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More or Less Church

Joanna Depue "DJ/Deacon J" writes original songs and liturgies, does daily Farm office work and records Barbara's eMos on The Geranium Farm. A singer and dog trainer she utilizes healing touch in her private massage practice. PLEASE share YOUR original ideas for worship, special liturgies, prayers, songs, sermons and noteworthy blogs right here.
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Wednesday, November 07, 2007

A Snap of Autumn

Friday afternoon I set off for my retreat in Jordan, NY. The route from my small home will wend me through the Catskill Mountains. While they have their own majesty and character, they are a series of rolling hills with a highway or two cutting through the valleys below. People from the west chortle under their collective breath at the idea that the Catskills are called mountains at all: they don't compare with the jagged, angular Rockies.

Friday's air was crisp. The fall this year slid in with 'unseasonably' high temperatures in the 60's and 70's for weeks. Unsurprisingly, it took quite some time before the trees began turning various familiar fall colors.

State Troopers were out in record force. I expect to see them by the 15th of the month, but not on the 2nd. Between the deterrent of the troopers and the frequently posted ROAD WORK AHEAD or REDUCE SPEED AHEAD it was difficult to make good time. Rather than become disgruntled and arrive ill tempered I kept looking at the scenery. Without a cloud in the sky I felt transported. I wasn't driving at all - I was in a mini submersible exploring an undulating coral reef. Long grasses waved to and fro. There were a few patches of vibrant color, but most of the growth sported muted shades of browns, yelllows and a spot or two of grey.

This reverie of sorts would be broken just a few times by blaring brake lights, two intersections in tiny hamlets and large signs forewarning of major intersecting highways. The fading light added nuance to panorama surrounding me. I left the Catskills behind when finished my westward direction to turn toward the north.

Oh, but it was beautiful while it lasted!

Pizza and baked macaroni with cheese awaited me at Christ Church. Comfort food on a distinctly fall evening. There was conversation, Centering Prayer and a preview of what was planned for Saturday. Pastor Kate invited me to pile my things in her car and leave mine in the church parking lot and I did gladly.

I slept intermittently that night,ideas going through a head which was feeling a bit stuffy. Ah, those change of weather sniffles. Just before I finally drifted off into solid sleep I heard the words of Julian of Norwich:

" should anything be amiss? Yes, all shall be well, and all will be
well, and thou shall see thyself that all manner of thing shall be well."

Backing out of the garage there was no denying it: there was frost on the pumpkin! The first frost of the season that made lawn glisten. The retreat unfolded in its own way: not necessarily what I had planned, but obviously what the group needed. Thank you, Julian, for the appropriate mind set.

It was cold again out of doors on Sunday, but very comfortable in the parish hall and sanctuary. After returning to Pastor Kate's home where we each indulged in the nearly cliche clergy nap it was time to pack up and head back to the car and home. Daylight saving time now in effect, it became darker earlier and I didn't have the scenery to occupy my thoughts. Instead I prayed for each of the people who had worked on this event and each of the individuals who I had prayed with. Bless them each, bless them all.

I drove past my home and south to the Farm where Emmy Lou had spent the weekend with Ben, Kitten, Barbara and Q. She greeted me enthusiastically, bounced down the back steps for an invigorated toilet then hopped back up. We tip toed up the stairs, I turned out the hall light and quietly went into the former India room. Em had already taken her place on the bed, but waited 'til I settled before circling twice and thumping down, leaning against my chest and arm in a curl. Thank you, Lord for this snap of autumn, the trip, my friends, Pastor Kate and her family, all the Saints that I had the pleasure to meet in Jordan.

All was well, all is well and all shall be well.


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