Sunday, March 31, 2013

Easter Sunday

"Black Swallowtail"

The caterpillar,
interesting but not exactly lovely,
humped along among the parsley leaves
eating, always eating. Then
one night it was gone and in its place
a small green confinement hung by two silk threads
on a parsley stem. I think it took nothing with it
except faith, and patience. And then one morning
it expressed itself into the most beautiful being.

Mary Oliver

All ready for their chapel entrance Saturday afternoon.

Ta da!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Holy Week-Saturday

"After Her Death"

I am trying to find the lesson
for tomorrow. Matthew something.
Which lectionary? I have not
forgotten the Way, but, a little,
the way to the Way. The trees keep whispering
peace, peace, and the birds
in the shallows are full of the
bodies of small fish and are
content. They open their wings
so easily, and fly. So. It is still

I open the book
which the strange, difficult, beautiful church
has given me. To Matthew. Anywhere.

Mary Oliver

Our Good Friday Peace Pilgrimage here.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Holy Week-Friday

"Broken, Unbroken"

The lonely
stand in the dark corners
of their hearts.

I have seen them
in cities,
and in my own neighborhood,

nor could I touch them
with the magic
that they crave

to be unbroken.
Then, I myself,

said hello to
good fortune.

came along
and lingered
and little by little

became everything
that makes the difference.
Oh, I wish such good luck

to everyone.
How beautiful it is
to be unbroken.

Mary Oliver

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Holy Week-Thursday

"Coming to God: First Days"

Lord, what shall I do that I
can't quiet myself?
Here is the bread, and
here is the cup, and
I can't quiet myself.

To enter the language of transformation!
To learn the importance of stillness with one's hands folded.

When will my eyes of rejoicing turn peaceful?
When will my joyful feet grow still?
When will my heart stop its prancing as over the summer grass?

Lord, I would run for you, loving the miles for your sake.
I would climb the highest tree
to be that much closer.

Lord, I would learn also to kneel down
into the world of the invisible, the inscrutable and the everlasting.
Then I will move no more than the leaves of a tree on a day of no wind,
bathed in light,
like the wanderer who has come home at last
and kneels in peace, done with all unnecessary things;
every motion; even words.

Mary Oliver

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Holy Week--Wednesday

"To Begin with, the Sweet Grass" part 4

Someday I am going to ask my friend Paulus,
the dancer, potter,
to make me a begging bowl
which I believe
my soul needs.

And if I come to you,
to the door of your comfortable house
with unwashed clothes and unclean fingernails,
will you put something into it?

I would like to take this chance.
I would like to give you this chance.

Mary Oliver

One of our sisters just got home after a brief hospital stay. While there she received a basket of flowers from a good friend. The "basket" was really seven spring plants that are now gracing a whole window ledge in our library: two tulip plants, two primrose, one hyacinth, one shamrock and a large bleeding heart plant itself. What a touch of spring it has brought. If you don't have spring outside, I guess this is the next best thing: bring it inside. By the way, has anyone ever seen a real bleeding heart plant as part of an arrangement? Me neither.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Holy Week-Tuesday

"I will try"

I will try.
I will step from the house to see what I see
and hear and I will praise it.
I did not come into this world
to be comforted.
I came, like red bird, to sing.
But I'm not red bird, with his head-mop of flame
and the red triangle of his mouth
full of tongue and whistles,
but a woman whose love has vanished,
who thinks now, too much, of roots
and the dark places
where everything is simply holding on.
But this, too, I believe, is a place
where God is keeping watch
until we rise, and step forth again, and---
but wait. Be still. Listen!
Is it red bird? Or something
inside myself, singing?

Mary Oliver

We're getting there, but some years it's slow going!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Holy Week-Monday

"In the Storm"

Some black ducks
were shrugged up
on the shore.
It was snowing

hard, from the east,
and the sea
was in disorder.
Then some sanderlings,

five inches long
with beaks like wire,
flew in,
snowflakes on their backs,

and settled
in a row
behind the ducks--
whose backs were also

covered with snow--
so close
they were all but touching,
they were all but under

the roof of the duck's tails,
so the wind, pretty much,
blew over them.
They stayed that way, motionless,

for maybe an hour,
then the sanderlings,
each a handful of feathers,
shifted, and were blown away

out over the water
which was still raging.
But, somehow,
they came back

and again the ducks,
like a feathered hedge,
let them
crouch there, and live.

If someone you didn't know
told you this,
as I am telling you this,
would you believe it?

Belief isn't always easy.
But this much I have learned--
if not enough else--
to live with my eyes open.

I know what everyone wants
is a miracle.
This wasn't a miracle.
Unless, of course, kindness--

as now and again
some rare person has suggested--
is a miracle.
As surely it is.

