Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Walling In or Walling Out

I read a line in an article last week that referenced Robert Frost's poem, "Mending Wall." I had little or no interest in classic literature in tenth grade but I looked it up now and sure enough, a totally different experience. Imagine, a poem written 105 years ago and yet as relevant today--human nature doesn't change all that much--and also in ways Frost may not have even imagined. I hope you like it, too.

Mending Wall by Robert Frost

Something there is that doesn't love a wall,
That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it,
And spills the upper boulders in the sun;
And makes gaps even two can pass abreast.

The work of hunters is another thing:
I have come after them and made repair
Where they have left not one stone on a stone,
But they would have the rabbit out of hiding,
To please the yelping dogs.

The gaps I mean, no one has seen
them made or heard them made,
But at spring mending-time we find them there.

I let my neighbor know beyond the hill;
And on a day we meet to walk the line
And set the wall between us once again.
We keep the wall between us as we go.

To each the boulders that have fallen to each.
And some are loaves and some so nearly balls
We have to use a spell to make them balance:
"Stay where you are until our backs are turned!"

We wear our fingers rough with handling them.
Oh, just another kind of out-door game,
One on a side. It comes to little more:

There where it is we do not need the wall:
He is all pine and I am apple orchard.
My apple trees will never get across
And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him.
He only says, "Good fences make good neighbors."

Spring is the mischief in me, and I wonder
If I could put a notion in his head:
"Why do they make good neighbors? Isn't it
Where there are cows? But here there are no cows.

Before I built a wall I'd ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offence.
Something there is that doesn't love a wall,
That wants it down."

I could say "Elves" to him,
But it's not elves exactly, and I'd rather
he said it for himself. I see him there
Bringing a stone grasped firmly by the top
In each hand, like an old-stone savage armed.
He moves in darkness as it seems to me,
Not of woods only and the shade of trees.

He will not go behind his father's saying,
And he likes having thought of it so well
He says again, "Good fences make good neighbors."

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Looking up

The first of summer's holiday weekends was a welcome one. It brought later mornings, time to do things you just don't have the time to do when working every day, and the chance to visit friends, favorite places around town or just to relax at home. This weekend brought nice weather to Erie and, as we watch the "natural disasters" of rain and storms throughout the country every night on the news, don't think that we are not very grateful for our mild days.

Two media events also highlighted the weekend: the publication of the Spring/Summer Mount magazine and the appearance of our Sister Joan on Oprah's Super Soul Sunday. You can read about them on our community website and other places that google will find for you!

These two shots were found by "looking up" as I walked around our grounds.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

The merry month of May

May is a popular month for First Communions which had my friend remembering her all-time favorite story from her days as a 2nd grade teacher. Seems she practiced for the big day with Necco wafers and constant encouragement to the children to put their tongue out so that the priest could put the communion host on it. On the actual date all was going smoothly (so she thought) until right in the middle of the distribution to the long line of children she saw the priest, who knew of her practice technique, start to blush and obviously stifle a smile. Afterward she asked him what happened. He answered, "Everything was going fine until this one little boy blurted out before I could get in a word, 'Chocolate, please.'"

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Airing our differences!

One of our newer members got me smiling last week when she asked, "How are the air conditioning wars here?" I laughed right out loud and answered, "Just like everywhere else, 50-50!"

This weekend our temps spiked into the 80s and since our heating system hasn't been converted yet all 16 chapel windows came open and Sunday Mass was much warmer than usual. As I correctly predicted, 1/2 were thrilled with the "natural warm air" and 1/2 were perspiring and very uncomfortable! Only three majors areas at the Mount are air-conditioned all the time: the chapel, dining room and library. Fortunately all the bedrooms and offices can be individually set, so that makes the "wars" minimal!

Personally I had a change of heart last summer when our a/c system broke down for a week. The "natural air" lovers were just fine, but as I observed the real heat misery for the a/c lovers: perspiring, red-faced and over-heated, I realized that it's much easier for the "naturals" to put on a jacket or sweater than to get relief for the "a/c-ers." Besides, there are so many more important things in life than "fighting this war"!! So, if I'm ever asked that question again, I may laugh, but my answer will be: "There's no 'war' we co-exist happily."

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Amazing and lots of fun

Hope you haven't seen this yet.
Enjoy the creativity and technology: trop forts
( P.S. You can find more on YouTube.)

One of our little "waterfalls"!

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Our First Creek Walk

The temperature was better, there was no rain and it became a perfect afternoon for our first Seven-mile creek walk of the spring. It starts right across from the bottom of the big hill as you go onto our Glinodo property and it ends right at a cliff above the lake.

May apples are's one with "an apple."

Ditto Jack in the Pulpits.

Numerous pairs of Canada Geese are around.
No goslings with these two.

Two little evergreens we planted 3-4 years ago.
Looking great!

Our neighbor's bird ferry boathouse,
at the very end of the path.

Pesky lawn and garden violets are pretty--
for about two weeks

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

May brings forth everything!

A couple weeks ago I posted "one of my favorite spring sights." Here are the other two (making them my top 3). When they've all appeared I know spring is truly, truly here to stay. Now if the temps would only settle down into a consistent 60 or so!

The tree in the center of the library courtyard is pure white for two weeks a year.
Drop dead gorgeous. Here it is from the library windows.

The two bleeding heart plants in the inner courtyard bloomed this week,
I mean the hearts themselves finally dropped. Another gorgeous sight.

Otherwise things are going along well in this Easter season. Our spring visitors are arriving every weekend. Last weekend we had 5, yes 5, of the blood sisters of one of our sisters here. They were was like having 5 clones of her around all the time: voices, mannerisms, laughs, everything. Great fun.

This weekend leaders in the L'Arche movement will be with us. Nice group to have, too. Some weekend retreats of our own are also going on this month, so we're all in our best hospitality mode! And, finally, our own vacation times are just beginning as some of our sisters are on a couple weeks of long-awaited vacation, now that the nicer weather has appeared and travel is a bit more doable/less risky. Hope they're having a wonderful time!

Sunday, May 5, 2019

Weekend snips

A delicious pre-performance reception showcased the Mercyhurst hotel-restaurant management majors' talents.

Marinas are starting to have boats in the water and the bay is looking more and more summer-like.

Sweet chirping birds are appearing at all the feeders around the monastery.

Earlier blossoming trees are fading and later ones are just starting up.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

The eye is better

My friend and I are having a kind of unofficial contest (no rules, no prizes) to see which one of us can take a photo of our thin, vertical chapel stained-glass windows that really captures what they look like to the human eye. We've taken so many of them--different light, flash or no flash, different times of the year, month, day....and they always, up until now, came out flat--never quite catching the gem-like twinkle and gleam that shines through them at their best.

Until now. Here's her latest, taken last week. It's a beauty and very, very close.

My turn now.