Peaceful Country Drives

We didn’t do a lot, when I was growing up, but it was definitely a thing. On Saturday or a Sunday, you’d get in the car and drive and see things. You’d get out, walk around, take a good look, (if there were a stream dip some part of your body in), and get back in the car.

Some people had families they paid a visit to; our family lived far apart. We had falls and lakes and creeks. This barn would have pleased us… our family was a large admirer of barns. We were big on clouds as well. “will you look at that… ” I’m sure I’ve written this before, but one of my parents’ nurse companions said she’d never noticed the clouds before working for Betty and Sam!

Barns were another thing. My brother-in-law, after a joint trip with my parents, wondered if for the rest of his lives he was going to have to admire (expletive) barns in fields? Because he couldn’t quite see the romance. Philistine!

I think family drives were one of the ways I learned to see and be connected to Nature. I am not an outside girl by choice. waaaah, can’t i bring a book? but I am a used to looking at, admiring, and remarking upon Nature, her composition and her Beauty. I know that I’m back in the Susquehanna Valley because I missed the beautiful grey limestone, the forests, and the streams. Stream swimming is not a thing in the dry West.

Peace in my case is found (not exclusively, but still) in familiar Beauty. Other Beauty calls for admiration, but a beautiful barn in Central PA on a sunny day can make my heart sing.

Peace of the Beautiful Barn, y’all! And at last of a sunny day!


The Quick Fox of April Peace

The quick red fox jumped over the lazy brown reeds. (I saw no dog!) It was gorgeous!

Nervous making, because she was alongside the road… but she was in a bog close to the lovely river. And there were ducks and others on the river outside the cafe where i stopped to eat. Nature is feeling confident enough to rub up against us! Hurrah!

April was at her most lovely yesterday. (everything but my allergies were in agreement!)

There are some days when even humans manage to be at Peace with the Earth. Spring offers us so many opportunities to stand together in awe. What if we took them? Look! A Fox!


Ponds of Peace

My brother is a deliberate man. He, unlike his speed demon sister(s), studies things, thinks about them, and gradually goes about working his way through whatever he’s doing.

So he is with ponds. He decided he wanted to build a pond up on the mountain. So for a year he read about it. And he built one. And then he built a second one. Cindy and he got crazy with this one. They’ve filled it up with native fish and other nibbling things. They put the right plants (including the oh, my goodness, mountain cranberries) in and around the pond. It looks sort of murky, but when you cup your hands and bring the water up it’s crystal clear. It’s a living pond. It’s gorgeous.

And it’s oh, so swimable, if you don’t mind those nibbly moments in your close encounters of the fishy kind.

The water is silky and smooth and it was perfect for swimming… or, well, floating. Tom and I both got a little weepy thinking about how much the parents and debbie’s family would have love the pond. And all of them and then eventually most of us, will wind up in the blueberry patch that overlooks the pond, good ash making the soil just a bit more fertile.

The night before, a mama deer and her fawn had bedded down where we’ll end up. Cindy’s a hunter, but she has a big safe space around the house and a woods that mama lives in where no one hunts and few even walk. Mother Earth at her most grand.

Nature, getting back to itself. There is so much Peace in this land. So much Peace in that pond… just a really sweet balance in life on earth… I gave thanks and reveled in Peace, Love and all the bounty of their garden. Late summer. It’s an amazing thing. And, oh, my goodness, somehow summer has drifted into September… Peace.




A Screech of Gulls — A Sound of Summer Peace

I couldn’t remember the collective noun for gulls the other day, so I looked it up, (don’t we love Mr. Google). A screech of gulls. What was ever more appropriate?

They’re a pesky sort, these gulls, and yet entirely amusing — well, as long as it’s not your food they’re threatening. Mine! is another word they seem to screech.

But they are wholly themselves, know their niche in the world and inhabit it with flair.

It’s a grand thing.

Peace be with you, my friends, on this rainy summer morning… Enjoy the gulls, they’re part of Nature and they’re part of Summer. Accept the inconvenience, laugh at their antics and enjoy the way they gather and stare into the future… What do they see when they do that you wonder? What do they look for.

Be good if humans would stop and stare into the future for Peace, wouldn’t it. But we can!





Snowy Sabbath Peace

No, really snowy. We cancelled church. I’ve never heard of such a thing! But we’re a regional church so people are coming from long distances.

It’s so beautiful outside. It was gorgeous yesterday when it was snowing and the neighborhood was out in it, and talking to one another. It was gorgeous last night when the snow stopped and it was silent. It was gorgeous this morning when Venus peeked in my window and woke me up. And today it is bright and sunny and the snow is white and beautiful.

Here I am with a day to myself. Reading. Lunch with a friend. A snow angel or two if i can find the space.

I hope it’s a beautiful day for you as well. Peace.

And as I revel in the beauty, I’m so aware of the folk who are snowed in, people who have lost their lives driving in the snow. People who are without heat. A woman I know who is out on the ocean because her boat can’t dock in a city overwhelmed by snow. May they be safe and warm.

And those trees. tracing their wisdom on the sky. May we learn from them. May we consider well the glorious of our world…


Peace of the Dark Sacred Night

There is such beauty in the night. Too often we ignore it, brush by it, try and light it up.

