Reflections

Category: Nature

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I live my life in widening circles. . .

I live my life in widening circles that reach out across the world. I may not complete this last one but I give myself to it. I circle around God, around the primordial tower. I’ve been circling for thousands of years and I still don’t know: am I a falcon, a storm, or a great song? -Ranier Maria Rilke Round and Round the earth is turning Turning always round to morning And from morning round to night. -Song Lyrics (source unknown) The rain I am in is not like the rain of the cities. It fills the woods with an

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Celebrating the Feast of Saint Francis

    I went looking for images of Saint Francis in honor of his feast day tomorrow (October 4th) and found some lovely ones above (see below for the links to the artists).  Francis is known for many things, his life of poverty, his commitment to peace, and especially his great love of animals and all creation. He is often depicted with creatures at his side and this feast day is celebrated with a “Blessing of the Animals.”  I remember attending such a service when we lived in Berkeley with Duke.  There in the pews were cats and dogs, rabbits and birds, pot-bellied pigs and guinea

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Life Illuminated

I had another wonderful pilgrimage into the forest yesterday.  The sunlight was radiant, the trees luminous. A pilgrimage is a journey of discovery initiated by a sacred impulse, the deep longing we each carry to see holiness more clearly. It is both an inward and outward journey where I open my  heart, face the unknown, and hope for transformation.  I am transformed in the process and doing of it. In the act of walking and praying, I am knit together, body and soul, into a wholeness. Thomas Merton said that there is in all things “a hidden wholeness.” The wholeness in me

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Autumnal Equinox

God’s World  O World, I cannot hold thee close enough! Thy winds, thy wide grey skies! Thy mists, that roll and rise! Thy woods, this autumn day, that ache and sag And all but cry with colour!  That gaunt crag To crush!  To lift the lean of that black bluff! World, World, I cannot get thee close enough! Long have I known a glory in it all, But never knew I this; Here such a passion is As stretcheth me apart,—Lord, I do fear Thou’st made the world too beautiful this year; My soul is all but out of me,—let fall No

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Dwelling in Border Spaces

When despair for the world grows in me and I wake in the night at the least sound in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be, I go and lie down where the wood drake rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds. I come into the peace of wild things who do not tax their lives with forethought of grief. I come into the presence of still water. And I feel above me the day-blind stars waiting with their light. For a time I rest in the grace of the world,

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Into the Forest

        Lost Stand still. The trees ahead and bushes beside you Are not lost. Wherever you are is called Here, And you must treat it as a powerful stranger, Must ask permission to know it and be known. The forest breathes. Listen. It answers, I have made this place around you. If you leave it, you may come back again, saying Here. No two trees are the same to Raven. No two branches are the same to Wren. If what a tree or a bush does is lost on you, You are surely lost. Stand still. The

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Nature as Icon Space

Sunrise over Georgia Strait, Sunshine Coast, BC I am up in British Columbia for a couple of days on the Sunshine Coast with a dear friend of mine. As I sit on the deck looking out over Georgia Strait to evergreen covered islands I am aware that nature is a holy text for me, an icon, a window to the divine presence at work in the world. Much as we might spend time gazing upon an icon or our beloved, so too is my gaze drawn to this most holy and splendid of sights. I can spend hours meditating with ocean

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