Reflections

Category: Nature

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Rule of Life at the Abbey

I have been reading a wonderful article from The Way journal by Andrew Linzey who is a theologian and writer on animal theology.  I was delighted to discover that he has in fact published several books on the subject.  Linzey writes: “People who keep animals have often made  an elementary but profound discovery: animals are not machines or commodities, but beings with their own God-given lives, individuality, and personality.  At their best, relationships with companion animals can help us to grow in mutuality, self-giving, and trust.”  (emphasis mine)  He goes on to quote theologian Stephen Webb who sees in these relationships

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Bare Branches

Top two photos taken at Greenlake in Seattle, bottom four on Granville Island in Vancouver I find winter trees achingly beautiful, even more so this winter than any previous one I can remember. I see the black branches spread across the darkening sky and my heart swells with longing, as though there is something in the meeting of essence and horizon that speaks to a part of me that has gone unnamed thus far. Only questions rise up asking me to live into them: What is my essence? When everything is stripped away, who am I beneath all the roles

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The Fire of Endings

  We had a lot of rain while up in Canada, but one evening was particularly beautiful and the world was on fire for a brief window of time.  We often think of endings as only sad, but I find there is a beauty to them as well.  Against the fierce edges of life, things around us suddenly become more vivid.  Endings can bring us gifts of awareness we did not have before.  I am thinking about limits and endings a lot these days.  My father-in-law was just diagnosed with Parkinson’s and has heart disease, my mother-in-law was diagnosed with

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Revealing the Bones

As I walked this morning, I became aware of the bareness of winter branches and the beauty of naked tree limbs dark against the sky.  The questions of winter stirred in me.  This year a new one is emerging:  When I let go of all the embellishments of my life, what is the core that remains?  What constitutes the bare bones of my life?  I am reflecting on this question in a number of ways.  Part of it is the literal level of the question.  I have felt the impulse to make space lately in my home for something new that is emerging

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Signs of Winter

I went on a lovely walk this morning, my usual 45-minute walk from my house, up and around Volunteer Park, and then back home.  It was a crisp and clear morning, another short break from the heavy rains we have been getting.  The leaves have largely made their floating pilgrimage to the ground.  They now wait for decay to release them into fertile compost for the new growth of spring still hidden deep in the soil.  Most of the branches are bare now, like dark skeletons in ecstatic prayers of adoration to holy sky.  Some of the willow trees still cling to their leaves, while other trees are

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The Slender Thread

I am heading off for a few days of retreat this week.  The idea began with an art class I wanted to take down in Portland over the weekend, knowing it meant I could also have a chance to see an old and dear friend from my doctoral program who teaches down there now.  Then I realized after teaching my class Tuesday morning, there were only a couple of appointments I was able to reschedule to give myself a little window of retreat mid-quarter.  I am longing to be out in the autumn splendor and have never been to the Columbia River

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Unfolding, Bridges, and Openings

I want to live life surprised by the ways my life continues to unfold.  I want to delight in the simple offerings of each day.  I want to live in awe of the beauty of the world. I have been having lots of dreams lately.  One is of a bridge crossing where the road ahead loops upside down like a roller coaster, so you have to drive fast enough and hold on to get across.  I’ve had two others where I am living in a house that is right at the edge of the ocean line, the waves crashing onto

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