Our adventures this past week led us on a circuitous journey of sorts. While there were a number of stellar moments and others not so much, we had some trouble figuring out what it all meant. As we took our walk tonight and reflected on the events, sights, and lessons of the week, we realized the connection and thought we’d share it in our post this week.
“In nature we never see anything isolated but everything in connection with something else which is before it, beside it, under it, and over it.” -Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe
Theme of the Week: Let the Light of Life Speak
Our theme of the week is actually two-fold, containing an aspect of light and life. It started with our reflection readings Sunday morning and continued on through that day in the form of Sunday mass. Our reflection reading was a recollection of a fire at a summer camp. At one point, one of the camp counselors removed a log from the fire. The log that was removed soon lost its flame while the other logs in the fire still burned. One of the people around the fire remarked that we need each other so that we can burn bright. The log was returned to the fire and soon burned bright again with the other logs.
At church, we sang two of my favorite hymns, both of which speak of light and life. This tied into the readings for the mass, which spoke of being a light to and for others. It is in this light that we come to know life itself, along with love (which of course is on many people’s minds this week since Valentine’s Day is February 14).
One of the songs we sang I had learned years ago as a young girl. We used to sing this song often in my church, but in recent years on a less frequent basis. Given that I am currently attending a different church and trying to find a comfort zone in this new arrangement, anything familiar is most welcome to me. In a sense, I feel like the log out of the fire in my new surroundings. However, if I interact along with others in attendance, I feel as if I am part of the light of faith burning among the congregation.
One thing I have found comforting in this new to me place of worship is songs and hymns from my childhood. This particular song brought back memories of being a little girl trying to figure out what church was all about.
Sent Forth By God’s Blessing
Sent forth by God’s blessing
Our true faith confessing,
The people of God from His dwelling take leave.
The Supper is ended.
O now be extended
The fruits of this service in all who believe.
The seed of His teaching
Receptive souls reaching
Shall blossom in action for God and for all.
His grace did invite us,
His love shall unite us
To work for God’s kingdom and answer His call.
With praise and thanksgiving
To God ever-living
The tasks of our everyday life we will face.
Our faith ever sharing,
In love ever caring,
Embracing His children of each tribe and race.
With Your feast You feed us,
With Your light now lead us;
Unite us as one in this life that we share.
Then may all the living
With praise and thanksgiving
Give honor to Christ and His name that we bear.
(Written by Omer Westendorf)
The words to the song remind us we are part of a greater light. This light in turn unites us in life, allowing us to get through life.
” Life loves the liver of it.” -Maya Angelou
Treat of the Week: Quack Back!
Our treat of the week came in the form of two mallard ducks swimming on a neighbor’s pond. The pair of ducks was the first pair I had seen this year. The male and female swam gracefully about the pond, which was very high with water from recent rain and snow showers. Seeing the pair reminded me of last spring when two pair of mallards and one pair of geese shared the same pond for most of the spring. The mallards last year had ducklings that kept each pair of parents quite busy. The pair of geese made a great fuss over a nest last spring, but I never saw any goslings, which made me wonder what happened.
Reflecting back on these pairs of ducks and geese from last year made me wonder what life the pond would support this year. The new pair of mallards seem to be mates, which leaves the potential for a possible nest once spring arrives and conditions are deemed more favorable by nature. Mallard pairs are typically monogamous, but paired males may pursue females other than their mates. This condition of extra pair copulations can result in several different males chasing a single female. This fact may also be a contributing factor to the mallard being an ancestor of nearly all domestic duck breeds.
Mallard mating takes place in the fall, but courtship can take place all winter, which may explain the sights I have seen this week on the pond. Only the female incubates the eggs and takes care of the ducklings, unlike some other bird species where the males help with incubation and care of the young. The quacking heard is that of the female mallard. The male mallard makes a rasping noise that is typically quieter than the quacking of the female.
Both male and female mallards have the ability to leap into flight at a moment’s notice and can often appear to hang in air for some time before flying toward a destination. I witnessed this physical prowess tonight when both the male and female suddenly took off from the pond. They hung about ten feet from the water’s edge for a few moments before taking off toward another neighboring pond.
The sight of the mallards reminds me that spring is indeed coming, though the predicted weather forecast begs to differ. Like the logs in the fire in the reflection reading, the mallards are part of the fire of life. Their presence acts as a message to help spread the light of the coming spring season.
“Love always creates, it never destroys. In this lies man’s only promise.”- Leo Buscaglia
Note of the Week: Returning Light Beams
Speaking of light and the coming spring season, this week offered us a marked change in the amount of daylight (albeit the cloudy days made for some less than good examples). Sunrise is now at 7:18 AM with the sun positioned slightly to the south east. The sun will be positioned due east at sunrise in about a month when the vernal equinox arrives.
Sunset is now at 5:53 PM, over an hour later than the earliest sunset can be in our area. The position of the sun is slightly to the south west. The sun will continue to move more toward the west each day until setting due west on the day of the vernal equinox.
Even when hidden to some extent by the clouds, the additional daylight has been most helpful to our household. From getting more of our activities done outdoors to feeling in better moods, the sunlight has provided both a literal and figurative light to our fire.
“To learn to read is to light a fire; every syllable that is spelled out is a spark.” -Victor Hugo
Gift of the Week: Early Valentine to Thee
Our gift of the week came in the sunrise on Wednesday. After three cloudy sunrises, it was a most welcome sight to see a clear sunrise on Wednesday this week. The sunrise reminded me of a long ago experience. I remember it vividly, for I was a teenager lamenting not having someone special in my life to be a Valentine. Feeling very down one morning, I looked out the window so see a glorious sunrise. It was at that moment that I realized God could be my Valentine and I could be His.
Ever since that day, God and nature have managed to give me a “Valentine in the sky” in either a wonderful sunrise or sunset on or before Valentine’s Day. It is in this light that love and life flow to me and on to others. We are all part of the light whether we realize it or not. We are all part of life, and even if we don’t think we have a love in our life, in reality, we do have a remarkable love in God.
May we come to see and be a part in the light that helps give life to others. May this light lead us to better understanding, and may this understanding allow us to continue growing in our role within life’s weave.
From morning sun to night sky,
Dewdrops that come along for the ride,
Glistening and gleaming in the beams
Until the water evaporates like steam
Fading into the atmosphere to return again
When the dark draws near and the mist sets in
With the moon and stars to light the tapestry
Made possible by life’s weave.
From pond to river and stream to lake
The water delivers all in its wake
To where it goes
Sometimes aware, other times unknown
Until the water stops rolling as the current ebbs
And the shores are caught holding a new friend
In time upon the banks that breath
Air from the light of life’s weave.
From tiny atom to large animal grazing in the meadow
All must attend their part in the show
Of the picture painted each day
In colors created by the light’s refrains
Through shadow and shimmer, texture and hue
All that were once glimmers become true
Creating the portrait of time’s beauty
Through the allotted portions of life’s weave.
-Lisa A. Wisniewski
A Note of Thanks
Thanks this week to all the lights in our life who help us to find our way. Thanks also to those who help us to reflect the light of life onto and through others.
-Lisa, Sadie, and Leo