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Brooding Hope – One

Jan 29th, 2017 by Mary | 0

Lady Liberty and Her Daughters

Mary Heron Dyer, January 24, 2017

“A small child,
Hand held by stalwart father,
I tilt my head up, stair upon stair spiraling up –
to my childish eyes –
beyond my sight,

“perhaps beyond the strength of my small legs….
I begin, one step at a time, rising higher and higher.

“Tiring, I hold on more tightly to father’s hand,
still clasped in mine,
until at last, as we near the crown,
he bends to pick me up,
settling me securely on his shoulders.

“At long last, we arrive,
looking through her crown to the city laid out below¸
the harbor’s sparkling waters
drawing generations seeking shelter from life’s storms —
a new beginning,
welcomed to this new world,
uplifted torch lighting their way.

“Now, an Emperor Without Any Clothes
forces a new crown upon his own head,
replacing promises with threats,
tweeting insults far into the night,
building walls that separate,
sowing division and spewing hatred for the other.

“The very stones that led generations upward to the torch of liberty
are now being dismantled –
to be shipped off to build a wall
to keep out those no longer welcomed here.

“I stand here now, an old woman,
at the foot of the stairs that beckoned me upward long ago.
Shoulder to shoulder with millions of others –
young and old, we share our bread.

“Our only “weapons” knitting needles
and yarn the colors of the rainbow,
patterns as yet forming in our heads,
inchoate songs breaking on our lips,
prayers yet taking shape in our hearts.

“Do we have the strength
to climb these stairs again,
perhaps to a new and better place?

“The stairs are high and daunting.

we link our arms,
and with songs rising in our hearts,

we begin.”


Day 1 as Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) clergywoman

Nov 15th, 2015 by Mary | 0

Yesterday, November 13, the Commission on Ministry accepted me as a full-fledged clergywoman in this denomination that has been my church home for ten years. My road (well, “road” is a bit of an exaggeration) was more like an unchartered path, often in the wilderness, often in exile, leading me into and then from communities of faith that were not able to support me in my personal journey seeking to live out the fullness of my call and find the power of my own voice.

Born into the Episcopal faith, I was drawn to the Catholic faith as a freshman in high school. This led me to an MA in scripture and theology, the first woman to graduate from Mt. Angel Seminary, in 1979. I served faithfully for a quarter century, including developing a number of parish programs in the wake of Vatican II, including writing a book, The Pastoral Associate and Lay Pastor, and being a staff writer for “Good News Homily News Service,” where I had to sit in the front row listening to a male priest read the words I had written for his Sunday homily.

Then followed a short stint with the Lutherans until I came out and refused to stay in the closet for the comfort of the people whom I was supposed to serve.

Then followed years in the spiritual wilderness, reconfiguring my family of three children and ex-husband, no longer connected to a church that had both been my home and profession.

This was followed by a stint with Unity, where I was ordained in 2006, but in 2005 I met and fell in love with my spouse, Sheryl, who was on her way to seminary in Berkeley, California, to pursue ordination as a minister in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). I also fell in love with the Disciples, in particular with their radical welcome, open table, and call to ecumenism.

It is no accident, I believe, that the gospel of today (Luke 18:1-8) is that of the widow who kept bringing her case against an intransigent judge, who kept turning down her demand for justice. But love, and tenacity, had the will to win. At last, he gave in and granted her request: “…because this widow keeps bothering me I shall deliver a just decision for her lest she finally come and strike me.”

It has taken me 57 years since my initial call into ministry. Like the widow, I kept trying – again and again – to plead the cause of women, of LGBT folk, of others marginalized — by the color of their skin, the place of their origin, the name of their faith– put in prisons that smashed their hopes and saw them as less as they were called to be.

I hope that I can serve out the rest of my days with the Disciples as my colleagues and friends, where I will continue to see where the path of my own call will lead me. But remember, the judge ended his resistance by declaring he would grant her request so that she would not “come and strike” him.

