Here and There

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Wrapping up April, Welcoming May

The children shout "Geronimo Willems" for some reason when they jump.  A play on Mo Willems, I have no idea why.
 Today, I mark the last Sunday of April with some reflections on my sabbatical and imaginings and hopes for my last month off.  A month of Sundays indeed passes quickly and I can count on one hand the Sundays between me and my return.  My refraining prayer to God has been:  "How do you want to be with me today?"  And I ask that today imagining the next few weeks...
Rosé under the roses

I've been walking at least once a week alone at Cesar Chavez.  Sometimes the sky is so low and gray, or my feet are cold and it feels chore-like.  Until I see and hear what is there.  Then I am once again marveling at all that there is to notice.  All that goes on despite worry, fear or bad news.  The redwing blackbirds, so shrill.  The swallows seeming to skate on the path ahead of me, darting up and to the side as I overtake their gentle, loping flight.  The rabbits bounding away.  The weeds.  The flowers.  It's not even the view, it's the small bits of nature happening and Wendell Berry's words echo:  "Though I am heavy, there is flight around me."

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Another Sabbatical Poem

Night in the Garden
Out in the country, the night smells like someone just mowed the lawn,
but no one has. 
Out in the tangle of tree and meadow,
deep in that darkness of untended nature-- a presence is there.
God is walking in his garden.
He’s running his God hand over the field,
releasing the scent of the grass, the plants growing, the dirt.
He’s rubbing the oak leaves between his fingers the way we do with the dried herbs over the sauce.  Such pleasure in this place.
Lift your face to the night.
Know your scent is wafting through the garden too and be unashamed.
Let the smell of the soothed earth soothe you; let him find you. 
Let him run his hands over your dry and crackly soul and release the scent of water and growth.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Sabbatical Poems

Here is little short one:

Gray Whale

Look for the exhalation they say.  That’s how you spot a large animal in the water.
I see it, we all see it. 
Then a curve of gray rises, mottled with white. 
It looks like seeing the moon up close.

Monday, April 06, 2015

Lummi Island

This post is kind of in reverse order since the photos just loaded that way.  We went to Lummi Island in Washington for a week at Spring Break.  Our desire was to rest in nature, be creative, enjoy time together as a family.  It was a perfect place for all those things.  

I took the girls to the little church on the island for Palm Sunday.  It was my first time worshiping in community since starting my sabbatical and I sat there kind of in a surreality and enjoyed the singing and the scripture and the glimpse into their community life.  One highlight was that the scripture readings were a series of passages that went through the whole passion and the first reading was "The Extravagant Gift".  An elderly woman read the scripture Matthew 26:6-13 and when she reached the part "Truly I tell you, wherever the good news is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in remembrance of her," she was overcome with emotion and her eyes were full of tears and her voice broke.  I couldn't help the tears that sprang up instantly along with her.  I had prepared the story about this woman as the last story I shared with the children at Church Without Walls.  I was full of sadness and frustration as I read all the texts that in the writing down of it all, Jesus' words were not revered...that the woman is unnamed, the accounts aren't easy to reconcile (feet?  head?  what?) and the unnamed woman who did such a beautiful thing is not remembered as Jesus seemed to think she should be.  As we remember her as unnamed, or as Mary, or however we are able with the information we have, I cling to this story as Jesus speaking through time and space and history for women.  I was so sad about it as I prepared and was so glad that I was able to share all the information I could with the children and wonder with them about this woman, "remembering" her as well as I could.  I entered into my sabbatical with that story kind of hovering and my own personal wonderings and journey leading me under that hovering story into another place, it was remarkable to re-enter that story so tenderly at that moment.  Anyhow, it was a good trip, I was inspired and I wrote some poems, hiked, learned, saw, rested.  Here are some pictures.

 At Pine State Biscuits in Portland on the way home.  These girls were such good travelers.  They were up for anything most of the time.
 Lily dragged this seaweed along the beach.

 This day at the beach behind the church the water was very rough and the sky changed quickly and it hailed on us.  We all climbed in the driftwood fort to take cover!
 This was the beach by the hotel.  Interestingly, there were only 2 beaches on the island that were "open to the public".  The church had a stretch of beach that they welcomed anyone to use...a good sign of spiritual health, yes? And the fancy hotel had a stretch of beach across from them that was "public" too. 
 So much driftwood on the island.
 Sea glass and sky and Mags.
 There was a labyrinth behind the church on the way down to the beach.  In the middle was a stump with lots of remembrances placed there, stones, moss, sea glass, bits of wood and this carving.  I walked the labyrinth a couple times and was very moved by doing so.  I left a bit of pine and a bit of moss for my part.
The view of the Rosario Strait from the house.  The view was stunning and the light, sky and sea were constantly changing.  Inspiring.