Category Archives: nature

My butterfly moment

…if we no longer call out to the moon slipping between the clouds, or whisper to the spider setting the silken struts of her web, well, then the numerous powers of this world will no longer address us – and if they still try, we will not likely hear them. – David Abram, from Becoming Animal

I had a powerful experience of this the other day…  I was walking into woods, and chanced upon a butterfly resting by the side of the trail.  I paused to greet it, as I try to do on such occasions; it regarded me for a few moments, then flew up around my head and fluttered down the trail before settling down some distance away.  As I caught up, the performance was repeated – my companion swooped and glided* before me and on ahead again, only to come to rest as before until I came alongside again.

We proceeded in this way for a full three minutes or more, until the way opened into a clearing; here the butterfly alighted on a branch at the edge of the trail, obviously intending to go no farther.  I thanked it sincerely for keeping me company through the darkest part of the woods; it sat with me for a minute in companionable stillness before fluttering  between the branches, and so away.


*I do mean “glided”, like a hawk riding a thermal – if it had not been so near the ground I would be tempted to say it soared…


Healing for the Gulf – an invitation

First thing Thursday morning I’m headed down to Naples, FL for my dad’s memorial service; the city is on the Gulf coast, but hundreds of miles away from the oil-spill. I’ve been trying to think of something suitable that’s disaster-related to do while I’m down there – beyond trying to drive less (ironically) and donating to groups working on the cleanup, that is – and the only thing I’ve thought of so far is to bring prayers and healing energy.

So, that’s what I’m going to do – my current plan is to be on the shore between 10-11 PM (Eastern) on Friday night, offering said prayers and energy to the gods and spirits of the Gulf area and specifically petitioning Poseidon to give Them His aid. I invite anyone who wants to participate in making this a group healing to jump in during this hour and send your own energy; or, if you have a prayer you would like me to carry, you can post it here or use the Contact form above.

If this strikes you as a worthwhile endeavor, please feel free to spread the word!

Resident Aliens

This is the title of a recent sermon at a Presbyterian church that I pass every day on the way to work, as advertised on their signboard. Having been raised a “preacher’s kid” in a fairly conservative Christian environment, and seeing so many familiar topics in the sermon titles at this particular church, I suspect that I could write that minister’s sermon myself almost word for word. Dollars to doughnuts he talked about how we humans (or at least Christians) are “in the world but not of it”, and how we don’t really belong here, how our “real” home is with God in Heaven (but only if we believe in Jesus).

I don’t normally pay a lot of attention to the sermon topics there – like I said, it’s all so familiar – but for some reason, at this time and in this season this particular topic has stuck in my head… both the familiarity of it, and the realization that there is no longer even a tiny residual corner of my psyche that’s wondering “what if they’re right?”; the whole theology behind it seems so – well, alien – to me now. It’s so obvious to me that we are a part of whatever is, and that our true home is right here… and if we don’t start acting like it, the whole house will eventually collapse around us.

And on that note, I’m going offline for a few days – see you next weekend!

Comes the fall

We’re getting our first taste of fall here in NC; there will be more warm weather to come before November, but right now we’re rejoicing in lows of 50 and highs of 75… I’m drying tons of apples, and roasted my first set of spaghetti squash seeds last night. Of all the seasons, this is my favorite – the season of open windows and early sunsets; the season of coziness, of blankets and semi-detached cats.

A wonderful moment

As I mentioned a little while back, I’m singing at a synagogue again – a small nondenominational congregation, very different from the big Reform shul where I sang for years (not necessarily better, but definitely funkier! :).

So we started off the Rosh Hashanah morning service with a sung blessing, and as soon as we stopped singing we heard a very loud bird singing right outside the door… and everything stopped, and we all listened to the bird for a couple of minutes until it flew away, and then we went on. It set the tone for the whole morning, at least for me – and it made me notice (again) how much of Jewish spiritual language and imagery reflects and assumes an intimate relationship with the natural world.