So, let’s keep on walking, supporting one another to discover the unique path that is the call of each one of us in all of our uniqueness, our flaws, our gifts, and let’s see where we can go – together.


The Miracle of Ordinary Days

Jun 5th, 2010 by Mary | 2

“The Miracle of Ordinary Days”

May 19, 2010

I am a sucker for sentimental movies, Hallmark among my favorites. Today, after a long day’s toil, I positioned myself on the couch, drink in one hand, four dogs cuddling up to me, a purring cat on my lap, fully intending to “veg out” for the evening. After watching all of the prime time shows I was interested in, I turned to those I had saved for future viewing. “Miracle of Ordinary Days” caught my fancy. It is the story of a young woman, who was a graduate student in archeology and dreaming of going to Troy to see the excavations, when a wartime romance ended up with her becoming pregnant out of wedlock. Her father, a minister, shipped her off to a beet farm in the Midwest to enter into a sham marriage with a young farmer who agreed to raise this yet-to-be born child as his own.

Initially the young woman was resistant to this sudden “fall” from her chosen life, ruined by a pregnancy and a father, a military man who refused to claim the child as his own. Gradually, however, the land and the people on it worked their magic on her. She began to learn to appreciate thae “magic” of what was at hand – hundreds of species of butterflies, the friendship of two Japanese women internees who worked the beet farm, a small-town library she sought out to read cookbooks, the archeological “finds” on the farm that yielded up the history of her husband’s forbearers.

Of course, it goes without saying, being a Hallmark movie, she gradually fell in love with the farmer and his family and no longer needed to escape to fulfill her dreams, right there on the edge of the prairie, with a home surrounded by beet fields. Thus the title of the movie, “Miracle of Ordinary Days.”

My own path, while not quite so demanding as dealing with an out-of-wedlock pregnancy during a war, has been similar. Years ago, I was busy, busy, busy with my self-appointed tasks in the larger world. I was a minister with a small yet demanding congregation. I was a student. My days were filled with “matters of importance”: a crisis with a congregant, a research paper due the next week, lively discussions in the seminary dining hall with students and professors from around the world on philosophy, theology, politics, personal sharing.

But now, here I am, on my own version of a beet farm, three acres outside of Glenwood, Iowa, a county seat of less than 6,000, the nearest movie theatre 20 miles away, a truck stop the only 24/7 business. My days are routinely spent with occasional interactions with my spouse, who is mostly on her computer, four small dogs, a cat, a variety of wildlife, most notably the ones attracted by the bird feeder on the front porch, including a couple of resident raccoons.

Today was an “ordinary” day for me. After feeding the dogs and settling them in their outside kennel, I used my new gas-powered weed whip to cut down the knee-high grass leading to the road in front of our house. When tired, I sat under the canopy of trees whose new leaves sheltered me from the drizzle. I watched the rain drops making their way to the ends of branches before dropping silently onto the newly cut grass. I listened to the swishing of tires on the wet pavement from the nearby highway and to the birds trilling from under the cover of their overhead shelters as they good-naturedly waited out the rain. I smelled the freshness of the newly cut grass.

After the sun came out again, I walked my acreage. The black walnut seedling was showing new leaves, the butternut and heartnut, planted months earlier, were in full career reaching to the sky with their pinnate leaves. The pole beans, determined to provide us with early-summer suppers, were poking their heads through the clodded earth. The sugar maple sapling was leafing out, giving me visions of “sugar plums” dancing in my head, or at least the fantasy of making my own maple syrup in a few years. An easterly wind rippled through the still-uncut grasses in a sprightly dance of color and motion that rivaled any artist’s work.

With no time clock to hold my nose to the grindstone or supervisor other than my own internal rhythm, I indulged myself in an afternoon nap. As I lay down, the open windows sent in a breeze that caressed me into deep sleep. On awakening, I constructed a pizza and fresh salad from scratch, using herbs from the front porch, an arm’s length away.

