For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh, a time to mourn, and a time to dance, a time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to throw away; a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace.
School schedules, sports schedules, music and dance lessons, scouts and faith fomration classes and family trips to the apple orchard have settled most of us into a routine as October begins. Here at MV, there have been a few bumps in the routine since we added the two newcomers, two Icelandic sheep, Macrina and Midnight, to our menagerie. Two of our granddaughters also picked up their new puppy, Vail. Babies, whether humans or animals, are such a delight and demonstrate that we still believe that our world is still such a beautiful place to be.
Macrina and Midnight settled in right away, and since we gave them a yard and shed all their own right next to the goats, they must think they are in heaven. We can't really put collars on them since it would mat down their beautiful wool they are growing (check with us next month to see how we make out with the shearing!), but we discovered they will eat grain right out of our hands and follow us just about anywhere if we have grain with us. The goats on the other hand, just sort of looked at them when they arrived, and more or less asked, "OK, what are these?!! They don't exactly look like us!!" Our nieghbor's grandson, Gilbert, who is not quite a year old yet, came to visit the other day and it was love at first sight!
Jeremiah and Sophie also seemed to size them up the first day with a few questioning glances, and Sophie has been her usual self still going out every night on her nighttime patroling excursions. When the sheep arrived, she hopped over the livestock fences to check things out up close and personal. Macrina and Midnight had a similar guard dog where they were before, so they pretty much ignored her. The dogs just seem to be taking them in stride . . . "these must be the new kids on the block . . . funny looking kids though!"
A few days ago, we opened up all the gates, letting the sheep and goats mix. Again, it appeared that the sheep thought they had died and went to heaven. . . they now had three large yards to explore and much more grass to munch. They are kind of funny to watch, since they never go far from the other one, and almost walk or run as if they were attaached at the hip. There have been a few head bumps betweeen them and the goats, but for the most part, everyone is sharing and being good so far.
Our granddaughters don't live with us, but ar eabout 45 minutes away, and last week they came down our way to pick up their new puppy, Vail. Since they were i the neighborhood, they had to stoop by and show her off! Very cute! 45 minutes is not a long ride, but for a new puppy, who has never been in a car before . . . you guessed it . . . first she threw up all over Mary, our daughter, when she just stopped the car to pick up some Lysol wipes for puppy accidents, and then after she cleaned up and went back to driivng, Vail threw up all over Gretchen, our 8-year old granddaughter, before htey got home. Once at her new home, however, Vail was a perfectly happy littel pup, romping and running all over the yard in her hew home. She is good as gold now and is currently being spoiled, esp. by two young girls who want tolay as much as she does.
Pope Franics, in his Laudato Si letter, ahs told us we are all connected, and if animls and children are any indication, he was "right-on"! To ensure those connections are blessings for all of us, we may need to pay more attention to our planet and our "Common Home" as he calls it, to see how we can continue to hang out those "home, sweet home" signs for the next generations. check out this week's LS column with section 2 of the document. The first week's suggestion, even though it sounded pretty innocent . . . "let's check to see if we are all recycling in our homes" may have rocked a few boats. . . will tell you more later next week!
Blog September 1, 2016
As we enter into the Meteorologists’ autumn (September, October and November) and head into Labor Day weekend, students and teachers have started back to school, and eyes on are approaching tropical storms coming up the east coast. Summer is just about over, but the beauty of another season is beginning to unfold. Even with the possible storms, soon there will be glorious colored leaves falling from the trees and a panorama of God’s creation will begin to unfold. Families will go apple picking and cranberries will be harvested here in New England, and there will be many a child going off to the pumpkin patch to see if they can find a big pumpkin that may be carved into the perfect jack-o-lantern and a few smaller ones that may make it into pies and breads and scones.
September 1st also marks another observance. Pope Francis reminded us today that in 2007, the Third Ecumenical Assembly in Sibiu proposed celebrating a “Time for Creation” or a five week period starting today, September 1st (the Orthodox commemoration of the beginning of God’s creation) to October 4th, the feast of St. Francis Assisi, a feast in the Catholic Church and some Western traditions. The World Council of Churches also supports this initiative. It is a call to work together for environmental justice, or to roll up our sleeves and start taking better care of our planet. In lieu of that, Pope Francis has directed today that care for our planet now be ranked among the corporal and spiritual works of mercy, especially in this Year of Mercy.
Last year, Pope Francis penned his encyclical, Laudato Si, on caring for our common home, and while encyclicals are usually addressed to Catholics, this one went a bit beyond that readership. He implored not only all faiths, or all men and women of good will, but everyone living on this planet. Such is the dire need to address the plight of our living space and our Common Home. His entire message on this "World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation" is found at this link:
At Mystical Ventures, a site dedicated to sustainable living and caring for the earth, alongside our Catholic principles, we decided that this year would be a good year to unpack the teachings of Laudato Si, and see how they might apply to us living in rural New England. The Pope in his message approaches the problem in true Ignatian format with an examen of sorts. Caring for the planet first of all calls for prayers of gratitude and contemplation. Our planet is a gift. But we have sinned against it. We have not cared for it as we should. We need to examine our consciences to see what we have done not only to harm the various biosystems, but the poor and future generations who also depend on this earth.
Acknowledging our sins should lead us to repentance, Confession and a firm purpose of amendment to do better, to try harder. The pope gives us concrete examples of what we can do from not consuming more than we need, to turning off light bulbs, or curtailing our use of plastics. In our area of the country, especially since it is semi-rural and many use the land in various ways, we should be able to come up with multiple ways in which we can care for the earth as an old Indian proverb has said:
"to the seventh generation . . . In every deliberation, we must consider the impact on the seventh generation . . . even if it requires having skin as thick as the bark of a pine."
This is an often repeated saying, and most who use it claim that it comes from “The Constitution of the Iroquois Nations," or the The Great Binding Law.