Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Late August: Morning Walk

 I love this path, and almost always see deer here.  But this morning there was a dog off leash, running around and barking, with an owner telling me,"Oh, he's fine."  So much for the deer.

Very peaceful this morning.  Not sure how the algae appeared so fast.

I never tire of this view as it changes through the seasons. I am so grateful to the 1960s little old ladies wearing sneakers and carrying binoculars who turned out to be savvy and determined activists.  They saved this spot for the birds and for the rest of us from the folks whose highest and best ambitions involved an interstate highway.  I mean, seriously: Do you look at this and think, "Yay!  Interstate!" ???

A muskrat appeared!  He swam practically under my feet a minute after this, but I couldn't get my phone to re-load, so this photo was the best I could do.


I wonder whether I'll ever figure out what to do with this week.  I guess one simply lives it, all of it.

Late August.  I'm off for two weeks because of just how difficult it is. I've planned out all my sermons -- texts, topics, and even most of the titles -- through November, and begun to think through how I might want to approach Advent.   I'm realizing with considerable satisfaction that next month I won't be "the pastor we just called who was diagnosed with breast cancer at the same time," and in December I won't be "the new pastor."  I'll be "our pastor."  

Pretty cool, I think.

Meanwhile, my next project involves excavating an attic -- because, you know, I have a sermon to write.  As well as another piece of writing to ponder.  

But I'm remembering a lot as well.

August, 1984 -- a beautiful month, like this one.  I remember surfacing from the city pool like a baby whale, and the furtive glances of teen-aged boys as I climbed out via the ladder, swimsuit plastered to the belly that contained thirteen-plus pounds of babies. I chuckled to myself, thinking that I was doing more to promote the careful use of birth control than any lecture at the local high school might have achieved.

This year, since it's twenty-eight years later, presents the new challenge of the days and dates matching up.  Thursday, today: blissful unawareness.  Friday: Panicked doctors, no longer able to tolerate the presence of a woman more than forty weeks pregnant with twins, and a resultant decision to induce labor.  Saturday:  Happy Birthday, Josh and Matt! - whom I first saw in the mirror during the c-section.  (Yeah, that induction thing . . . kind of a disaster.  As well as  the attempts at alleged anesthesia.)

I'm (obviously) going through a lot of photo albums and transferring pictures to CDs. Some of them are showing up here and on Facebook.  I can't do the ones from the 80s yet, but I'm having a lot of fun remembering subsequent years.

A week of mixed feelings.  As I walked around the lake this morning, I prayed Mary Oliver's Wild Geese.  The geese won't be flying overhead for a few more weeks (though grebes have started to come through) , but the rest of the poem applies.

. . .
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
. . .
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting --
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.


  1. In Memphis, the same thing happened. I-40 was to go through Overton Park and it was saved. The really sad thing is that parks and homes are saved only when the Interstate is to go through wealthy neighborhoods. The innerbelt destroyed neighborhoods in inner city Cleveland.

    Thinking of you in this season of sorrow.

    1. Yes, it did.

      And now, unbelievably, a local mayor thinks it's a travesty that the Board of a failing golf club is considering a sale for conservation purposes instead of to a developer -- when a developer has already gotten hold of another failed country club nearby and: Welcome Supersize Walmart!

      The former is across the street from another mall I try to patronize as seldom as possible as my tiny private protest against the development of what was once a beautiful green space.

  2. I have been lighting candles this week, every evening. I will keep doing that the rest of the week and into next. They are beautiful and mesmerizing and make me ache and feel joy at once. I wish I could serve your grief a cup of tea this week, and relieve you of some of the duties of being a hostess. Much love, Robin.

  3. Love and prayers for you, all these days.

    1. Thank you, MB. I so hope Ken is better tonight.

  4. Wild Geese is one of my seminal, threshold, foundational poems.

    With that poem Mary Oliver broke open the possibility of my survival.

    I read and re-read it like scripture.

    And, I had it prepared for the Closing Prayer when I showed up a week early for "Book Club" .... oh Robin, we are connected!

    1. Well, yes, of course we are. I don't know how that came to be, but it's obviously an "of course."

  5. Robin, my prayers are joined with the others this week as you walk this difficult road. You are a woman of courage and I so appreciate your willingness to share your thoughts with us.