Spiritual sustenance, naturally.

Posts tagged ‘Earth’

Telling its story against the vanishing

Today a Religious Naturalism email list sent the poem The Enigma We Answer by Living (reprinted at the bottom of this post) by Alison Hawthorne Deming , which was featured on the Panhala website.

What does nature compel you to do?

My father was compelled to chase butterflies, moths, and other insects. As a child, I saw him in the yard, hunting them down with his white net on a pole. I watched them die in his poison jar, fluttering their wings for the last time. I saw them arranged and labeled, a pin through each tiny body, and peered into their display cases at the university where he taught biological sciences.

I am compelled to create winged clothing,  garments of leaves, crowns of berries and thorns, a temple of the cosmos, stories to tell, plantings of herbs, and gatherings of people. Some people are compelled to write poetry.

The Enigma We Answer by Living

Einstein didn’t speak as a child
waiting till a sentence formed and
emerged full-blown from his head.

I do the thing, he later wrote, which
nature drives me to do. Does a fish
know the water in which he swims?

This came up in conversation
with a man I met by chance,
friend of a friend of a friend,

who passed through town carrying
three specimen boxes of insects
he’d collected in the Grand Canyon –

one for mosquitoes, one for honeybees,
one for butterflies and skippers,
each lined up in a row, pinned and labeled,

tiny morphologic differences
revealing how adaptation
happened over time. The deeper down

he hiked, the older the rock
and the younger
the strategy for living in that place.

And in my dining room the universe
found its way into this man
bent on cataloguing each innovation,

though he knows it will all disappear –
the labels, the skippers, the canyon.
We agreed then, the old friends and the new,

that it’s wrong to think people are a thing apart
from the whole, as if we’d sprung
from an idea out in space, rather than emerging

from the sequenced larval mess of creation
that binds us with the others,
all playing the endgame of a beautiful planet

that’s made us want to name
each thing and try to tell
its story against the vanishing.

~ Alison Hawthorne Deming ~

(from the book Genius Loci)

Sense of the Sacred ~ Please help me spread the word!

Only by understanding the Universe as a vast, holistic system and Earth as a unit within it can we help restore balance to that unit.

Only by placing Earth and its ecosystems – about which we now understand so much – at the centre of all our thinking can we avert ecological disaster .

Only by bringing our thinking back into balance with feeling, intuition and awareness and by grounding ourselves in a sense of the sacred in all things can we achieve a new level of consciousness.

Thus says the website of the book GreenSpirit: Path to a new Consciousness. In a couple of weeks the author, Marian Van Eyk McCain, will be speaking about this book upstairs in the Community Room at the Real Food Co-op in Chatham. (Please note that the Co-op is not open for business on Sundays.) I’m very happy that Marian will be here, and I’d like you all to meet her. She is also author of the book Elderwoman: Reap the Wisdom – Feel the Power – Embrace the Joy, which ties in with Growing Older, Growing Wiser: Becoming an Elderwoman, a seven-part series beginning in Chatham on September 14th.

Please help me spread the message about her talk at the Co-op on September 12, 2 PM. Thanks!

Here is a poster with the details:

GreenSpirit Poster

Evolutionary Epic

Today I returned from the conference on our energy transition, and this evening I added the book below to the Recommending Reading list on this blog.

There is much that I wish to write about, but it will have to wait until I’m settled in and caught up.

The Evolutionary Epic: Science’s Story and Humanity’s Response, edited by Cheryl Genet, Russell Genet, Brian Swimme, Linda Palmer and Linda Gibler

Beach Play

Earth, air, fire and water today. Watching the little fishies, the granddaughters, splashing, swimming, playing, immersing themselves in coolness and fun. Soaking it in – the sky with wind-blown clouds, the sandy shore, the strong summer sun, and precious water. We are made of cycling earth, air, fire, water, constantly renewed. No wonder beach play feels so good!

Like a wave from the ocean

You did not come into this world. You came out of it, like a wave from the ocean. You are not a stranger here. – Alan Watts


A tip of the hat to GreenSpirit for bringing this quote to my attention in its newsletter. Alan Watts introduced me to meditation practice when I was a teen in the 1960’s. In one form or another, I’ve practiced it ever since.

Navigating New Territory

For the past two weeks I’ve been experiencing a crash course in navigating the hospital and a nursing home, as my mother, 93 this month, underwent some medical difficulties. Today my sister is visiting, offering sibling support, which is fabulous. And tomorrow I plan to be in the pulpit, sharing a Psalm and a passage from John.

In the past few days I have found  a couple of hours of respite in my garden, preparing space for new herbs and flowers, smelling the rich earth: humus, humility, humanity – literally grounding myself as I kneel in the dirt, sensing the budding life force all around me. May my mother feel this greening, growing, healing power, too, as she grows stronger day by day: the miracle of simply being alive.

‘GreenSpirit: Path to a New Consciousness’

My friend Marian Van Eyk McCain has edited a new book, GreenSpirit: Path to a New Consciousness.  Because the topics in it are related to my work on Temple of the Cosmos and my interest in our spiritual responses to our world, I intend to read it as soon as I can get my hands on a copy.  Marian also wrote The Lilypad List: 7 Steps to the Simple Life.

8/17/10 News Flash! Marian Van Eyk McCain, editor of and contributor to GreenSpirit: Path to a New Consciousness, will be in Chatham, NY on Sunday, September 12. 2010, 2 PM to speak about the book and about living simply. The Real Food Network Co-op, 15 Church Street, Chatham, NY. This event is sponsored by Sanctuary Without Walls.