Today I didn’t talk with anyone on the phone. I didn’t leave property. I simply fell into the open arms of the ordinary day that offered itself to me this morning. And it was truly a miracle.


True Riches

May 20th, 2010 by Mary | 0

April 30, 2010      “True Riches”

In 1892, Anton Chekhov wrote a letter to his lover, Lydia Avilov. He said: “Yes, it is nice now in the country, not only nice but positively amazing. It’s real spring, the trees are coming out, it is hot. The nightingales are singing, and the frogs are croaking in all sorts of tones. I haven’t a halfpenny, but the way I look at it is this: the rich man is not he who has plenty of money, but he who has the means to live now in the luxurious surroundings given us by early spring.”

This was a good reminder for me today as we are getting ready to launch the guest house. We put everything we had into the move here, all our savings, borrowing what we didn’t have, running up credit card debt, waiting for the supposedly easy-to-get $8,000 first-time home owners’ rebate (applied October 13, then delays, snafus, more delays) to “seed” what we still need: a mattress, smoke detectors, new silverware and glasses, a coffeemaker. And, of course, all the gardening projects I have cut out for myself: myriads of plants, both edible and ornamental, with my “wish list” growing longer by the day as nursery catalogs stuff the mailbox and nurseries are now flooded with spring plants, waving gaily to me as I drive past, beckoning me to stop and bring them home.

Yesterday I removed three small trees that were dying from the depredations of hungry deer and bag worms, trimmed three rose bushes whose new leaves were poking through the dead oak leaves that served as their winter bed, watered the newly planted fruit orchard, planted a tomato in a hanging basket for the porch. Then, as the wind picked up, signaling the storm to come, I watched it rippling through the grasses, in a sprightly spring dance,

In the evening, I had a homemade meal of tabouli, then sat on the couch with the four dogs and cat, watching TV for both entertainment and tornado updates, then, after tucking them all into bed, sat on the front porch, sheltered from the wind and rain, with the night sky lit up with God’s fireworks.

I expect there will be a bill or two when the mail arrives, probably still minus the $8,000 the federal government still owes us, but I am reminded of the words of Chekhov that began this piece: “I haven’t a halfpenny, but the way I look at it is this: the rich man is not he who has plenty of money, but he who has the means to live now in the luxurious surroundings given us by early spring.”

And, by his measure of wealth, I am truly rich indeed.


After Apple Picking: Earth Day +1

Apr 30th, 2010 by Mary | 0

I got a kick out of an email I got from a friend of mine early this week, adjuring everyone to plant a tree in honor of Earth Day. I wrote back immediately and told her I was celebrating Earth Year on our new piece of paradise. You see, for the first time in my life, I have more land than my farthest imagination. Ever since the record-breaking snows melted from our three acres, I have been out every day almost without exception digging, planting, going to bed with pictures of newly discovered plants dancing in my head. Not even counting the numerous shrubs and vines I have planted, I have also planted almond, hazelnut, black walnut, butternut, heartnut, pecan, apple, pear, peach, plum, cherry, nectarine, apricot, persimmon, all edible. Then there are the two flowering crabapples, flowering pear, redbud.

Then there are those on order: chestnut, hickory, paw paw, mulberry, dogwood, tree wisteria, sugar maple, chinquapin. Then my “wish list,” more dogwood, vine maple, aspen, quince, hawthorne. The list keeps growing as I slowly “colonize” this wild and spectacularly beautiful acreage. It is nothing like what Lewis and Clark did as they blazed a trail to the Pacific northwest, or David Douglas on his horticultural explorations for the London Horticultural Society, but this is my very own land to explore, admire, cultivate, harvest.

