Christmases of my childhood were magical and full of meaning. At the beginning of Advent each year we dug special books out of the attic, and my mom read them aloud to my brother and me over and over again. From My Bible Friends’ Bethlehem story—“clip-clop-clip-clop went little donkey’s hooves”—to tales of lonely, misunderstood trolls wishing for someone to love rather than fear them. Each day we opened a window or door of our Advent calendar village.
I have been reading Jonathan Weisner's beautiful book, The Beak of the Finch, listening to sandhill cranes' rusty calls as they fly overhead, and watching starling murmurations. Questions flutter and peck at my mind. What would it be like to live so authentically, so true to my inherent identity, as a bird lives its own instinctual and evolving life?
Growing up a good Seventh-day Adventist girl, the closest I got to dancing was twirling around the house on Friday afternoons with the dust rag to “Kitten on the Keys.” The jazz piano solo was the perfect background for Sabbath preparations and made the chores go twice as fast. I never wished for more, beyond daydreaming of being Clara in the Nutcracker Suite.
For Father’s Day, a little poem about my dad who taught me much about how to be present in time and place. And another poem-sketch of a favorite “here,” the place where my soul feels most at home on earth.
“Are we there yet?”
I asked my dad on the
long road between school days
and summer at Grandma’s house.
he always retorted,
regardless the location.
I am here now.
I am here.
I am now.
I don’t remember my own context—age, place, circumstance—when I first read Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time. I was completely engrossed in the story, and the outside world slipped into periphery. Meg Murry, the main character, seemed closer than my own skin. I do remember that at family worship I asked in all sincerity to pray for Mr. Murry who was in trouble, and then I realized he didn’t need my prayers.
Easter Sunday, April 20
This day, “this most amazing/day” with the “leaping greenly spirits of trees” as e.e. cummings sings and I echo … this day is like any other day and yet it, more than any other day, for me is full of deep, shattering joy. The closure and finality of the period has been replaced with parentheses. Not—He came to earth and died. But—He came to earth and (dying) lived. Cummings again:
(i who have died am alive again today,
In my corner of the Northern Hemisphere the days are lengthening. Forsythia and fruit trees around this high desert city have suddenly burst into bloom. Elm trees are temporarily, inordinately neon green, ripe with seeds about to be loosened and flung wide in a warm gust of wind. And it’s raining, raining….
This is my liturgical calendar, my rhythm of worship and practice and remembrance—the seasons, solstices, cadences of sunshine and rain. My faith is informed by observing and interacting with the patterns and dynamics of nature. [i]Life, death, life again. Always again … life. Eating, being eaten, transformation of light into sugar and detritus into nutrients. Nothing goes to waste. This is a story of resurrection.