Saturday, 1 May 2010

4:30 p.m. on a hot Florida day

The outdoors temperature has not been below 71f (22c) since midnight, and it topped out at 95f (35c) in mid afternoon.

There has been a bit of a breeze which mitigated the heat, so I’ve been able to be taken for walks by Penne.  We covered a total of six miles in the five walks we took between 6:15 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.  I also took care to do a bit of early morning gardening (before 7:30 a.m.) to “beat the heat”.

Indoors it has been quite tolerable even without air conditioning.  Yes, I have “central air” but I also try to minimize my use of what is very expensive electricity.  I am “dressed down” to shorts and tee shirt, and have spent most of the day reading.

Soon I’ll have to go out to attend a retirement party for the Revd. Wesley Wasdyke, and his wife Cindy.  Wes has had a long and distinguished career as both a medical doctor and a priest.  He has been a part time paid assistant priest at St. Boniface Church for four years, now he is ready to enter the ranks of the fully retired.  Cindy and Wes are great folks.  They spend their summers in New Hampshire and their winters here.  So we’ll say au revoir tonight and look forward to their return this Fall.

All this is of course small beer.  We humans are but insignificant specks in an infinite universe.   

But we are thinking and feeling specks.  We try to reflect on our own lives and the lives around us.

Much of my reflection today has focused on the ghastly oil well blowout in the Gulf of Mexico. 

I have thought about the 15 men who are missing and presumed dead.  I have thought about their families.  

I am grateful that we have public and government agencies which are being mobilized rapidly to face “Lord knows what”.  

 I am grateful for all those volunteers who are even now “at the ready” in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and the pan-handle coast of Florida.

In my gloomiest moments I envision the Gulf of Mexico as a dying sea, and the tourism based economies of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida going belly up.

Thursday, 29 April 2010

In the midst of life we are in death

Within the last six months two men that I have know and respected have died of complications of Alzheimer’s disease.

Today I learned of a third, who yet lives in that shadowy world which steals memory, and thereby steals identity.

I cannot imagine how it is to live (?) (if it is living) without a sense of my identity. Yet this has happened to my friends Russ and Charles, and is happening to my colleague Ken.

Russ and Charles, now departed from this life were blessed by the heart-breaking fidelity of their wives - Jean and Naoma.

Ken, still amongst the living, is sustained by the faithfulness of his wife Ruth.

I salute, respect and commend the fidelity of Jean, Naoma, and Ruth. “For of such is the Kingdom of heaven”.

Charles left this life just a few days ago. I had a super conversation this afternoon with his wife Naoma. She related that the poem “Crossing the Bar” by Alfred Tennyson had brought her great comfort.

I understand that Tennyson penned these words in the face of his impending death. They make sense in that light.

Sunset and evening star,
And one clear call for me!
And may there be no moaning of the bar,
When I put out to sea,
But such a tide as moving seems asleep,
Too full for sound and foam,
When that which drew from out the boundless deep
Turns again home.
Twilight and evening bell,
And after that the dark!
And may there be no sadness of farewell,
When I embark;
For though from out our bourne of Time and Place
The flood may bear me far,
I hope to see my Pilot face to face
When I have crossed the bar.

Indeed, the Christian hope is that we shall see our Pilot face to face when we have crossed the bar.

Russ and Charles already know that. Ken will know it ere long.

Wednesday, 28 April 2010



I had never heard of DIATOMACEOUS EARTH until a few days ago. 
It was then that I learned that diatomaceous earth, mixed with “borax”, and with boric acid might be an efficacious antidote to the fleas which frequently plague my cool cats – Ada and Adelaide, and my darling dog – Penne.
Randi, a friend from a neighbouring community, having heard of my “flea problem” gave me a recipe for mixing the three products, and for spreading the mix around my home. She assured me that this would take care of the fleas.
I trust Randi.  She has a lifetime’s record of living with dogs, and training them.
I followed Randi’s recipe, and dusted my home with the mix today.  I am keeping my fingers crossed in favour of success since my beasts have been cruelly afflicted by fleas.
I do not expect that you will care very much about my flea problem.
But I wanted to impress you with the word “diatomaceous”.  Look it up and throw it into conversation someday soon!! 
I’ll let you know if it is or is not a flea killer.

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Bi-pedal experts

Many of us suffer from back pain. Maybe this is because evolution prepared us to be quadrupeds, but we decided to be bipeds.

Bipeds are skilled at running marathons, driving cars, and taking beloved canines for a walk. They are also well equipped to handle weapons.

Bipeds are also afflicted with frequent back pain.

That pain is bad enough.

But it is compounded by the slew of advice as to how to deal with it from friends, neighbours, work-mates and casual acquaintances.

All of a sudden these folks become experts regarding back pain.

In case you are wondering ... ... my back is fine!

But I am utterly jaded and cynical with regard to all manner of “experts” whose wisdom is touted in the press, on radio and T.V. and on the World Wide Web.

Monday, 26 April 2010

Michael Vono: Bishop-elect of the Diocese of the Rio Grande

“Almighty God, to you all hearts are open, all desires known, and from you no secrets are hid....”
Thus begins a prayer which has been prayed at the beginning of hundreds of thousands of Anglican Eucharists since 1549.
For many of us it is a prayer of re-connection.  To hear it is to remind us of who we are and what we are about to do in Church. 
The very familiarity of this prayer shifts  hearts, souls and minds to the Eucharist (Holy Communion) as a place of connection with the Holy One; with the whole creation; and with each other.
In 1549 it might have been possible to believe that G-d alone was the One from whom no secrets could be heard.
In 2010 we know that every word we have uttered in the public forum can or will be exposed on the internet.  Those of us who write for blogs; or newspapers; or church newsletters; or Facebook etc. will be exposed, circulated, and critiqued in and by “the whole world”.
To use the internet means that there are no more secrets to be hid.
The Revd. Dr. Michael L. Vono, a dear and trusted friend of mine was last Saturday elected to be the Bishop of the Rio Grande (New Mexico and a bit of Texas, U.S.A.)   Already his every published word is being circulated and critiqued -  see
‘Tis all very well and good I suppose, since the episcopalcafe is in the business of cyber journalism.
But what the episcopalcafe cannot convey is that Michael is a loving and capable priest; a devoted disciple of Jesus Christ; and a dear friend to me - and many others.
I would trust him with my secrets! 

Sunday, 25 April 2010

It truly is as simple as this.

In his April 18th 2010 sermon at St. John’s Church, Williamstown, the Revd. Peter Elvin said this:

“And I have one more thing to say about Chloe, hoping it will give you a sense of the young woman I have been coming to know, and expecting that this may help pave the way for her later in this service. I met with her on Wednesday, to walk through the rite of baptism, and when we came to a moment when the Prayer Book directs me to ask her, “Do you desire to be baptized?” I found I had an urge (I resisted it at first, but decided to trust it) to follow her affirmative answer with another question: “Why?” When I shared that fragment of fantasy with her, she pretty much replied, “Okay.” And so, at the time when announcements usually happen, Chloe will tell us why.”

Chloe,who is  a 22 year old Williams College senior said this at the announcement time, in response to the question “Why (do you wish to be baptised)?

“When you wake up one morning and are aware of divine love, and know that it has always been there, what else is there to do?”

It truly is as simple as that!

(Chloe - who is awesomely cool - verified the accuracy of my scribbling down of her words, and gave me permission to use them in this blog)