Sunday, March 25, 2018

Lenten Monday meditation #6

"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,
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
We, too, felt brave!

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Window dressing

A shout out to our JC Penney rep. who was here today for the grande finale--the arrival of our new draperies for our guest rooms. Courtesy of a generous donor, we were able to recycle our 30+ year old "tired" draperies to the needy (along with accompanying hardware) and spruce up our guest hall with new ones. Our rep. Linda was terrific--I never knew there was so much to know about windows and window coverings! Step 2 will be looking into carpet--again for floors that have had 1,000s of visitors over the decades.

Hospitality is a growing ministry for us. Between the guest rooms in the monastery and the three hermitages in our woods, we welcome hundreds of visitors a year. They are "easy" to have as guests as they fit right into our schedule and lifestyle fairly well, but the sheer volume takes its toll. In more recent years we replaced old tubs in the adjoining bathrooms with walk-in showers, gave every room an overhead fan for those August dog days and updated bathroom fixtures, bedspreads, etc. Welcome guests!

Old ones are gone.

New ones have sharp pleats and even edges all around.

Yes, they are neutral beige/tan, better to blend with color we can add for bedspreads, et al.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Lenten Monday meditation #5

"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

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

The angle of the setting sun

At this time of year the setting sun is at just the right angle to be shining through our west facing stained glass windows during Evening Prayer. On days when the sun is bright (no snide remarks, here...things really are getting better and brighter!) our prayer is overseen by seven beautiful jewel-like windows and their exact reflections on the ceramic tiles. The windows are set in quite a bit, much like shadow boxes, so the reflective area is quite large.

I'm trying to capture the beauty of the windows and their reflections. I don't have it right yet, but you can get the idea here. Stay tuned as I work on my camera setting to try and show them to you in their full glory.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Lenten Monday meditation #4

"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

My friend, Judy, from whom I learned everything I know about photography, tells me I'm not helping the coming of spring process by continuing to post winter pictures (beautiful though they may be)! So this one's for you, Judy---as we live in hope.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Schizophrenia sets in

I'm caught in a vortex of winter schizophrenia. Half of me is still mesmerized by the beauty that is in late winter snowstorms such as we experienced one day this weekend. (12" of a heavy, wet beautiful whitewashing-type storm...the world went totally white). Absolutely beautiful. Two or three of us went rushing outside with cameras as soon as morning prayer was over, to catch the scenes. Here's one from the east end of the library courtyard.

And yet, I am longing (and I'm not the only one!) for spring: daffodils, blossoming trees, new grass, warm breezes, robins and everything that says s-p-r-i-n-g, new life is here again. My friend Audrey, who has three wood pieces in our annual art show that opens Sunday, gave me this blue bird house that she fashioned in her wood shop. We have one already, store-bought, and the blue birds have stayed all winter. Is that normal? Hopefully this one will bring a new family of these Pepsi-blue birds to our backyard. I love how natural and unfinished it is.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Lenten Monday meditation #3

"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

Friday, March 2, 2018

Extra-just for you who have snowless winters!


The adventure known as "Winter 2017-18" continues!
Friday morning, March 2, 2018, Erie, PA