and have stems as thick as my largest, most arthritic finger. So pale white green, and supple, they are much more lovely than that.

Lily of the Valley grow around several trees, leaping out as if they, too, are wildflowers, and perhaps they are in this particular environment. I read on Wikipedia that lily-of-the-valley is used as a food plant by the larvae of some moth and butterfly species. They spread and grow out from one rhizome. I primarily know them from my direct experience with them. In this season they scent all the air with such a sweet, fresh smell. 

Friday, May 4, 2012

Simply Noticed

My brother Carl went to the hospital on the morning of the last day of his life. My sister who was with him says he made jokes and laughed with doctors, nurses and others who were attending him. I remembered that this morning, and suddenly inside myself I heard his laugh again, and saw again how he always ran his fingers through his hair when he was kidding around. The love remains.

The gold finch have traded their winter drab for bright, flashy, yellow feathers. How do such colors blend into the landscape?  How very limited are my human skills to take notice of all there is.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Natural Law

There appears to be a law that when creatures have reached the level of consciousness, as men have, they must become conscious of the creation; they must learn how they fit into it and what its needs are and what it requires of them, or else pay a terrible penalty: the spirit of the creation will go out of them, and they will become destructive; the very earth will depart from them and go where they cannot follow.  (Wendell Berry, Traveling At Home, Counterpoint, Berkeley, California, 1988. 17.)

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

In the night watches

I will lift up my eyes to the hills-- Psalm 121

When I wake, weeping, in the night, and also in the day when joy fills me, rising like the bubbles in a soda, still I return to the everlasting hills and the help and lessons offered there.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

A baby in the neighborhood

The love we give away cannot be taken away. Forrest Church

No matter where we travel in the course of our lives-- in the mainstream, buffeted and pushed into the slow flow, or washed up on a sandbar-- we journey together. Never imagine you are exclusive in any thing. There is nothing new under the sun, says the prophet. There is only the new thing to your experience. So shall we seek to find ways to give away all the love we can imagine into existence?

Today I got to visit the newest family member on our country block. Her mama-the-mare guarded her carefully while she slept, and when she got up to nurse, standing on her long, spindly, still faintly wobbly legs, her mama was very patient. Miss Filly doesn't really have a name yet. Little rib cage, every bone apparent, skin still thin, mane baby-short and scraggly, and the most beautiful white forehead diamond on an otherwise brown body, she's just a treat. Fresh, alive, a miracle.