Of Caterpillars and Hope…

Tiny Teddy-bear Caterpillar

Our first “teddy-bear caterpillar” sighting of the year. He was crossing our gravel road when my sister and I stopped to pet him, and he curled up into himself — protecting his softness from the harsh unknowns of the world. He was gently carried to a place of green far off the road, and we continued our evening walk.

Today, I found myself envying this tiny one’s ability to freeze and bring himself a sense of safety — in his little world everything stopped — there was time to just be still. I, too, feel like curling up for a period of rest — I find myself unable to think, unable to function well, unable to ponder this journey. I am tired…

It’s a night to yearn for peace rather than marvel at it… My eyes burn with the build up of fatigue and emotion from this past summer. A couple days ago we had to evacuate since the state park I grew up hiking to from home became the site of a wildfire… Thankfully the winds pushed it the opposite direction from my childhood home, and we had firefighters from districts all over the state as well as civilian volunteers from the area, come to conquer the flames. They won. We survived our evacuation adventure – five of us at my other sister’s place, with five cats (and two fish!) – no one really slept. It was so wonderful to return home safely — and we’re all so grateful! Not everyone was able to return to their home safe and sound…

Tonight I am weighing the balance of my losses this summer alongside all the ways Light shines in my world — all the Goodness that simply is… Life is hard… but it is good. There is Hope. Tonight I will sleep — and tomorrow I will hope again.

Veni, Vidi, Amavi.

It’s all Grace.


St. Mary’s after Mass and my front porch this evening

The tide was out this morning after Mass — I stood briefly on the bluff in front of St. Mary’s to close my eyes and feel its rhythm…  the breeze on my face heavy with the scent of the sea. Then it was time to get home and bring Eucharist to my boys — a bit of Thanksgiving and Peace for the week ahead.

The day has been spent in Quiet – my Shakespeare paper finished yesterday meant today was free to simply straighten our home a little and just rest…

This evening I am sitting here on the porch — the sun gentle on my shoulders and face now as it heads towards meeting with the sea — together they will paint the sky and the far horizon with the coming sunset. It was harsh at midday today — even with the breeze — but now there is a softness in its warmth as the day draws to a close.  Sitting here, the sound of the sea is a comforting roar in my chest — the tide was at its height not long ago and it still sounds like it. The breeze off the sea is stronger tonight than it was this morning – dancing with the leaves in the trees, making the shadows shimmer – every once in awhile a gust whips my hair around my face and fills my lungs with the fullness of the seaside in the summer… sun-warmed grasses and sand, the lake and creeks nearby, the heat of the roads in the area, the wet-earth and bracken of the woods… and of course — the sea.

Can you feel its rhythm — can you hear its echo inside as the tide of your own breath fills your lungs with life?

We all breathe the same air.  We’re all rocked to the rhythm of our heartbeats — all the same… all living and loving on land that eventually meets the sea. Love is the only appropriate response to the beauty of our shared humanity – our shared rhythm of life.

There’s still hope for us.


America the Beautiful…

The Sea at St. Mary’s-by-the-Sea after Sunday Mass

The sanctuary was packed at St. Mary’s by the Sea this morning. Our small town has been inundated with visitors for the 4th of July holiday weekend, which means our Masses were full… It was like playing piano for an army — every voice raised in song together… so intense.
We  sang America the Beautiful as our closing song — every verse at the top of our lungs —  with spontaneous applause at the end and happy murmurs echoing among the crowd as they began to make their way outside. It wasn’t necessarily the song itself — it was the fact that everyone knew it well from their childhood, and everyone felt the joy of an entire building singing together… that connection…

Outside the sunlight was blinding, and everything it touched felt bright and beautiful — the faces of strangers, the grasses on the knoll above the beach, the waves in their retreat at low tide… the statue of Mary overlooking us all as a mother does… And myself – still trembling with the leftover adrenaline from the intensity of playing for everyone to sing — my heart still racing with the fullness of it all.

Our world can often seem full of darkness — but then, there are moments that remind us there is so much Beauty here — this world is truly charged with Glory… each person lit with Life – shining with the Love they were created to be… to know… to give… 
I’m afraid so many of us are missing the point — missing the mark… there really is no room for anything but Love in our interactions with others. We were made to bring Peace.

Be kind — it’s All Grace.

“O Strength in the flight of the heron,
Joy in the song of the lark,
Peace in the mists of the morning,
And Light in the leaves of the Park!
Everywhere shineth Thy Beauty,
Yet everywhere only in part –
Come, Holy Spirit, I pray Thee,
And dwell with Thy Flame in my heart!”
John Bradburne, Angelus (1958) [547]

Soft Eyes and Heavy Souls


Jasper spends much of the day by my side or in my lap right now. Our Dante kitty passed away just before Christmas and Jasper has never been an only cat before…

We are all grieving…

He will come to my feet and say, “Mama,” then reach up and tap my arm if I don’t respond before he jumps in my lap to curl up. Mind you if I initiated this routine I would be promptly met with his snapdragon response… Touch is only on his terms (he’s a cat after all). He is either angry, or needing reassurance right now. Poor little soul.

We are planning to bring a young girl kitty home next weekend. (She was supposed to join us last weekend but black ice and a broken wheel led to a rescheduling and un-looked-for early morning adventure.) The Philosopher has fallen in love with her fluffy black fur, and we’re hoping she will soothe our heartache while carving out her own heart-space…

Grief comes in many forms — the weight of a grief cannot be compared from soul to soul or loss to loss. Grief, like Love, cannot be measured or compared… It simply is.

It’s in the constant thought that the lost presence was just seen out of the corner of your eye – sitting in their proper place – present, known – and the hole renewed when the full glance reveals the empty space. It’s in the echo of the sounds they no longer make and all the shadows they left behind. We are all carrying the weight of our losses – the burden growing as the years pass and losses increase. Be kind.
Be gentle with each other… look with soft eyes.

Every soul is bearing a heavy weight of its own… even our little Jasper.


A Blessing for the New Year

A Blessing for the New Year from To Bless the Space Between Us by John O’Donahue

This week has left me so undone…
I was lead nurse for my team all week — it felt like we were all drowning together — too much to be done and not enough hands to do it…
I am on the other side of exhaustion this New Year’s Eve — hard to think about what the next few weeks of the New Year will be like in my reality — as apparently those of us working in healthcare live in a different world than everyone else — other than those we are trying to help…

As usual I turned to written words for comfort today — Scripture. Poetry. Prayers. Beautiful fonts and phrases…

I’m sending out John O’Donahue’s “A Blessing For The New Year” into this hurting world today – from his To Bless The Space Between Us book of blessings. May 2022 offer us all hope as together we begin another circuit around the sun on this spinning globe.

May those of us beginning this journey again without so many of our loved ones find comfort and courage to go on in the fact that love does not end just because the seat at the table is empty. All the shadows that remain echo the love shared… This coming year will be full of many hard firsts for so many grieving… Be gentle with each other my fellow earth-riders — we need each other.