I could not be a poet without the natural world. Someone else could. But not me. For me the door to the woods is the door to the temple.
— Mary Oliver from Upstream
Alone in the alien, snow-blown woods,
moving hard to stay warm in zero weather,
I stop on a rise to catch my breath as the
setting sun—streaming through bare-boned
trees—falls upon my face, fierce and full of life. Continue reading “Welcome Home …”
The tree awakened earlier than usual one morning and stretched her arms toward the horizon as if to invite the early rays of dawn into her world. She shivered with delight, wiggling her roots in the muddy earth, which had only recently yielded its frozen hardness.
She sensed something was different. Her roots seemed to be extending further and more firmly into the soil. Her arms seemed to embrace more of the world, not with the timid gestures of a sapling afraid of tangling with the wind, but with the freedom of knowing that the wind could not topple her. Continue reading “The Tree That Survived The Winter …”
Winter here is a demanding season—and not everyone appreciates the discipline. It is a season when death’s victory can seem supreme: few creatures stir, plants do not visibly grow, and nature feels like our enemy. And yet the rigors of winter, like the diminishments of autumn, are accompanied by amazing gifts. Continue reading “Winter Has A Gift To Give …”
The darker the night, the brighter the stars,
The deeper the grief, the closer is God!
— Apollon Maykov
All throughout these months
as the shadows
this blessing has been
Continue reading “Advent Day 25: The Longest Night …”
We need to find God and God cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature—trees, flowers, grass—grow in silence; see the stars, the moon, the sun, how they move in silence. Is not our mission to give God to the poor in the slums? Not a dead God, but a living, loving God. The more we receive in silent prayer, the more we can give in our active life. We need silence to be able to touch souls. The essential thing is not what we say, but what God says to us and through us. All our words will be useless unless they come from within—words which do not give the light of Christ increase the darkness. Continue reading “Advent Day 11: The Peace of the Wild Things …”
Peace is what I leave with you; it is my own peace that I give you. I do not give it as the world does. Do not be worried and upset; do not be afraid.
— John 14:27
It is the Glad Season.
Thunder ebbs to silence and lightning sleeps quietly in the corner.
Flood waters recede into memory.
Snow becomes a yielding cushion to aid us
As we make our way to higher ground. Continue reading “Advent Day 10: Healing Peace …”
There is neither happiness nor misery in the world; there is only the comparison of one state with another, nothing more. He who has felt the deepest grief is best able to experience supreme happiness. We must have felt what it is to die, Morrel, that we may appreciate the enjoyments of life. Continue reading “Advent Day 03: Wait and Hope …”
Advent is the perfect time to clear and prepare the Way. Advent is a winter training camp for those who desire peace. By reflection and prayer, by reading and meditation, we can make our hearts a place where a blessing of peace would desire to abide and where the birth of the Prince of Peace might take place.
— Edward Hays from A Pilgrim’s Almanac
Continue reading “Seeking the Light: Advent Prayers …”