It is a strange feeling having so much space. I have always admired those who have been able to “make do” with less, to eke out a living with limited resources. Yet now I stand in awe daily of the abundance this part of my life has brought me and I am still working out its ramifications. On the one hand, there is a “warning” about excess, perhaps most beautifully captured by America’s most iconic poet, Robert Frost, in his poem, “After Apple Picking,” as he reflects on his day of harvesting apples as he tries to fall asleep:

“But I was well

Upon my way to sleep before it fell,

And I could tell

What form my dreaming was about to take.

Magnified apples appear and disappear,

Stem end and blossom end,

And every fleck of russet showing clear.

My instep arch not only keeps the ache,

It keeps the pressure of a ladder-round.

I feel the ladder sway as the boughs bend.

And I keep hearing from the cellar bin

The rumbling sound

Of load on load of apples coming in.

For I have had too much

Of apple-picking: I am overtired

Of the great harvest I myself desired.

On the other side is one of my favorite quotes by Mae West: “Too much of a good thing is just enough.”

Right now my orchard is about two feet, the freshly planted seedlings just beginning to send out tentative leaves, so my own apple (and peach and plum, nectarine, pear, cherry, apricot, mulberry, almond, hazelnut, walnut, butternut, heartnut, chinquapin, chestnut, hickory) harvesting (not counting blueberries, kiwi, grapes, raspberries, blackberries, loganberries, jostaberry, tayberry, gooseberry, currant, elderberry, cranberry, winterberry, lingonberry, paw paw, mulberry, quince . . . ) is at least a couple of years away.

So I stand squarely in the middle of two belief systems — the one handed on to me by my parents and their parents before them urging moderation, preservation; the other by Mae West claiming abundance, no, profligacy, is to be desired and embraced.

On the whole, I think I need to side with Mae West. I can always invite others to share in the abundant harvest that as yet simply resides in my dreams and imagination. A wild turkey already makes his home here, living off the land and the dry corn I put out. Birds will make their nests on the understory bushes I will plant and fill their crops with their berries. Butterflies and bees will cross-pollinate the blooms as they fill themselves with nectar. Friends, family, guests, will reach out and take their breakfast from the land. The extra produce will go to food banks, the senior center. Who knows? Maybe I will set up a fruit stand at the bottom of the driveway and flag down passersby to thrust the “excess” harvest through their car windows.

So, at least for now, before the actual harvest, where there will be real sweat, a real ache in the arch of my foot from the ladder step, I will go to sleep, not with “sugarplums dancing in my head,” but with visions of the myriad berries, vines, shrubs and trees I have been inviting, one by one, into my earthly reality. And I still think that “Too much of a good thing is just enough.”


Our Night Visitor…

Apr 12th, 2010 by Sheryl | 0
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Practical Ressurection

Apr 1st, 2010 by Mary | 1

Yesterday was glorious, a sprightly easterly wind from dawn to dark, trees ready to spring open with their soft green offerings, the bulbs I planted last fall peeking above their leaf-covered beds. Sheryl and I went around the eastern corner of our house to find daffodils planted by one of our forebearers on this land brightly dancing in the breeze. So, we now have our first home-grown bouquet on our living room altar, reminding us yet again of the sheer power of life.

Daffodils on altar

This is Easter week, for those of you who still have Christian roots. We just celebrated the spring equinox last week. Passover is looming for those of the Jewish faith. Two of these three traditions have entered into history as events believers proclaim have changed how generations have lived and died. Today is, for Christians, the annual commemoration of the Last Supper, the last meal Jesus had with his somewhat fickle disciples before the crucifixion the next day and, some say, his resurrection two days later.

Whether or not one ties one’s beliefs onto the coattails of a specific religion with doctrines that sometimes enrich, sometimes exclude and limit, the earth keeps doing its own thing, year in and year out, its rhythms, its magic, its mystery, oblivious to the words humans have invented to decorate their own particular theology or philosophy of life.

