Step by Sacred Step

Little Cluck supervises Emily as she harvests beans

Little Cluck supervises Emily as she harvests beans

Our extraordinary intern Emily enriches our life with Bach cello suites at Eucharists, an eye and ear for the rhythm of the sung offices, vegan desserts, industrious weeding, planting, gathering, shelling, hanging, drying  produce.  She’s almost half-way through her month-long internship and already we can’t bear the thought of letting her go.

Sunday evening Emily and I joined the sisters in the city for Sister Elise’s birthday celebration.  On Monday we walked the Big Bang and Universe Walk at the Museum of Natural History.  Each step of the long spiral walk represents 45 million years.  Human life appears along the last few inches.  Human history, a mere thread’s breadth at the end.  Easy to miss, really, unless you’re actively searching like one earnest father pointing out this little line to his son.  But the boy’s eyes greedy for the huge planets and molecules hanging in the vast space above, refused to focus on something so small, a concept so impossible. 

We lingered in the dark Hall of Planet Earth watching volcanos and earthquakes and shifting tectonic plates.  We studied the giant wall of biodiversity with its myriad trees of specimens of life forms.  We explored the Hall of Ocean Life, the subtle underwater atmosphere soothing as you watch screen after screen of fascinating life in the sea and upon the shore. By then we were image sated, so we had lunch, visited a bookstore, and headed downtown for vegetarian food.

We met our friends Annie and Erin at the Film Forum where we watched Food, Inc.  Please please see it.  Tell everyone about it.  www.foodincmovie.com  “Our nation’s food supply is now controlled by a handful of corporations that often put profit ahead of consumer health, the livelihood of the American farmer, the safety of workers and our own environment.”  It’s so easy to not notice.  To not want to notice.

On Tuesday we arrived at the Metropolitan Museum of Art at opening time.  Emily, who paints and draws herself, revelled in the Francis Bacon exhibit.  I studied (cried, laughed, oogled, sighed, gasped) my way through Pen and Parchment: Drawing in the Middle Ages.  I re-embraced my dream of my Book of Hours texts illustrated with drawings so that the person praying with the texts might color them, add to them, engaging physically with the book’s pages.  How this is EVER going to happen I don’t know, but I leave it to the Spirit with its trickster way of Knowing How and When but not letting on.

We arrived back at the farm to host a Full Moon Fireside, (see www.chssisters.org)  taking a tour of the gardens, talking about Food, Inc. and the issues the film raises, and drumming at the last.  The week since then gave us some sun and fecundity in the vegetable patches, good food, good visits with friends and family, Bible study, work, farmer’s market, and the celebration of St. Benedict.

Brother Bede is here today, our sabbath (day off).  The sun is shining again, and as I write a hen announces she’s laid her egg, a robin sends up a warning from a distant tree, I smell like tansy,  my nails are delightfully dirty after weeding the cottage garden early this morning.   I’m about to finish this blog entry, take a shower, and post the newsletter.   The sisters seem to disappear on their day off, and one sister is at General Convention and another at a novice training conference in Chicago.  Emily is visiting friends in the city.  Bill is puttering around with projects.  Bede and I will go out for Indian food and “talk of holy things” as we say.  At the moment, I’m enjoying an interlude of inhabited silence.

The silence itself fills me with gratitude.  The sun, the robin, the breeze, the sound of puttering downstairs, a gentle note from the windchimes, the thought of one step equals 45 million years and one step between rows of beans, our spring’s imagination, our summer’s wonder, our fall’s harvest, our winter’s meal, seasons of holiness on earth, step by sacred step.

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