Archive for February 2009


February 28, 2009

Sometimes the birds have mobile homes:


In the Spruce Tunnel, when you’re actually, physically there for a while, it’s funny how your mind is just free to think.   It notices sometihng interesting — and off it goes.

And one day this mind  noticed a dear little bird’s nest, fallen onto the snow.   I suppose the gusts of wind are pretty strong at the top of the spruce.    No birds in there in the winter, of course, but it had been someone’s little home.

It’s not easy to find a home, I think.  It’s not always easy to feel at home in the house you live in.  It’s not easy to find a home in this world.   Some people find it that way.    But it’s okay, really.

Our Dear Lord didn’t have a permanent home either.    “Jeus said to him, the foxes have holes, and the birds of the air nests, but the Son of Man hath not where to lay His head.”  (Luke 9:58)

If the world is now as it was then, there  still is not – in general – any “where”  that would be a welcoming home for Him, not for very long.

So I suppose,  even if  He  were to choose to nest with the birds of today,  it would not be  a permanent home anyway.    There are no permanent nests for any of us to rest in, in the here and now.

Be kind to your fellow humans.  They may be looking for Rest too.

More about “rest-less”  later.


February 27, 2009

We had the unexpected pleasure of having good friends drop in on us today.  

They were passing through our part of the state and they still were five hours away from home, but yet they  stopped in to see us.    We were honored to have them with us.    They are unique and interesting and fun to be with and we like them very much.

I’ve been thinking about that visit.   In general,  we’re  all lucky to “have friends ”    In general, we all like it when friends “drop in on us.”       But when specific friends visit, we don’t experience friendship “in general, ” we experience all the wonderful specific one-of-a-kind personalities of those particular friends.

Friendship brings out the mutual  enjoyment of the unique qualities of each other.   We are appreciated as the individuals we are.   I suspect  our friends appreciate us more than we realize too.  There is no one else quite like each of us.    That’s a nice thing to think about.

Isn’t prayer a little like dropping in on a Friend?   And vice versa?


February 26, 2009


I’m not comfortable being among the trees in the dark, but in honor of the new link to SpaceWeather I thought I’d put up this photo taken off my back deck a couple months ago.   

I never really have enough pixels when it comes to the moon, but this bright smear produces a nice effect.  

I like to check for sunspots, but our sun seems to be asleep for now.    If this keeps up, our global temperature drop will continue, perhaps producing a mini ice age as they say has happened in the fairly recent past.    

I check for auroral activity too, which for this latitude is a possibility.   But the sun will have to stir itself and fling a few gazillion high-energy particles  our way.  A medium size coronal mass ejection would be nice.  

I keep checking, but SpaceWeather is reporting very little sun activity.   Nice comet photos though.   And man-made objects keep  offering unexpected excitement.




February 25, 2009



Coincidentally, our weather has descended into quite a Lenten somberness.

The day began sunny and bright. By noon we had clouds. Shortly afterwards the sky and the air had developed a fine soft mistiness, quite a bit darker than the morning. The clouds are thicker now, the rain more obvious, the air is cooler. Better to stay indoors.

Ash Wednesday;  we descend into the somber season of Lent, making serious forays inwards, where we meet God’s searchlight. Nice to know He is actually searching for us; but then He sees us as we really are. Best we know how we really are too.

Sometimes we have to seriously consider that “no one of us is exempt from temptation to sin. ” (Friend and teacher, St. Francis de Sales; Sermons for Lent)



February 25, 2009


….Lent begins with a little help from my dear friend:  “…for it is to you I speak, as well as persons dedicated to our Lord.   We know very well that it is not enough to fast exteriorly if we do not also fast interiorly and if we do not accompany the fast of the body with that of the spirit.”

Thank you.


February 25, 2009


For hundreds and hundreds of years, Quincuagesima Sunday has brought to us the story of Jesus and His disciples on the road to Jerusalem – for the very last time.

It’s one of my favorite Gospel Readings:  Luke 18:31-43.   It’s one of those stories in which the hearer of the Gospel knows more than the characters in the story!   Not the Main Character,  but more than the disciples and more even than the blind man.

Jesus takes his Twelve friends to Jerusalem and tells them what will soon happen to Him.   They were probably saying, “Uh-huh.  Uh-huh.”   But we are told:  “And they understood none of these things, and the word was hid from them….” (Verse 34) 

From my perspective, I “think”  if my Dear Rabbi was telling me that he was about to be murdered soon in the city where we were all heading towards, I would have been more than a little alarmed.  I can use my imagination….