Mary Oliver

From this year's Art Show: our three angel windows.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Holy Week-Sunday

A poem a day for Holy Week:

"The Poet Thinks about the Donkey"

On the outskirts of Jerusalem
the donkey waited.
Not especially brave, or filled with understanding,
he stood and waited.

How horses, turned out into the meadow,
leap with delight!
How doves, released from their cages,
clatter away, splashed with sunlight!

But the donkey, tied to a tree as usual, waited.
Then he let himself be led away.
Then he let the stranger mount.

Never had he seen such crowds!
And I wonder if he at all imagined what was to happen.
Still, he was what he had always been: small, dark, obedient.

I hope, finally, he felt brave.
I hope, finally, he loved the man who rode so lightly upon him,
as he lifted one dusty hoof and stepped, as he had to, forward.

Mary Oliver

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Ta da! March 21-Benedict's feast

Here are two views of the east side of the new room. Can you make out the new valances on the windows? (Click on a photo to enlarge.)

And, here are a couple more of the west side (aka dining room). All ready for St. Benedict's feast dinner today.

And looking through the divider's opening.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Lent--Fifth Week

Our spring snows have continued through the weekend--large flakes, a dusting to an inch on the grass, but clear streets and, when the snow stops, bright sun, but cool temps. The oddities of early spring!

Some nice things to check out on our community site, if you haven't already---including a wonderful feature on our Wellness Program in the newsletter "Engaging Aging," sent to all religious communities in the country, both men and women.

Always amazing how the spring flowers seem to care less whether they get their water from rain or snow!

Be at peace with your own soul
then heaven and earth
will be at peace with you.
Enter eagerly into the treasure-house
that is within you,
you will see the things that are in heaven;
for there is but one single entry
to them both.

The ladder that leads to the Kingdom
is hidden within your soul...
Dive into yourself,
and in your soul you will discover
the stairs by which to ascend.

Saint Isaac of Nineveh

God speaks in many tongues

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Francis arrived with spring snow

Every year when Lent starts we talk about its being a time of quiet and reflection; a time for stepping back from the busyness and "wildness" even of the other times of the year. Continuing right along in that vein, yet again this year, we now have a new Pope and will celebrate his (surprise) election Tuesday of next week, just days before Holy Week and in the midst of the Feasts of Patrick, Joseph and Benedict---which are also celebrated in a not-so-Lenten fashion!

Don't miss our community's website message on the election of our new Pope. And here is a beautiful rendition of the Prayer of St. Francis. It's not the hymn you're used to, but give it a chance. It's very nice.

Back on the daily of the home front: a little chickadee took cover in my bird feeder yesterday, looking out on a large-flake spring snow that was falling. The snow was spring-like but the temperatures sure weren't...brrrr...very cold!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Lent--Fourth Week

We have been (pleasantly) invaded by our second of four groups of collegians who will be spending a service week with us. This group is from the Columbus, Ohio area: Ohio Wesleyan University. I had the extremely pleasant responsibility of showing them our 120 acres, all the way down to the lake. What we could never have predicted was a freaky March day: warm, sunny and 67 degrees....Here are some of our visitors in their t-shirts--minus the jackets they started out with--at Lake Erie alongside the ice dunes that still line the shore. Wild and wonderful!

And, "back at the ranch," we moved back into the east end of the community room for the one week it will take to lay the carpet in the dining room. The end is very, very near.

Please, bless us,
who will gather around You, feeling so safe,
like baby birds that huddle
under the wings of their mother;
wings that feel so incomparably soft
from underneath,
although that mother-bird looks fierce
from the outside;
with sharp beak and watchful eyes,
ready to protect its little ones.

Inspired by 108 names of Nrisimhadeva
Devaki Katja Nagel

God Speaks in Many Tongues

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Animal Planet

We watched a great nature show on Animal Planet this week that took place in the extreme north of Norway, I think. It was all about animals that live in an almost perpetually winter world. A couple days later I was looking through my Mary Oliver books for some Lenten-mode reflections and realized how long it's been since I've shared one here. Then I found this:

"Watching a Documentary about Polar Bears Trying to Survive on the Melting Ice Floes"

That God had a plan, I do not doubt.
But what if His plan was, that we would do better?

Mary Oliver

A large swatch of carpet is down on the far east side of the community-dining area. It doesn't show well here, but it's kind of a grey-green print of thin leaves.
Very attractive.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Lent--Third Week

The Third Sunday of Lent's reading of Moses and the burning bush brought out a wonderfully creative expression of the reading by three of our sisters. Thank you Helen, Rosanne and Pat for your time and efforts. It was made even more special because of the large congregation Sunday. (Note the "burning bush" on the far right!)

A unique ice formation near the shore of Lake Erie, right off one of our piers.