An Autumn Blessing

Soul Gatherings

An Autumn Blessing
Joyce Rupp & Macrina Wiederkehr

Blessed are you, autumn,
chalice of transformation,
you lift a cup of death to our lips
and we taste new life.

Blessed are you, autumn,
season of the heart’s yearning,
you usher us into places of mystery
and, like the leaves, we fall trustingly
into eternal, unseen hands.

Blessed are you, autumn,
with your flair for drama
you call to the poet in our hearts,
“return to the earth, become good soil;
wait for new seeds.”

Blessed are you, autumn,
you turn our faces toward the west.
Prayerfully reflecting on life’s transitory nature
we sense all things moving toward life-giving death.

Blessed are you, autumn,
you draw us away from summer’s hot breath.
As your air becomes frosty and cool
you lead us to inner reflection.

Blessed are you, autumn,
season of so much bounty.
You invite us to imitate your generosity

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Music’s Mystery

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I’ve heard it said that only human beings have been given the gift of music; that only people create songs, sing and serenade their souls with this most magical and uplifting form of communication and communion. Yet, should we not consider the song of the lark? The haunting ballads of the whales? The mournful call of the wolf? The robin’s lyrical laugh at dawn and dusk? The crickets that serenade the nighttide? The burbles of monkeys swaying in the trees? The laughing of the hyena?

Who is to say that in their melodic tunes, caterwauls, howls, wails, and other worldly vocalizations there is not some measure of music. Why should we be the only ones to sing praise, to croon our love, and to bewail our distress? How can we know, in truth, in honesty, that the deliberate scree of the hawk, the piercing bugle of the elk, the chattering of raccoon and ferret, and the murmurings of infrasonic elephant calls is not music to their ears?

Music is a form of communication that lifts the soul, expresses emotion, and brings one being into contact with another being. If this is, indeed, the definition of music (of which it is a form) then can that being not be one other than human? Does not one wolf join another when it sings? Does not the whale song change season to season and year to year, picked up by another whale to be carried on? Does not one roaring lion inspire the entire pride by its lusty cry?

Consider what the morning would sound like without the sweet music of the birds. Contemplate what the summer night might be when not a single chirrup, trill, drone or buzz lilted through the air. Ponder how deep and lonely the oceans would be without the drifting, breathtaking songs of the whales. Can you even imagine a mountain landscape without hearing the echoing howl of a wolf or the bubbling laugh of the loon?

If these sounds, that can captivate us and uplift our thoughts, our hearts and even our souls, are not music and do not do the same for all those who hear them, regardless of race, than perhaps, we must follow that course of logic and say that cave paintings are not art, tap is not dance, improvisation is not acting and free verse is not poetry.

Or perhaps, Music Teaches the Soul what the Heart Feels and Guides the Heart with what only the Soul can Truly Know.

Music’s Mystery is by Morgan at:  http://booknvolume.com

Rambling Thoughts

This is a reblog from Annette’s Garden at: http://wp.me/p32RMi-cI

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In autumn, when the trees cry colourful leaves and the vibrant spirit of summer is only a memory, thoughts go on a ramble. Time for reflection and contemplation. A damp, heavy quietness settles on the garden. The work is done, we can sit back and watch. When I plant bulbs in the autumn, and there seem to be more and more each year, I always wonder how many more springtimes I will live to see. I don’t ask as a result of depression (I’m not a child of sadness!), but because I think of these bulbs that fill me with such happiness. First when I’m planting then later, when in the comfort of my armchair in front of the fire -longing in my eyes- they fill my head with fields of colour and scent and carry me through the season which I never came to love, although it has its beauty too. It must be the bulbs that fill me with wantonness and unreasonable hope. The expression “to be happy like a child” comes to my mind but kids are not happy and innocent like they used to be. If you’re faced with the first murder during breakfast and with Jingle Bells and plastic Santas climbing ridiculously into chimneys from September onwards how could you possibly hold on to that pure and carefree joy? As for myself, I find lots of happiness in the little treasures and secrets nature and garden hold for me. All the same, there’s something morbid about this question, and I admit that I never ask myself at other times of the year. How many summers or autumns will I live to see? No way. But maybe the reason for planting these crazy amounts of promising bulbs and corms lies in my hidden wish that the older I get the more spectacular spring ought to be. Recently I read a quote by Henry David Thoreau which follows me ever since: The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. Thoreau said this in the 19th century but it is still true. The reason for this lies in the continuous remoteness and alienation from nature which in its most dramatic case leads to people perceiving nature as an enemy or danger. Pristine nature has become rare and if it’s really wild, we meet it with fear and suspicion. Seeing and hearing have also become rare skills. We’re constantly exposed to noise, being lulled and deadened. Even the news are hammered into us to the sound of percussions so that there’s no risk of us coming to our senses or to be bored. Tranquility is out. A friend of mine told me about a visitor from Canada who switched on a tape each night at bedtime: She couldn’t bear the quiet, only with the constant noise was she able to sleep. Cathy at http://wordsandherbs.wordpress.com/ did a great post dealing with the subject of hearing a while ago, and I hope she will share the link once she reads this. To hear and I mean TO HEAR is by no means taken for granted anymore. There’s so much to hear when you listen to supposed quiet. Have you ever tried? The silence that makes you feel like you’re deaf has become rare. Where I live, in the middle of the woods, it can still happen. It descends like a comfortable blanket. No fear, no panic just peace. Some shake their heads asking how can you possibly live here? We shake our heads knowing that every explanation would fall into nothingness. The general rush and fear of missing out on something are so widespread that many cannot understand how satisfying it is to fill the basket with firewood to heat the house, to collect eggs from your hens and to tend the garden. To hear nothing and to work in the garden are today’s last luxuries. During our hikes we sometimes meet extreme mountainbikers rushing down steep slopes with fierce expression, or cool guys on rattling motorbikes, modern Marlborough-Cowboys. None of them knows the intriguing scents and sounds of the forest, sees the pink mushroom in the undergrowth, the tree creeper searching the bark for insects or hears the melancholic song of the robin. Kids don’t know anymore that milk comes from cows. A vegetarian friend of mine suggested recently that one could keep milking cows without letting them have calves. Once I watched children beating newly planted fruit trees with sticks until the bark had come off while their mother watched them proudly. Great to see kids fulfilling themselves. Nature is retreating more and more and can only be found where access is hard or impossible or where there’s nothing to exploit. Would we ask men their definition of nature – what would the answer be? I fear the answer a lot more than visitors the solitude of my wood. Why should men protect something they’re not aware of and don’t see, never mind appreciate? When man moves away from nature, he loses his roots, becomes depressed and unhappy. I could never be without my garden and nature, my sanity depends on them. I draw energy, courage and meaning out of them. Okay, some things don’t work out in the garden but I’m never disappointed and depressed. Still nothing fills me with more hope and optimism. A life of quiet desperation? That’ll never be an issue for someone who hasn’t lost touch with his/her roots.