May 012015
 

Dear Friends,

     The glory of May in Vermont!  We made it through what was one of the coldest, hardest winters I recall.  In fact, my husband tells me it snowed yet again in Vermont this morning.  I myself am writing from sunny southern California where I have been attending to (rescuing really) my elderly, disabled aunt and uncle who experienced a crisis due to an unscrupulous caregiver.  I am so grateful for the prayers and support from all of You.  Miracles abound and my aunt and uncle are becoming stable and safe.  Thanks!  I look forward to my return soon to my home in Vermont and to Spring!  Yes, the glory of it – wild onions, hepatica, wild ginger, spring beauties, wood thrush calling, barred owls, and so much more.  This month in our worship services, we’ll explore the themes of Home, The Divine Mother and the lessons from the life of the Buddha.  Here is a poem by Mary Oliver for us to savor until we meet again.  Merry Spring!
I have decided to find myself a home
in the mountains, somewhere high up
where one learns to live peacefully in
the cold and the silence. It’s said that
in such a place certain revelations may
be discovered. That what the spirit
reaches for may be eventually felt, if not
exactly understood. Slowly, no doubt. I’m
not talking about a vacation.
Of course at the same time I mean to
stay exactly where I am.
Are you following me?
See You at Church,
With Love,
M’ellen
Mar 032015
 

Two Poems by  Anne Atwood Dodge, published in “Poetry”, 1927

 

In An Orchard

Lie still, lie still and close your eyes
Though there is beauty all around –
So shall you sense more lovingly the sun,
And hear more exquisitely still the sound
Of wind among the branches, and the hum
Of drunken bees among the rustling flowers,
The delicate flutter of wings – a humming-bird
Above the larkspur towers;
And feel, pressed close to the earth,
The wind come up the hill,
The rough grass under your hand, and the sun on your face
Lie still, lie still.

 

Pilgrimage

Although the snow lay light
Above your quiet bed,
The sky was April bright.

Remembering you, I stood
Almost abashed to break
Your lovely solitude.

The wind had fallen still –
Was it the wind that stirred
The grasses on the hill?

 

— Anne Atwood Dodge
Poetry, 1927

Jan 252015
 

Caged Bird  

A free bird leaps
on the back of the wind
and floats downstream
till the current ends
and dips his wing
in the orange sun rays
and dares to claim the sky.
But a bird that stalks
down his narrow cage
can seldom see through
his bars of rage
his wings are clipped and
his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing.
The caged bird sings
with a fearful trill
of things unknown
but longed for still
and his tune is heard
on the distant hill
for the caged bird
sings of freedom.
The free bird thinks of another breeze
and the trade winds soft through the sighing trees
and the fat worms waiting on a dawn bright lawn
and he names the sky his own
But a caged bird stands on the grave of dreams
his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream
his wings are clipped and his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing.
The caged bird sings
with a fearful trill
of things unknown
but longed for still
and his tune is heard
on the distant hill
for the caged bird
sings of freedom.
— Maya Angelou
Dec 302014
 

Songs of Joy by William Henry Davies

Sing out, my soul, thy songs of joy;
Sing as a happy bird will sing
Beneath a rainbow’s lovely arch
In the spring.

Think not of death in thy young days;
Why shouldst thou that grim tyrant fear?
And fear him not when thou art old,
And he is near.

Strive not for gold, for greedy fools
Measure themselves by poor men never;
Their standard still being richer men,
Makes them poor ever.

Train up thy mind to feel content,
What matters then how low thy store?
What we enjoy, and not possess,
Makes rich or poor.

Filled with sweet thought, then happy I
Take not my state from other’s eyes;
What’s in my mind — not on my flesh
Or theirs — I prize.

Sing, happy soul, thy songs of joy;
Such as a Brook sings in the wood,
That all night has been strengthened by
Heaven’s purer flood.

Dec 022014
 

For so the children come

and so they have been coming.

Always in the same way they come-

born of the seed of man and woman.

 

No angels herald their beginnings,

no prophets predict their future courses.

No magi see a star to show where to find the babe that will

save humankind.

Yet each night a child is born is a holy night.

Parents, sitting beside their children’s cribs,

feel glory in the sight of a new life beginning.

They ask, “Where and how will this new life end?

Or will it ever end?”

 

Each night a child is born is a holy night,

a time for singing,

a time for wondering,

a time for worshipping.