So, tonight, on Holy Thursday, I will probably go to church to share this story of faith with others of the Christian tradition, yet I will be spending the daylight hours plotting, a gardener’s version, that is, nothing sinister! Yesterday I measured out the spacing of my dwarf fruit tree garden. I have the list ready to order today: cherries, peach, apricot, plums, pear, apple, quince, pawpaws, persimmons. I have 13 spots already, and need to locate 4 more today. Then there will be the berry vines – blackberries, raspberries, marionberries, gooseberries. Then onto the grapes: muscadine, flame, Delaware, catawba, concord. Then, of course, in honor of my Oregon roots, lots of blueberries! Then bigger dreams of pecans, almonds, hazelnuts, butternut, chestnut, mulberry.

Then on to color spots, such as lilac, crepe myrtle, forsythia, bush cranberry, rhododendron, burning bush, wisteria, hosta, hydrangea, sugar maple, aspen and poplar. And, of course, the raised-bed vegetable garden. I already planted a couple of rhubarb yesterday, and have the lumber for the two asparagus beds ready to be hammered together.

I don’t know who will live on this land after I pass on, but I know that I am not planting just for myself and Sheryl and our numerous grandkids and future guests. I am planting for the future beyond what I can see, what I can myself grasp.

Wendell Berry, one of my favorite American poets, has captured this well in his poem, “The Man Born to Farming”:

“The Grower of Trees, the gardener, the man born to farming,
whose hands reach into the ground and sprout,
to him the soil is a divine drug. He enters into death
yearly, and comes back rejoicing.  He has seen the light lie down
in the dung heap, and rise again in the corn.
 His thought passes along the row ends like a mole.
 What miraculous seed has he swallowed. 
That the unending sentence of his love flows out of his mouth
. Like a vine clinging in the sunlight, and like water
 Descending in the dark?”

So, today, I will heed the call of the earth, a robin, fat and sassy, hopping up a bare tree’s branches, calling me outside right this moment “Hurry! Hurry!” its cry, insistent on this day’s blessings. So, like Wendell Berry, I will practice my faith through the ripple of my muscles, the spring of the soil beneath my feet, the dirt on my hands.

I can hear the grass calling to me. I can hear the poet summoning me.

“Go with your love to the fields. 
Lie down in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts. …

Practice resurrection.”

(Wendell Berry, Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front”)


To Everything There is a Season…

Mar 19th, 2010 by Mary | 0

“To everything there is a season . . . .”

“To everything – turn, turn, turn

There is a season – turn, turn, turn

And a time for every purpose under heaven

A time to be born, a time to die

A time to plant, a time to reap

A time to kill, a time to heal

A time to laugh, a time to weep”

These lyrics by the Byrds, based on the book of Ecclesiastes, written probably two centuries before the birth of Jesus, become more strikingly and vividly true living in the country, where it is hard not to rub noses with nature every day. We managed to move here a few weeks before one of the worst Iowa winters ever recorded. We went over three months without seeing the ground under its cover of snow and frost. The bulbs I planted in the fall still have a foot of ice on them.

A few days from now we will be celebrating the spring equinox, the time when night and day are equally balanced, then night — either gracefully or begrudgingly, but always inexorably – must yield to spring. So, despite the sub-freezing temperatures that still visit us from time to time (last average frost date here in western Iowa is May 15, quite different from the west and northwest!), I optimistically went to the upper level of our hilly property last week to sow wildflower seeds on top of the snow (some gardening experts said this would work and I figured it was worth a gamble to sow $50-dollars’-worth of mixed wildflowers for the birds and butterflies).

I envisioned wildflowers springing up, turning the muddy/slushy/snowy ground into a bouquet of poppies, lupine, black-eyed Susans, coneflowers, bachelor’s buttons, columbine, phlox, nasturtiums, cosmos . . . the list was endless.

