Friday, April 11, 2014
On Ash Wednesday I went to Imago Dei Community and received the ashes on my forehead. As the young man made the sign of the cross, he said "From dust you came, to dust you shall return. Turn from your sin and be faithful to Christ." It was a solemn and thoughtful hour.
For the past several years, I've attempted to practice Lent. I grew up in a church that somewhat practiced the church calendar and I feel strongly that there can be no Easter without Good Friday. There can be no light without darkness. To come to Easter without any practice of slowing down and reflecting is to take away from the joy and newness of Easter.
I didn't really do anything special this year- no candles, no fasting, no internet limitations. But I did slow down and consider the meaning of Lent. I considered that Lent leads us to life and to light. The days get longer during Lent and the plants push up. I planted lettuce and mesclun and it is coming up and making my heart glad.
It's been a long and dark winter, so when the sun shines, we go outside. In a refuge near our home, we can still see Mt. Hood in the distance, eternally covered in snow.
The pussy willows are starting to come out.
The rhododendrons near Reed College are also starting to bloom.
We compost- table scraps, paper, coffee grinds, egg shells. Some goes in our worm bin and some goes outside to the compost pile. I find composting profoundly theological- our waste turns into something else (it's transformed through rotting) that we then put back in the ground so that we have rich soil to grow new and healthy plants and food. The transformation from waste to life seems Lenten to me. Compost can not grow or change unless it sits in darkness for a long time. Wendell Berry said it much better than I can.
At the start of spring I open a trench
in the ground. I put into it
the winter’s accumulation of paper,
pages I do not want to read
again, useless words, fragments,
errors. And I put into it
the contents of the outhouse:
light of the sun, growth of the ground,
finished with one of their journeys.
To the sky, to the wind, then,
and to the faithful trees, I confess
my sins: that I have not been happy
enough, considering my good luck;
have listened to too much noise;
have been inattentive to wonders;
have lusted after praise.
And then upon the gathered refuse
of mind and body, I close the trench,
folding shut again the dark,
the deathless earth. Beneath that seal
the old escapes into the new.
Source: Collected Poems: 1957-1982
We've also done some traveling. We went to Seattle to see Elisabeth and we stopped by Chinatown and the International District. Above Chinatown is the International Community Garden that has this sign. The Chinese characters are yi (one) xin (heart). One heart among the many people. Lovely.
We also spent some time at the Capernwray School on Thetis Island. It was peaceful, beautiful and refreshing to be there. We are so thankful for their generosity in letting us come!
As always, I am drawn to the gardens. These are some of the raised beds that they have. Very creative use of logs from the forest.