Now, where did I leave that?

Monday, September 19, 2011

Acts of Faith

When I was ten years old, my mother decided to convert to Catholicism, and I was apparently of an age where I too had to go through indoctrination classes to get up to speed.  When all was said and done, one of the prayers I was expected to know and recite was the Act of Faith. Throughout my remaining 5 1/2 years as a practicing--and devout--Catholic, that prayer was a cornerstone for me. It summed up what I believed, what the church said my faith was all about.  Faith and Catholicism in a nutshell.
Fast forward many years...sometimes I balk at the word 'faith' in a spiritual connotation.  I don't rely on faith to light my spiritual path.  I 'know' there's a Divine Energy in everyone's life.  The face, the name, our awareness of 'It', all change color, shape and texture the way a kaleidoscope's innards change, and while 'It' is a 'She' to me, that doesn't make someone else's experience less valid.  When I say a prayer, when I talk to Her, it's not an act of faith, which implies a certain leap, a risk, the possibility there's no net. For me, it's as real as the keyboard I'm typing on. I 'know' there's a net.
But this morning, driving to work on a fog-shrouded bridge, the phrase act of faith wouldn't leave my mind. There I was on a metal structure, unable to see the water beneath, sky above, or either shore.  All things were shades of gray, and I was trusting I'd emerge onto a road, see trees and fields, encounter the same familiar scenery I've passed a few thousand times before.  And it made me ponder other acts of faith great and small: whispering "I love you" for the first--or thousandth--time; having children; saying "I'm sorry"; holding our mother's hand; adopting a shelter animal; planting a pumpkin seed; buying pants without trying them on; getting out of bed; making a friend; forgiving; telling a secret; making love; helping a stranger; putting away the snowblower for the season; flying a kite....
Life is an act of faith; will you tell me some of YOUR acts of faith?

Friday, September 16, 2011

Calendars and Reality

Here's the thing...once upon a time there were no calendars, and no scientists to tell us when the exact moment of Fall would breathe its first and last breath. There probably wasn't even a word for it.  Just a moment when everyone stopped hunting and gathering and clubbing each other and being chased by saber-toothed tigers to stand still, sniff the air and realize something was changing.  Today is like that. 

Yep, Fall is officially still a week away, but the calendar is a lie...or, to be kinder, a guideline.  Look at that that not an October blue?  The light has a golden, crystalline quality to it.  Wild turkeys, squirrels, mice and chipmunks rush about in greater numbers than just two weeks ago, and the deer are raiding the pear tree and grazing openly at dawn and twilight. 

Whether it's the concord grapes, the already abundant apples and newly appearing winter squashes, or the need to light a fire or snuggle more deeply under the extra blanket, denial won't change that Fall is here.  Oh, we'll get warm again, may even have to run the air conditioner off and on these next few weeks.  Tomatoes and green beans may share space with those grapes, and the October blue will disappear in humid haze for awhile.  But reality has spoken.  Use that calendar to record soccer practice and vet appointments, birthdays and anniversaries, but use your five senses to know the season.  Listen to the dry leaves whispering and shushing; admire the blaze of crimson poison ivy (from afar); savor the tart sweetness of the season's fruits--a true metaphor for the giddy sadness that so often accompanies Fall; breathe in the scent of woodsmoke from the first fires and the spices of hot soups and applesauce; feel the crunch of leaves and silken softeness of milkweed on its farewell journey.  You know it's Fall, deep in your soul...for some of us, it's a gift; for others, well...take heart; the Wheel keeps turning and Summer will be back...I promise.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Party's Over, Folks!

It's happened.  Each year there is that moment when Summer looks around with bleary eyes and says, "That's it for me; it's been a great party, but I need to go home and get some sleep." It isn't that Fall is here, it's a fading of leaves, weeds gone to seed, a slant and color to the light that shows the smudged mascara, tangled hair and wrinkled clothes of a party girl who has had too much. But this year it seems too soon.  Did Hurricane Irene (which was a tropical storm when it reached us) kick Summer in the arse even while wreaking such havoc and destruction just a few miles from us? Certainly Irene tore even green leaves from the trees, leaving them far too underdressed for this time of year. Anyone who knows me knows that I love Fall, and have little fondness for Summer.  But this year the energy feels's not time yet.  Mama Nature has aged; she's creaky, and wrinkled, too tired to get up and face another day.  Perhaps she's feeling guilty about the hundreds of homes she destroyed, the lives taken by that cataclysmic tempest in a teapot of mountain villages.

Or hey, maybe it's just that too much rain and wind has simply left the trees stressed.  Maybe the little gray cloud that's been haunting me of late is oozing into how I interpret the energy of this seasonal cusp.  It just seems as though the clock is racing, calendar pages keep flipping, apples are in season before the tomatoes ever reached their prime, and we're all in a race whose finish line seems obscure, here one moment, miles away the next....