Monday, March 31, 2014

SoS #8

My friend Betty, who has lived in the Denver area for 30+ years, told me that usually their worse snow storms are in October and April. Everything out there is regulated by their position east of the mountains. Well, everything here is determined by Lake Erie and our position on its southern shore. We get weather traveling from the west down from Canada, and sometimes winds and storms all the way up from the Gulf of Mexico, for example.

This brings us to a Denver-like SoS #8 which came upon us overnight March 29-30: a sudden, wet, heavy 24-hour spring snowstorm--just days after our temps were 45-50. This is not a Sign of Spring we're too happy about---but not only does it come quickly, it also goes just as quickly, so we survived the OMG reaction when we awoke Sunday morning to 4-5"...caught by every branch, every bush, every wire, everything. Most of us are long past even the "Isn't that just beautiful" reaction.

Spring (flowers, budding trees, pinks and yellows) where are you?

7:00 a.m. Sunday morning

5:00 p.m. Sunday afternoon

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Birding for Beginners

This week we were treated to a program by Susan Smith, local Audubon member and birder extraordinaire. She came to the Mount and presented "Birding for Beginners," speaking about the spring and summer birds of our area--their habitats, habits, food choices and voices.

Susan is a local birding celebrity of sorts as she is on the bird rescue team often called when there are birds in distress. A couple of years ago three baby owls were found in a city park and she was one of the people who came and transported them to a nearby nature center/bird hospital.

We were among the many areas in the northern part of the US that benefited this winter from the influx of Snowy White Owls from the tundra of the far north. We had many on and around our Presque Isle State Park and other open spaces. Susan shared many Snowy Owl stories as part of her presentation, one of which involved their going to our airport and catching two owls that were frequenting the runways (a common problem with this type of owl). The rescue crew named them Erie and Millcreek.

I hope even more of our sisters will be alert for birds now that they've heard her. We are in a wonderful birding area with nearby woods, Seven-Mile Creek and a location only 4-5 miles from the eastern end of the peninsula.

Click here for an article on our local Snowy Owls.

Last summer's visitor. Photo by Bernadette Sullivan, OSB

Monday, March 24, 2014

SoS #7

Last weekend when we took a walk to the lake we found an ice-covered surface, choppy looking and bumpy. This weekend, here it is all water except close to the shoreline.This surely qualifies the lake's open water as Sign of Spring #7.

Our special Lenten experiences continue as we had our first community gathering Saturday. We are reading Falling Upward and it is full of marvelous material. If you'd like a little taste of it go to this YouTube two-minute video where Richard Rohr talks about the book himself. There's even an hour+ video of a full presentation he gave on Youtube, also.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

SoS #6

Signs of spring #6. When the thermometer in your car doesn't register a temperature that starts with a 1 or a 2---and in this case not even a 3 or a 4.  Alleluia!

Lots of my friends send around funny things that are on the internet. I always take a look but only occasionally send them on. This one sent me into gales of of my favorite things: humor from words. Hope you like it, too. It's Bill Cosby at his best.

Monday, March 17, 2014

SoS #5

A wild week is poised for the coming days. Not only do we have three major celebratory feasts, but seven Canisius girls are here for the week. It's wonderful to have them, but the energy level is raised considerably when they are among us. All good, but what a week to have it--Patrick, Joseph and Benedict.

Today's early Sign of Spring is an odd one, but true: our inside plants are beginning to bloom after quite a few weeks, even months, of dormancy. Here's my first African Violet, showing the way for the other nine in my office. And, a number of our peace lilies are giving us new white flowers, which never cease looking miraculous!

P.S. Outside we saw some daffodils popping up about 2" I'd say.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

SoS #4 and Vulcan

One of our sisters must have had a moment where she thought, enough is enough, and knowing where a forsythia bush was she cut a dozen or so branches off and here they are....a week in water, indoors and they're beginning to show us what is (hopefully) in store for us in a few weeks....many thanks to her for Signs of Spring #4.

Winter storm Vulcan.
Most of our windows have screens. By noon we had beautiful ice patterns on them and the windows, by 2:00 pm we could only see outdoors partially and by 4:00 pm we couldn't see anything outdoors at all!

"Live long and prosper."

Monday, March 10, 2014

Lent begins and SoS #3

Lent began this weekend, of course, and ours started very well with a Vigil Saturday night highlighted by a fine reflection by one of our sisters with a good-sized crowd on hand. Sunday morning's liturgy was quite good, too. Its highlight was the inaugural singing of two new hymns and a new Mass. All went very well and we look forward to them throughout the Lenten season.

Last Tuesday the talk of the place was the herd of 11 deer that put on a show in the backyard during the lunch hour. Our deer, in groups, have been making regular appearances over the last two-three weeks and yesterday I had a group of 8 right outside my window. They were grazing on the newly exposed grass. We are continually amazed that they survive our brutal winters: both cold and snow, but here they are again--early Signs of Spring #3.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

New visuals and SoS #2

If you came to LTSGW directly today you really ought to go to our community site, too. There are some great new visuals with stories from the past week. One of them features the welcoming of a new participant in our Benedicta Riepp program that allows women to live with us for a period of time, sharing our prayer, ministry and community life.

This gal is our 5th "Susan" and I, myself, am well aware that my "Susan" status is falling with all these same-named gals. You see Susan #1 is our food service director! When someone says, "I have to talk to Susan" they usually mean about a menu. Why not--our food is terrific, just watch our guests' eyes pop as they see our salad bar for the first time; Susan #2 is the sister who coordinates our insurance and medical office. Anyone who can navigate that world is a genius and a godsend indeed. Third on the list if you hear the name "Susan" is probably our newest one mentioned above--just because she's new and we're all watching out for her; that leaves two of us---and without a doubt Susan #4 is a sister who is a large part of the responsibility for our marvelous Lenten prayer, liturgies and environment! see how I end up 5th?!? I say, no more Susans--employees or sisters. If this keeps up we may soon surpass the Anne's!

Here's a nice display that our librarians put out for the new liturgical season. Our community book for Lent is Richard Rohr's Falling Upward that we began in Advent, but there are many more available and the sisters are faithful readers.

And, finally, continuing my new series--here's Signs of Spring #2: look what emerged when the winter sun melted ½ our snow the last couple of days....I believe these are the beginning of a plot of irises. "Hope springs eternal." (Alexander Pope)

Monday, March 3, 2014

Retreat weekend and SoS #1

A Seasons of the Spirit retreat was held this weekend as 25-30 very happy retreatants spent the weekend with us. One of the major reasons for their smiles was the return of their "leader" Sister Carolyn GK, who was back full force after nearly a year getting through serious pancreatitis. But, she's back and it was wonderful to see her with her retreat troupe again.

The Erie Zoo re-opened for the season Saturday, which is always a sure sign of spring. Here's my own #1 Sign of Spring: Solar Dancing Flower! This little plastic flower was placed on a window ledge in our north assembly room about a month ago by a very optimistic sister. Every day I'd go by it and nary a move or, at best, a slow, slow oscillation. One day when it was standing stark still I thought to myself, "Oh, I bet the battery is dead" before I realized sadly, that it's solar, and there just wasn't any sunlight to move it.

But this past week a corner has been turned, our little Solar Dancing Flower has been "dancing" back and forth every day and, some days, actually wildly! We've had so much sun (even amidst the cold temps). It is certainly worthy to be our first Sign of Spring. (Watch for more throughout March).