But I think this mental blindness on the part of the Twelve was an act of Mercy, given to them by God their Father, who truly was protecting their souls from what they could not yet bear.   Certainly, this was temporary, and after the Resurrection the blindness was lifted — for at least eleven of them.

Along the way they were stopped by a man who was physically blind.  Probably wretched and poor and hungry and uncared for too.   He knew what he wanted and he knew Who could make it happen.  Such faith!   And Jesus, the Son of David, Who already knew this man from his creation, asked the very obvious question:   “Quid tibi vis faciam?”

And we onlookers want to shout and say “Just FIX him!!”   “You KNOW what he needs!”

But the man must focus himself.   He – and we – must decide what is the most important thing we want from the Lord.      I think the man had had a lot of time to focus his life on his greatest need;  more time than we’ve ever taken with that question.   

The only answer we all need to say:   “Ut videam.”    Ut videam, Domine.    Domine, ut videam.

Lord, make me see!   Please, make me see, Lord.   I don’t know anything.  Do for me what You must,  in order that I may see!       I lose hold of the important things.   Make me see.   Who are You?  Make me see!     I need to see.   I weep for wanting to see!    

You see?  The Twelve couldn’t “see” what this was all about, but they didn’t know that they weren’t seeing.    The blind man knew he couldn’t see.   But he knew what the Lord was all about.

It can’t be Lent yet –  I haven’t had enough time with this Gospel…..


February 25, 2009


The Season of Septuagesima is soon over, the transition to Lent went by very swiftly.   We get three Sundays in this season, and three Gospel lessons.  

In the first Sunday, Septuagesima , the Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard, assures us that even though we are living in the last stage of human history, the same opportunity for salvation is also offered to us.    The same eternal Good God invites us to work in His vineyard,and we can be among His Chosen People too, forever.

In the second Sunday, Sexagesima, the Sower scatters His seed generously and continuously over all kinds of soil.   Now, I don’t sow like a farmer, but in the photo above I do have  seed strewn all over the deck for my little Peeps.     And just like the Sower, it has fallen on all kinds of surfaces.

Some has fallen above, some below, some on the hard wooden planks, some on the crusty snow, and some on the fluffy snow – where someone is going to have to get a faceful of snow in order to reach his beak down into the seeds.

But the point of the Parable is that the Word of God, like seeds, falls on all kinds of ground, and we need to take care that the soil of our hearts is good soil, soft and welcoming soil.    And the most important thing is that the Word of God grows in us  and doesn’t get choked out by the cares of the world that will soon be past anyway, and that the hardness and indifference in our hearts doesn’t stop the growth.

So now we are just about at Lent, which is the season appointed to us to take care of the kind of soil we have in hearts.   If it isn’t right, we have the time, now, to make it right. 

  40 days.   What a gift!


February 24, 2009



Yes, I can go back to blogging now.   Suzy gives me her signal, all is well with the world.

About POLITICS on this blog:  I love my country.  I love her history;  I love the sense of freedom and independence and self-reliance that she stood for;  I love her Flag and the “republic for which it stands.”

But I know history and I know that republics do not  last for very long;  a couple centuries at the most.     What is happening now happened before in Greece, 3rd century B.C.,   and in Rome, about the 1st century B.C.   

Many blogs, many Websites, many talk show celebrities, and many experts are analyzing current events better than I can.

If the time comes to fight for our republic,  I will be a Betsy Ross or a Molly Pitcher – or even better, a Clara Barton or a Jane Addams.   But, for now, any  comment on a current political event will be done obliquely, with reference to Greece or Rome, whose populations  brought about the demise of their own republic by believing the politicians who deceived them “for their own good.”

I commend to my fellow citizens the writings of Alexis de Tocqueville.   May we all repent.


February 24, 2009



If you walk into the Spruce Tunnel and stop for a few minutes, you will begin to hear the wildlife around you that you didn’t realize was there.  

The birds and all kinds of critters  make themselves known, high in the trees, in the bushes, along the pathways.   Deer come running by.    The park is actually filled with the animal kingdom.

What a  special and varied relationship we have with animals!   Our instinct is to care for them, to “have dominion over” them so that a right relationship can be enjoyed and they are loved and protected. 

We read that Adam, the first human, was alone for a while, and after the lack of companionship was acknowledged, strangely, what followed next is that the Creator arranged to have many animals paraded in front of Adam.   Adam was to “name” them, but this wasn’t a mere exercise in taxonomy.