So Sheryl’s eldest daughter, Janet, and I, seeds in hand, put on our boots and trudged up the hill. As we neared the field, I noticed pieces of fur scattered in the snow. I assumed a rabbit had made its transition there, perhaps by a feral cat or fox. Then Janet said, “Look out for the deer.” I turned, to confront a deer, who had obviously not died of old age. Its back leg was broken and bent backwards, the hide had been pulled away from the rib cage. I couldn’t even imagine what could have not only brought down a deer but eviscerated it the way it was lying there. Something big. Something wild. Something I did not want to meet face to face. I had seen a couple of Labrador retrievers roaming the property, brothers whose owners let them run free, but they would both scoot off when I so much as raised my voice to them, and I never saw them together. I learned that there are lynx in this county that can fell a deer, even verified sightings of mountain lions in the counties both to the north and south of us. I still don’t know what killed this particular a few yards from our house.

The stark contrast between the yet-to-be-sown wildflower seeds in our hands and the gutted and broken deer brought us both up short. I still haven’t figured out what to do with the carcass, whose rib cage I can see from the window as I write this. We buried a redtail hawk we found in the meadow, but a deer is another matter entirely. So now the deer will become part of the fertile earth that brings forth new life, even its dying being a blessing to what comes after. Life always bursts forth, eager to jump, and shout, and grasp the sweetness of this earthly experience.

In the midst of winter, in the darkness, in the snow, two little sparks of divine life were kindled, Sapphire (named after her one blue eye), and Sutter, her brother, foundlings whom I have been fostering this week.

I volunteer once a week and they were recent additions, found abandoned by a country byway, to fend for themselves. They have brought me much joy this past week, with their tails always wagging, their little yelps, not yet full barks, summoning me to their kisses whenever they hear my voice, their puppy breath on my face as if the breath of God. Not for them the ruminations of life and death, no worries for the future, just this perfect, precious moment. And for today, as one season turns into another, day and night, life and death, equally balanced, it is enough.


Live From The Field

Feb 20th, 2010 by Mary | 0

“Pleasure in the Ordinary” February 20, 2010     OK. So I finally did it. I signed up for email updates from the “Chicken Whisperer.” Daily life on the outskirts of Glenwood, Iowa (pop. Around 5,000) is different from life in the east bay, with San Francisco on the horizon. Talk about leaving the “fast lane” to the “slow lane,” or maybe even the “shoulder.” After all, another 4-6 inches of snow is due tomorrow and we are under a severe weather advisory. Translated that means don’t go anywhere unless you absolutely HAVE to.  So I dashed out this morning to stock up on fresh veggies, get more pet food for the dogs, cat, raccoon, squirrel, rabbit, dozens of wild birds.

Life here is slowed down, stripped down, to the essentials now. Walking out on the snow- and ice-covered driveway to get the mail is the biggest adventure I plan on until the snow abates some time next week. Even the house harbors little traps, magnified by Sheryl’s two-week absence to California. The day she left, I slipped on the utility room floor after coming inside with snow on my shoes. I fell on my wrist and hit my head, so put down another non-slip mat to reduce my chances of another fall. It is possible that the mailman will not venture up the driveway on Tuesday. I am not sure that Sheryl’s son-in-law, who comes out with grandkids to snow blow us to the outside world, will venture the drive to rescue his – what? Mother-in-law? Stepmother? I hope so. After all, Sheryl’s middle daughter is my emergency contact.

  Dog walks have been reduced to my opening the front door and commanding the dogs, “Go pee!”, hoping that they least try to get off the edge of the front porch before they turn the fresh snow yellow.

  My “nature” excursions include looking out the window to see the newly laid tracks of the wildlife that take sanctuary on our property, replenishing the bird feeders, waiting every night for the arrival of Bandit, a new guest. About three or four times as big as our biggest dog, Bandit is a bold, wild raccoon that sits on his haunches in the bird feeder a bit after sunset every night. He carefully picks up the unshelled peanuts one by one, rolling them back and forth between his paws before crunching them open, his incisors giving tacit warning to anyone thinking of him as potential “pet” material. I always wait until he has finished his meal (eschewing the apple core and carrot I added in hopes of augmenting his winter diet) and leaves before I venture to let the dogs out one last time before tucking them in.

