Thursday, October 19, 2017

An Indelible Memory


She wrapped silence around her like a shield. Sitting on the shadowed side of the meditation hall, she seemed to glow with concentration. I could not help but notice her, her pale denim clothes and long white hair, which was tied near her skull with a thin red ribbon. 

Two Tewa elders had been invited to open the meditation retreat entitled “In the Arms of Mother Earth.” They stood on their ancestral lands welcoming those who came to celebrate the planet and focus on ways to protect it. We were in accord. 

She seemed to pay particular attention to the elders, both apparently younger than she, both wearing simple dresses with colorful traditional patterns. 

Three days later, she was back as the two elders spoke their closing blessing then invited participants to come forward and take an item from the ‘give away’ table. 

That’s when she sang. Before any of us moved forward, she leaned back in her chair and sang. The song, in the Tewa language, reached every person in the hall. It reverberated in my soul. Although I could not understand the language, I understood the meaning. It was a hymn to the sacred planet, so beautiful it brought tears to my eyes. 

The item I took from the table was a small round of glazed clay inscribed with the words, “I am Blessed.” As I walked from the hall, one of the elders used a large feather to anoint me with drops of water. Looking up I saw the singer standing nearby and was able to thank her and shake her hand. 

I was blessed indeed.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

A Rainbow Celebration

🌈Sunday, Oct. 15, my congregation celebrated the fact that we had earned the official designation, “Welcoming Congregation” from the Association of Unitarian Universalists. 

That means ours is a congregation in which people can feel welcome, whatever their sexual orientation. Even if they are ‘straight.’ So lesbians, gays, bi-sexuals, queers, transgenders or indecisive know that they will be treated with respect. 

That’s a big deal. It has taken us a long time – three years – to earn the designation. There were sermons and seminars and workshops and films and books that introduced those of us largely unaware of the varieties of physical attachments to the variety of sexual identities. 

 Some of our members wearied of the effort. Why were we focusing so much attention on one sector of the general population when so much else, so many others, have so many, urgent needs. 

I have figured out why. I am, as I recall (it has been a very long time since this fact was of interest to anyone) a straight, heterosexual woman. Although I had no particular problem with gays or lesbians, I had no real understanding of the lives and struggles of gays and lesbians and bi-sexuals and transgender people. I understood in theory. Not in practice. Now my eyes and mind and heart are open. I no longer see the label. I see the person. 

That’s significant. There are all kinds of labels – sexual, racial, political, religious, economic, national, etc. Once we have learned to see the individuals behind the labels, we can begin to learn from each other. And there might even be hope for us all.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Fried Green Tomatoes

 My tomato plant died Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2017.

 Every day this summer I had faithfully watered it. It had little yellow flowers that, eventually, yielded two red ping pong ball-sized tomatoes. And lots of green globes.



When the frost warning came, I took a bucket out and picked a dozen green tomatoes. Now what? I couldn’t just throw them in the garbage. Not after months of careful tending. I decided to fry them. I had liked the movie but had never tasted fried green tomatoes.

 It wasn’t hard (but it was messy). [You slice the tomatoes, then dip the slices in flour, then in egg/milk, then in breadcrumbs or cornmeal seasoned with salt and pepper. Then fry.] And I liked them [my taste may have been skewed by the memory of  summer.]

Things die. But something new always seems to emerge. And it can be beautiful.



Or delicious.