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Showing posts from September, 2014

Stories that Last

To write is to share the truth of your life, of your heart. Now, I don’t mean to be pretentious here.  I’m aware that, while Quaker Pagan Reflections has a certain value, it’s not earth-shaking or transformative.  Neither Peter nor I are a Walt Whitman, a Henry David Thoreau, or even an Ursula LeGuin.  But we do our best to speak our own truths, our own hearts, and on some level, our relative lack of skill is not the point.  We’re trying to be honest–we’re trying to share what is real in our lives. In my life offline, I am a teacher in a small, rural high school.  The kids aren’t perfect (what kids are?) and we don’t have all the resources we need (what public school does?) but we’re a small enough school so that hardly anyone gets lost in a crowd.  I get to know my “kids,” my students.  I get to know their stories–not always, but often. And I get to teach them writing–and, with seniors, I get to guide them through what can be the powerful, personal writing of th

Prayer for Today - by Peter

If I had a prayer that I were going to recite on a daily or weekly basis, what would it say? The question came to me recently when I heard “A Prayer for Today,” written by Phillips Brooks.  He was an Episcopalian theologian in the 19th century, best known for having written “O Little Town of Bethlehem.”  The prayer was sort of a riff on the Lord’s Prayer, and like the Lord’s Prayer, it gave a laundry list of a dozen or so of what the author felt are the most important things in life.  There were parts of it I liked a great deal, other parts less so, and of course it had to conclude “in the name of…our only…” because Christians—even the most liberal of them—seem to feel they cannot honor that one manifestation of the Divine without putting down all the others. But never mind that.  Hearing it got me thinking, if I were to write my own ‘prayer for today’ to bring before the Gods or to hold in the Light, what would I ask? Cat and I have had an occasional practice over th

What Do You Mean, "God," Cat?

I am utterly inconsistent in the spiritual language that I use.  One day, I will write “Spirit.”  Another day, I will write, “God,” or “gods.”  Here’s why: Outside my window, I can hear the forest breathe. It is a hot day–one of the last really hot, humid days of a New England summer.  Thunderstorms are predicted for the afternoon, and they will be fed, in part, by the moisture that the trees–swamp maple, sugar maple, white oak and hemlock–are transpiring into the air above the woods. The forest is breathing, breathing out in a long, deep, sighing exhale, and its breath passes over the and through the tops of the trees. And through my window, I hear the breath of the land. I hear the life of the land. Between the waves of wind that ruffle the leaves, I hear the soft, high music of crickets, singing their death song to the summer.  I hear the hawk perched in the top of a white pine.  I hear a different set of sighing waves, as traffic passes along the road beside m