  So, today, yet another snow day. I am hunkered down, wearing a new flannel shirt, staring at the starkly outlined tree branches, as yet to be adorned in their spring finery. I have warmth, animal companionship, about 2,000 books I have yet to read, the Olympics to catch up on, lots of food. I can picture in my mind the spring garden just around the corner. My vegetable seeds, wildflower mix, and gladiolas should be here this week, although I have not seen the ground they need to go in for about three months now. The herb garden I planted in clay pots in the kitchen is sprouting though, reminding me that spring truly is coming, despite the snow banks.

  If I get really bored, I can read more about the “Chicken Whisperer,” as I grapple with discerning if my desire to have chickens is a fantasy or a reality not yet actualized. So, go on about your busy, packed, citified ways today, if you can. I will be sitting here, content in winter’s snowy, snug cocoon, learning that my true calling is to be a human “being,” not a human “doing.”


“Four Seasons” blog

Feb 15th, 2010 by Mary | 0

“Four Seasons” sounds like a great idea – for a restaurant, at least. It is fun to shut our eyes and do a roll call of the seasons. Spring, with crocuses and daffodils and pussy willows bursting into full bloom to successfully challenge the muted monotoned palette of winter’s whites and grays. Then summer, redolent of the fragrances of fresh grass being mowed, a juicy watermelon gracing a checkered picnic table in a park by a river. Fall with its multi-colored leaves –red, orange, yellow – swirling around our heads and crunching satisfyingly under our feet, their accumulated piles pulling the conscientious raker into a wild, surprisingly strong desire to leap into them headfirst. Then winter, an iconic picture of children building snowmen and –women on the front lawn, the temptation to reach down and form the snow at one’s feet into a ball and fling it at a tree, or later sipping a cup of hot chocolate while watching the gently falling snow transform the yard into a winter wonderland.  

And then . . . reality strikes. Getting up this morning, I found out that –yet again – a monthly meeting had been cancelled because of the weather. I probably could have guessed when Sheryl and I were driving home from church yesterday and where wind-driven drifting snow literally reduced visibility to close to zero. After letting the dogs out into the snow-covered yard, following them back to their kennel, I slipped because of the ice still clinging to my shoes, landed on my wrist and banged my head into the wall. I took the last ibuprofen last night, so will have to make do until the road into town is safer. No mail today either, so the wildflower seeds I ordered two weeks ago that the sellers claimed could be broadcast on top of the snow will not be here either. The recycling centers in adjoining towns are always open but we are on a winter snow advisory, with frozen roads and occasional white-outs.

  On yet another day where the weather dictates just about everything, I just want to go into overdrive, toughing it out, acting as if winter had no power over me or my daily routines. I’d like to go outside and hammer stakes into the ground to mark where I will dig the holes for my so far just imagined fruit orchard and mark out the perimeters of my raised bed garden and deer and rabbit fence, but the ground underneath the snow, which has kept us from seeing our yard for over three months, is frozen.

  It makes me want to wave a magic wand and forcibly bring about spring. Yet . . . the message, unwelcome so often, says . . . wait. Wait some more. And then, yet again, wait. It reminds me of the famed passage from Ecclesiastes, from the pen of a wisdom writer who lived over two thousand years ago:

  “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
time to be born, and a time to die;

a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted.” (3:1-2)

  So, like it or not, today I have – yet again – a stark choice placed in front of me: to chafe against the weather-constraining limitations overturning what I had planned, or . . . yield the “control” I keep thinking I have over my own life. So. . . what will it be?

  Excuse me. I need to make a cup of chocolate and watch the birds eat their breakfast. How could I have ever thought that couldn’t be enough for this day?