Sunday, November 21, 2021

End of a year

 This weekend, the last of the 2020-2021 Christian liturgical year, the Feast of Christ the King, we included a lovely poem by Mary Oliver along with the scripture readings. As in former times of thinking of Christ as the "king" of the world, we now, with knowledge of modern cosmology, can see the Christ as the Cosmic Christ--in a world, a universe much larger than it was once known.

Song of the Builders

On a summer morning
I sat down
on a hillside
to think about God--

a worthy pastime.
Near me, I saw
a single cricket;
it was moving the grains of the hillside

this way and that way.
How great was its energy,
how humble its effort.
Let us hope

it will always be like this,
each of us going on
in our inexplicable ways
building the universe.

Sunday, November 14, 2021

Weekend welcome

It was a very happy day this Saturday, as we welcomed our three novices into a new stage of their religious life, First Monastic Profession. They pronounced their monastic vows for three years as well as will take up full time ministry again, now that their novitiate year is over.

See this article on our community website, along with a photo. Sister Colleen is the one of the far right, Jaqueline two down from her and Jennifer two down from her! It was very nice to have Jen's siblings and niece and nephew here from New England, and Jacqueline's mother and step-father from New Jersey. But to be able to livestream the ceremony to New Zealand and Australia for Colleen's family and friends, was extra special, albeit at 6:00 pm Saturday for us, it was around noon on Sunday for them!

Our larch is into its normal late, late fall look.

I came upon these right outside in a little area surrounded by pine trees 

and a bit protected and hidden. Guess all the moisture we've had lately

got them going!

Sunday, November 7, 2021

Fun in the backyard.

The first frost is past so I guess that makes our high 50s and predicted low 60s temps officially Indian summer now. Getting outside as much as possible this weekend, I took a little trek "around our backyard" and here is what I found: a red border under the west wall of the chapel; beautiful tall grasses in the library courtyard, one red tree in the yard on the way to the hermitage trail and the black eyes on tall stems from this year's Black Eyed Susans. Blessings of autumn and its boundless harvest of nature, to you and yours. 

P.S. Two weekends ago, see October 24 blog entry, I wrote about The Power of 3 male voices at our prayer. Since blogs like mine are automatically transferred to our community Facebook page, it was posted there also. There readers can leave comments and, much to my delight and surprise, a couple days later doesn't this comment appear under the October 24 story:

"I was one of those ‘three’. Two of us are Evangelical Covenant and the third Presbyterian; all pastors. We thoroughly enjoyed our time at the monastery. Thanks for the wonderful hospitality!"

Sunday, October 31, 2021

This is why.

One day when I was in my mid-30s we received a call that announced that my sister had developed stage 4 breast cancer. Within a couple weeks my Mom and I flew to Florida to be with her and to get a firsthand view of what was going on. At that time I was into about 15 years of teaching and one of the ongoing "conversations" among the staff was the reality of the number of our students who went with their families on a 10-day or 2 week winter vacation to Florida each year. What to hold them responsible for? Should they have to make up tests? Would the absences effect their grades? On and on.

I remember that when we got off the plane in Jacksonville that February, one of my very first thoughts was, "This is why they come each year. It's heaven here!" Coming from the "winteriest month" of the winter months, February, into bright sun, warm breezes and happy, laughing people in shorts and t-shirts, was shocking, to state the obvious. But I did finally understand and never forgot it.

I had a similar, albeit shorter and not as intense a shock, this weekend as I had the opportunity to fly to Florida for a family wedding and, in the process, to experience a very similar feeling when I debarked from the plane. It's not snowy here yet, and certainly not even near freezing, let alone below it, but it's cold enough, and rainy and beginning that lake effect darkness that we have in winter. The difference was still there--still rather surprising, if not shocking.  My conclusion: if you live north of the Mason-Dixon line and you get an invitation to travel south of it during the winter months: GO! Enjoy and come home and share pictures and stories. Let your friends experience it virtually, at least. It's very, very nice. May you have the experience soon.

 Some of the southern scenes!

Sunday, October 24, 2021

The Power of 3

 Our guest list is appearing more and more like its old self every week. The weekends bring the most guests, of course, but there are always day-trippers and weeklong visitors. This week we had four women who were all related to one of our sisters or are close friends. It was a kind of family reunion. They were delightful and fully entered into the daily life here, even participating in the cut-throat card games most nights (just kidding!)

But one evening praise took the cake for the week. Coming into chapel for Evening Prayer I noticed three guys sitting together in a back row. They looked like they could be Methodist ministers (we've had them many times) or something akin to that. Sure enough when the opening hymn began it was one they obviously knew well and they entered into the singing in full voice. That's when I was reminded of the power of just a few men who are good singers, as you often see in choirs. There were over 40 of us and only 3 of them, but they balanced us just fine!

When it came to the chant tones and the Magnificate we didn't hear them at an equal volume, but I'm guessing that if they are here two or three days, they'll catch on pretty quickly to the melodies and we'll have that mixed choir experience again. It was really great. 

Sunday, October 17, 2021

Fall Weekend


Saturday: after a big, bad rainstorm.

Our usually placid lake looked like an ocean!

Saturday night: I'm only about 50 pages into
this "thriller" but so far it's pretty good.
Lots of Washington, DC scenarios, but
I heard that Armand Gamache makes
an appearance later on!

Sunday night: Coming home at about 7:30 p.m.
Gorgeous post-sunset sky. 

Sunday, October 10, 2021

New paths

On the drive home this week we experienced a late afternoon soft, summer shower. The time of the shower, 4:00 pm, combined with a bright sun that wasn't affected by the rain, produced this gorgeous sight in the eastern sky. Very large and very bright. 

I pulled over immediately, grabbed my phone and did the best I could. 


Meanwhile, on the home front, we were greeted this week with the final steps of the new paved path  in the inner courtyard. Go to the August 1st blog entry to see photos of the beginning of this endeavor. By next spring, when the new grass comes up, as well as the new plants and flowers, it will be its familiar lovely self again!