  Names are given to those living creatures that we know.   Adam was given the opportunity to know the animal kingdom well enough to be able to “name” them and thus realize that none of them were a suitable equal partner for him.

But there still remains that special relationship with animals.   Especially with our pets whom we get to know and love so well — and who come to know and love us too.

And so, this first burst of blogging is over.   With a graceful drape of the tail, Suzy signals it is time for me to leave the computer and go to bed.



February 24, 2009


Every  year winter brings such beauty.  You just have to look up!

“For the invisible things of Him, from the creation of the world, are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made…..(Romans 1:20)


February 24, 2009
The Season of Septuagesima:

Between the Joy of the Christmas season and the Joy of the Easter season, there is a time to reflect on the depth of the Love that is expressed to us in these two seasons.

The Love had to be deep enough to account for the horrors of sin and of the results of sin.

The Love had to be deep enough to accomodate our own human helplessness to save ourselves.

The Love had to be deep enough to endure the reality of True Sacrifice offered to God to accomplish our Atonement, which is what we celebrate at Easter.

That means we can’t approach each Easter as a mere event on the calendar.  Because we’re human, we must prepare for the Easter season, to make ourselves even more open and ready for our Redeemer, deep down in our souls.

So it’s simple. Lent is the time to prepare – a “golden opportunity” to prepare to become spiritually more able to apprehend the wonderful truth of our Redemption! And it is a serious time. There is much peril if we don’t prepare. There is much to miss out on. There is much disappointment we can give to those angels and those saints who have gone before us if we take our Lent lightly and routinely.

The Season of Septuagesima is a transition from the Joys of the past season to the seriousness of the coming season of Lent.





February 24, 2009


I’m writing for my ancestors, really;  thinking with my keyboard, reporting  back to them.
Many centuries ago, large golden-haired, fair-skinned people from the peninsula we now call Sweden began to expand eastward through a land of smaller brown-skinned blue-eyed people who called these invaders “Rus.” Over the next several centures these Rus fought and settled and traded their way eastward and then southward, eventually centering their rule in a city known as Kiev. From that city they ruled a great kingdom and interacted with people in all directions. They traveled far enough southwards to become known by the Arabs. During this southward expansion they came to the great city of Byzantium, which was the center of a civilization that was magnificent beyond the experience of these Rus, the Swedish Vikings.
Wisely, they settled into trade agreements and an uneasy political friendship, which lasted for a few more generations.
Meanwhile, in the land of their origin, Christianity came to the Swedish peninsula. For about 500 years the Swedes enjoyed the advantages of the civilizing and humanizing force of the True Faith.

There were good kings and good queens. There were saints who reached great heights of spiritual development and inspired their countrymen, and one, St. Bridget traveled all the way to Rome where she was graciuosly received and her wisdom and advice was acknowledged.

Things changed in the 16th century. My ancestors most likely felt these changes approaching, threatening the peace and unity of their land. For many reasons, studied by both secular and Christian scholars, great portions of Northern Europe were broken off from the Faith, and Christianity became a matter of political loyalty. You adopted the religion of your king – or your prince – or your duke – or your governor – or your mayor. Back and forth, as political fortunes rose and fell, the people without their original Faith to anchor them,  became one religion or another.

My ancestors, the ones whose names are unknown, the simple citizens of the Swedish peninsula, most likely prayed fervently for the preservation of the Faith, for their faith, and for the faith of their children and grandchildren, and perhaps some thought to pray for their descendants, that one day the Faith would be restored among them.

In gratitude for the prayers of my ancestors, I write this blog to demonstrate that one of their descendants is trying very hard learn what they knew, to follow the Faith that was delivered to them, and with God’s grace, is still being delivered to some of us who live in this poor century.






February 24, 2009

It’s an actual  “tunnel” formed by towering spruce trees. It’s an area in a park through which there are hiking and skiing trails. It seems set apart from the rest of the park. Under these towering spruce it’s dark and quiet and very commanding of attention. Somehow, when I enter this tunnel, I feel alone in there, away from the world and all its noisy,  nagging necessities.
Here it is just Nature, pointing me rather eloquently to Nature’s Creator.


And so the Spruce Tunnel is not only an actual place, it is also a state of mind. The state of a mind stripped down to its individuality; a human, standing alone as it truly is, on this planet, at this time, and aware that it is truly a creation, and it truly has a Creator.

And this particular “mind” is grateful the Creator has not remained silent.

And grateful that the silence in the Srpuce Tunnel allows the Creator to be heard from time to time.