Anne M. Smith-Nochasak:
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A parable is usually a life lesson, revealed through a succinct story. A fable accomplishes the same task, but usually has animals as main characters.
This story has plants and animals, but they aren't the characters. So I am justified in calling this a parable.
The main thing is, we learn through stories, because we pay attention to stories and we remember them. I can picture Jesus looking into the milling crowd, shoving his lecture notes into his sleeve, and saying, "Yep. This situation calls for a parable."
Besides, "parable" has a certain dignified ring to it, and I have always wanted to write one.
A certain woman went out and made a fragrant garden on her front step, using rich soil and pots of divers sizes. She chose marjoram, basil, and oregano to make meals satisfying to the tongue. There was chamomile to soothe, and mint to refresh the spirit, and.... well, you get the idea.
Now raccoons came in the night to feast on grubs within the rich soil, and knew not the woman's ambition. And verily, with their tiny hands they scooped the tender transplants, roots and all, and scattered them upon the ground. They spilt the contents of the pots, smothering and trampling her cherished herbs until they were wilted and limp.
Now in the morning, the woman was sorely troubled and laid plans to undo this mischief. Truly, she would overcome the raccoons.
"Lay compost upon the ground," one urged her. "Cast down vegetable and leaf; sprinkle bone of chicken and of fish. Place it in a corner of the lot, as an offering delightful to them. They will eat, and trouble you not."
The woman had a vision of raccoons and bears gathering and feasting in that distant corner, then lifting up their eyes unto her front step, and skulking forward with salivating maws gaping wide.
"Fence them out," urged another.
In a fresh vision, she saw the raccoons clambering over the fence, now turning their desires to the large vegetable garden below.
The woman remembered the lesson that her father had learned in bitterness and sorrow, when she had been but a child.
(This is a parable within a parable, which might not be possible for the form, but here it is anyway.)
So the woman repotted her chamomile, and she repotted her mint, and her oregano, and her basil, and her marjoram. And she accepted that, if the raccoons returned, her meals might be less tasty, but she would not starve.
And verily, her garden flourished.
Here endeth the lesson.
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"I stand and feel the heartbeat of creation surging in unison with mine, and your heartbeat is there, and this is dazzling."
Anna's "Northern Magnificat"
in The Ice Widow
We do not invite a theophany.
If we look for it, it will evade us.
We develop systems with key phrases and gestures to summon the deity, to capture the divine presence, to bind it to us.
We systemize holiness. Layer upon layer, with ritual and invocation, we drag God into our presence.
We systemize our responsibility to creation. We cannot feed you, because we are busy volunteering. We have a heat-pump that reduces power usage; we crank it up. We buy an electric car because we are virtuous and electricity is clean. We will deal with the clutter, the lithium mines, the bits and pieces of toxic waste, the recycling and all the other fun..... tomorrow.
The earth is as weary of our projects as surely God must be.
Send us rain, so victims of fire can get back to normal. Not too much, though, because flood victims will then be taking news time. Bring balance, so we can have fireworks. And don't forget to pray for the nice people in the front lines.
Do not clear-cut unless you are flattening the earth for condominiums with environmental upgrades. Save your plastics; they will be currency one day. We will wrestle creation and creator into submission.
The Spirit moves over the waters, and remembers a dawn sweet with promise.
The Spirit is lonely.
I awaken to a grey dawn. The skies are flat, empty of rain. My heart is dull; I touch the morning and feel dust.
There should be roundness; rich earth should cake in my fist.
I inhale the morning, and it is the mustiness of the tomb.
There should be earth rot and blossom packing the air, and a breeze fanning the earth, the Creator's palm caressing.
Life is dead on the apocalyptic fringes of our world, and all the electric cars and heat pumps will not save us or feed the starving or cleanse their sores.
One shaft of light pierces the grey and touches a finger to a decaying trunk, caressing its length.
One shaft of light and that breeze stirring becomes the breath of God beside my ear, washing through me, spinning in ecstasy over creation. Light dapples and dances to the choir of the universe and I am alive. That vibration in the air -- that is the voice of creation singing.
God reveals presence as they choose.
The day begins with hope.