Natural Solitude

A few courageous crocuses are poking their heads out of the ground (our New England version of Ground Hog Day!) It’s been a snowless winter on the Cape, and we remain bewildered about when winter will end because it never really began.  A flicker, equally confused, tapped on a tree the other day. He tapped aggressively and then suddenly stopped to look around, almost as if he wasn’t sure it was time to engage in springtime behavior. A few more vigorous pecks, and then he vanished into the treetops.

Lent is a little like the end of winter.  It’s not my favorite season, but certainly a necessary one.  I’m encouraged to prayerfully “pull back” from scheduled responsibilities, and curl up with devotional reading and make intentional solitude. 

This morning I walked along the border of the ocean: no particular time limit or destination. Just following the waves as they encroach with little fingers on the expanse of sand, the only sound, the rhythmic and persistent rise and fall of waves against the shore.  Tall dunes rise on my right, over eighty feet in some places. Winter tides have sliced them like a sharp knife cutting cake, exposing distinct layers. The layers are in chronological order: first grass and stunted trees, then organic soil of different colored sand deposited by glaciers, a black sheet of ancient marsh, and finally, a layer of blue clay formed some 20,000 years ago.  I’m reminded again of Lent, standing here, looking back on the biography of Earth in this place. Lent, reflective, pausing to look back, to look honestly at actions, motivations, and results.

I walk along the edge of the land, feet touching wave-washed beach stones glimmering in the sun. Each stone owns a unique color and shape. Together they make a lovely ribbon. I keep walking and will follow until I arrive at the end of winter to discover a new Easter.


Image by Scottslm from Pixabay

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About Blue Heron

My wife and I became members of the Community in 1975. We had come to the Community prior to that time on various retreats from our church in Connecticut. I landed an elementary teaching career in 1976 and taught in that same school until 1999. We raised two sons (now married) who are both now professed members of the Community. We have three grandchildren and three granddogs. I continue to work in the public school teaching science on a part time basis, and also serve as advisor and part time teacher for a group of parents who homeschool in the Community. My wife works as a dental assistant. Life in the Community has expanded my borders far beyond what I would have imagined. Over the years I have sung with the choir, participated in Gregorian Chant, served as chalice bearer, made stained glass, been part of a writing group, built sets for Gilbert and Sullivan productions and sung in them. The list goes on. I cannot think of a better environment to raise a child. And I cannot think of any place that would have challenged more, and kept me moving forward as a Christian father and husband. I have been over my head and lifted above the waters. I am looking back in gratitude, and forward in hope.

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