What is most wonderful to do is to linger in it. To go out into its silence and breathe it in. To honor the Dark as well as the Light. To honor the traditions that celebrate this dark Beauty.

The night is also a gift. Particularly here in the country, where we don’t worry as much about the violence that hides in the night. But we cannot let them steal it from us. There is a movement dedicated to safety for women in the dark: Take Back the Night. Yes! Let us do that very thing. Honoring the very holy Dark. Honoring the Women and Men who have always honored the flow of time. Finding my place in that long river of souls that know that nature is a thing of balance and that balance is to respected.

And this night? this is a dark, dark night. No moon. The sun is late to rise and early to bed. Winternight. The Earth is getting ready for rebirth. But that’s a time away from now. Right now we have Beauty and Abundance and this Dark and Sacred Beauty.

Let us go out into the Dark in the winter and breathe in that crystalline air, rejoice in the stars. Let us simply be at Peace in the night.

Alternative Advent, December 11: 2¢ for every bar or dispenser of soap in your life. Don’t forget all the stuff under the sink, in your linen closet or in the laundry room… You thought, oh, two cents. Hah! it adds up.


Remembering, Peace

It was such a beautiful day yesterday. Wildly, out-of-season-ly beautiful. And oh, it looks like it might be the same sort of day today. hurrah.

So, yesterday and today, in terms of their beauty, are days to remember — and to be enjoyed.

Yesterday was also a day to remember a friend whom we buried. I’m mostly called on to do memorials and interment of ashes. I rarely do a casket funeral. But this is what my friend wanted. (and before we get too far off topic, they’re now saying that perhaps it’s better to bury than to cremate due to the immense amount of fuel and the release of particulate matter.)

People always say to me, you must hate doing funerals. In fact, I don’t. I am so honored to do them. Weddings are fun and baby blessings are a joy. But funerals, to work to get the memories right, to help people remember their loved one… oh, that is such a privilege.

I have people I work with at church, musicians, poets, kitchen magicians who deepen the experience. Will you do this, I ask, and they say yes. And then it all gets better. It was even richer because his friend, who doesn’t speak in public, opened his heart and spoke for his friend. We use who we are and what we know and make space for family and friends to be comforted in their loss and maybe even inspired to live more fully by this person they knew so well.

It’s silly, but wonderful to be so glad that my wedding table cloths and those little salt and pepper shakers are useful in lifting a family’s heart in the gathering afterwards.

Funerals, just like every other experience in life, should engage as many senses as possible. This one did. The service helped us remember. The day was so beautiful, so that standing at the graveside for this man whose struggles had ended, everything seemed joyous and right. Poetry and song wove ties around us.

And then back to the church for another opportunity for building memories.

Thank you my friends. For that day, in that group, Peace was in that place.

And then there’s the totally absurd fact that having done two funerals in one week in what must be county cemeteries, I’m on a winking and grinning basis with the gravediggers. It’s a weird world.

There’s birth and death and a whole lot of life in between. But at the end to be laid to rest with gentle words and reinforcing bonds, this is good.


The Moon! More Beauty! More Peace!

I have such a strong sense of home as I drive along that river, something deep within me responds. It’s gorgeous every day of the year and every time of the day.

But there’s something magical about the night. Add a full moon and that wide, flat river is content and so Peaceful — and so am I. I’m always amused/amazed that for someone as wedded to the indoors as I am, I have a visceral reaction to my river, my valley… and even, my moon!

On this last drive the reflection of the trees built another kingdom in the water — the moon was that bright. Add to the joy of home that childhood belief that there’s another world under the surface of the water that looks just like this one. I always wonder who lives there and what they do and how that’s different from the ways we live here. I know, I’m supposed to be a grown up, but it never stops me wondering. Maybe it’s more Peaceful. Maybe we should pay closer attention.

And, maybe, I should just enjoy it. And consider what I might learn about Peace in the moonlight along the Susquehanna. Enjoy the Moon tonight. It’s the last SuperMoon of 2015. Bask!



And Dance by the Light of the Moon

Ah the sky. It offers such delight. Eyebrows at twilight. Clouds at dawn. Stars. Oh, my. Stars. And then our beautiful Moon.

Writing about the Moon has helped me get out there to see it. To look up. Just to stand still and be in the night…

We live in this beautiful world. We need to observe it and appreciate it.

That’s the only thing that’s going to help us protect it.

Last night the strongest Hurricane ever made landfall. Extreme storms are part of global climate change. What are we going to do?

Peace is up to us. Do we want it? Maybe that’s what that cocked eyebrow was telling me.


Something Beautiful, Something Peace

“I will set my bow in the sky as a promise…” Of all the biblical pieces that have stuck, this is one. Every time I see one, I’m happy.

So to see this one, on this day…when my heart was feeling so many things — so many things that in fact I blew past my exit and took the long drive to the next exit. It was only as I was turned around, coming home, that I saw the promise.

And it was gorgeous, hidden there behind the curtain of rain.

Such a gift of beauty. And I often think of rainbows as summer pleasures part of the joy of thundershowers. Yet not an hour before, we’d had snow.

But you take Beauty and heart’s ease where you find it. You find the holy, the sacred, in the ordinary. You count those blessings when they’re there to be counted.

Peace comes in so many little gifts. Let us celebrate. Let us Peace.