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A WGREN Meditation for the Week of February 22, 2009
the seven stars
walk upon a crystal forest
Earth, river, mountain:
snowflakes melt in air.
How could I have doubted?
Where's north? south? east? west?
Come, let's go
Till we're buried.
Three Loveliest Things:
Bloom...Now I Go
Seeking Silent Snow
A WGREN Meditation for the Week of February 15, 2009
Three Thoughts While Walking in a Snowfall
A book in a recent class mentioned
that there were 330 million gods in the Hindu religion.
That is a lot.
There are also a lot of flakes
v in the eight inches of snow on the ground in my village.
Perhaps the number of flakes is of the order of the number of Hindu deities.
Imagine: one snowflake per deity.
Imagine: each flake and each deity unique,
all beautiful in their uniqueness and in their "falling" together.
I wondered if
a mosquito ever hitched a ride
on a snowflake floating on a breeze
before it accepted its gravitational fate.
I wanted to hold a snowflake
closer to see its beauty.
But I knew
that if I picked it up,
its beauty would melt.
I believe this is true
of many other things and beings as well.
How do we best see beauty?
Wayne Albertson, Pastor
Ada First United Methodist Church
A WGREN Meditation for the Week of February 8, 2009
The deep snows of the past month retain crisp tracks across expanses that few have traveled. Harsh winds carry the bitter cold through us all. Bodies made numb and clumsy push heavily through the drifts. As I pause to catch my breath, I see that the tracks I made yesterday are overlaid with the delicate imprints of deer. I have so often followed the deer that I am surprised that they would use the thoroughfare I created. But forage is scarce this winter and every bit of energy conserved sustains precarious life.
The clear and penetrating light of winter exhibits stark truths. This is a season of scarcity. Anxieties mount as the foundations of daily living become more difficult to secure. Blood and small grey feathers litter the snow beyond the base of a large pine. Was this the work of the raptor whose tattered wings I noticed the other day?
The woodland animals and I share a common path. My uneven and halting gate is preserved in ice rimmed snow. The demarcations of a raccoon's toes suggest a clearer purpose and steady balance. We both travel this route through the trees, united by our needs for nourishment and refuge.
Want drives us all. My prayer this winter is that we recognize the vulnerabilities of all species on this precious planet. May each of us take no more than we truly need. May we share the path well and use our intelligence and creativity to preserve habitat for all.Kathleen M. Dixon
A WGREN Meditation for the Week of February 1, 2009
Now that we can travel anywhere,
we need no longer take the poets
and myth-makers for sure witnesses
about disputed facts.
Heraclitus, Fragment 14
translated by Brooks Haxton
We indeed can travel anywhere in the world with an ease that would have appeared miraculous to previous generations. The readers of Jules Verne's "Around the World in Eighty Days," while they knew that they could travel anywhere on earth, found the rapidity of an eighty day trip stretching their imaginations. For us in the twenty-first century every square yard of the Earth's land masses and sea beds seems to be the subject of scientific inquiry. Yet amazingly enough myths about our natural world perdure, even among scientists, the 'disputers of facts.' We can see myths active, for instance, in how Nature is portrayed in our movies and television programs. In naturalist movies of the Fifties, for instance, we can see the myth of Nature as nurturer portrayed lyrically and with great beauty. In current movies the myth of Nature as unrelenting competition seems to be reigning. So deeply have the roots of this myth penetrated the medium that I find myself unable to watch television programs dealing with animals in their natural settings while I'm eating meals or snacks. For no matter how cuddly or beautiful an animal appears in a current scene, I know that within a minute that animal will be shown either eating something repulsive or being eaten with an abundance of gore and/or detached body parts. I have found that, all in all, when I'm eating, I prefer not to watch the same act being performed in the wild.
Why, then, with our ability to explore the world and with an incredible richness of data at our fingertips, do myths about Nature still live on? One reason, I suggest, is that while we can travel anywhere and obtain mountains of facts about anything, we simply don't have the time actually to travel everywhere and to digest all the available information. Our finiteness demands that we be selective. And in the nooks and crannies of our selectivity myth lives and thrives. So the next time you get ready to argue passionately about the environment, take the occasion to step away and observe how you have chosen your "facts" and look to see what that might indicate about the myths you ascribe to. You might discover, that you, too, will have to change your dining habits!
Department of Mathematics
Ohio Northern University