-Sophia Lyon Fahs

Oct 312014
 

Spirit of the Harvest

BY GARY KOWALSKI

Each of us will be grateful this Thanksgiving in differing ways,

Gathered in our separate families,

Each with our own distinct recipes, customs and traditions;

For some will have pies of mince,

And others of pumpkin or apple;

And some will dine early

And some sit down late to the meal,

Passing on the wisdom of the elders

As to the question of whether the stuffing

Should have raisins or currants,

And whether to add sage to the gravy.

For such differences of opinion,

Make us truly appreciative,

Realizing that as there is no one right way

To celebrate the gifts of life,

So there is no wrong way

To share in love or friendship.

But amid our diversity,

Let us also be united

In our gratitude

For a world in which there are many faiths,

A nation in which there is freedom of worship,

A community in which people of many backgrounds

Can gather in mutual care and respect.

Amen.

Oct 312014
 

Dear Friends,

With autumn comes the migration of many of our winged friends including the wild geese. On a recent evening, I stood out on our deck and witnessed a flock overhead. I heard them first. I looked up to see a long V in the sky. I counted 56 as they streamed over, flying west probably toward Lake Champlain, safety for the night’s rest. I imagined that to their eyes it would be a beckoning ribbon of red reflecting the sunset colors. Native folks around the world, including the Abenakis of Vermont, have respected animals as our teachers. By observing them, we can understand ourselves and the world better, and get glimpses of how to live well together on this planet.

I have heard from some teacher years ago the lessons that we can learn from wild geese. Geese share the leadership. They fly in a V with one goose at the point. This individual bird is working very hard since it’s first and bearing the brunt of the air resistance. The geese who fly behind have an easier flight because of the lead goose. Because the point is such a challenging position, they switch off often. In the course of a day of flying various individuals will assume the lead position.

Geese cooperate. The downward sweep of a goose’s wing creates an updraft that buoys the bird behind it. By flying in a V, they cooperate and make the effort of flying easier and less taxing for the members of the flock. Ingenious!

Geese encourage each other. Flying over what amounts to be hundreds of miles is challenging. The geese behind honk in encouragement for the ones up front.

And perhaps most importantly, geese know where they’re going. They have an internal navigation system that involves reading the earth’s magnetism and reading the stars. Amazing.

From these regal birds, we can take lessons for our own lives. Shared leadership, cooperation, and mutual encouragement make group life easier, smoother, more enjoyable and more likely to reach the destination. That applies whether the group is a flock, a family, a staff of co-workers, fellow volunteers in a civic organization or the members of a church. Like the geese, we can strive to step up and take the lead when necessary and then step back and let others take the lead. We can aim to cooperate and think of others and how our personal actions affect them, either enhancing or detracting from their experience. We can intend to be considerate of others expressing words and gestures of encouragement and appreciation. We can get clear on our destination and for guidance look within to our internal navigation system and our connection with the earth, the cosmos and the Source.

As fall settles on the landscape now nearly stripped of leaves in my neighborhood, I’m grateful for the beauty of this place, for the birds, animals and creatures with whom we share this landscape and for their teaching us, just by being, how to be better people and live well on this earth.

See You at Church.

Warmly,

M’ellen

Sep 302014
 

October

BY ROBERT FROST

O hushed October morning mild,

Thy leaves have ripened to the fall;

Tomorrow’s wind, if it be wild,

Should waste them all.

The crows above the forest call;

Tomorrow they may form and go.

O hushed October morning mild,

Begin the hours of this day slow.

Make the day seem to us less brief.

Hearts not averse to being beguiled,

Beguile us in the way you know.

Release one leaf at break of day;

At noon release another leaf;

One from our trees, one far away.

Retard the sun with gentle mist;

Enchant the land with amethyst.

Slow, slow!

For the grapes’ sake, if they were all,

Whose leaves already are burnt with frost,

Whose clustered fruit must else be lost—

For the grapes’ sake along the wall.

Sep 032014
 

Autumn

For the beauty of the autumn,

brilliant skies,

pale asters,

dogwood leaves veined with purple,

smell of dusty decay not to be found another time,

let us be thankful.

For places of peace and strength,

sanctuaries of holiness,

communities of caring

times of thought, listening silences,

let us be thankful.

For what we have to be held and shared,

bread,

wisdom,

warmth,

love mysteriously reaching another being.

let us be thankful.

-Rudolph W. Nesmer

Jun 302014
 

Heartbeat

Let us be quiet, without and within.

Let the stillness be in us.

Let the silence hold us.

May we find the deep places of the soul and begin to let go of the distractions

that plague us.

May we let go of the irritation, calm the confusion which inhibits us, let go of fear.

The quiet is within us.

The stillness is in us.

The silence will hold us.

There are deep places in the soul.

Here may we find peace.

-Harold E. Babcock