Epiphany’s Choice and the Environment: In Reverence to Honor, or in Fear to Destroy

Hang on, you there, packing up the Christmas lights, dismantling the tree, boxing up the crèche with its cast of characters and that long-tailed star. Christmas is not over. Sure, come December 26th, it may have been all over for the “Little Drummer Boy,” Bing Crosby, and the Nutcracker; but not quite for Christmas. The wise men are just now arriving. And those magi from the East, with their three auspicious gifts, are not simply late to the party. They inaugurate a whole new thing: public acknowledgment by the world’s powers, of a radically new kind of rule. They’re not the only ones who notice (cue the soundtrack for the dastardly villain). What gets me now, thinking as I have been about environmental issues in Jesus-ish terms, is how relevant the contrast between the wise men and Herod is still today.

Daily Dilemma Plus Beef Bone Broth and Barley Soups

Shaken. Oh, and stirred. Whomever you voted for on November 8, this election has left a lot of us shaken and stirred up, to boot.

How plan the day when the president-elect snubs the Constitution, a delightful friend has invited me for coffee and pie, religious do-gooders chisel away women’s rights, and a mere twenty minutes’ drive could have me on stunning mountain trails in bright sunshine? img_0064“I arise each morning,” E. B. White said, “torn between a desire to improve (or save) the world and an inclination to enjoy (or savor) it. This makes it hard to plan the day.” Hard, indeed.

Be a Dog, Get Outside; It’s National Get Outside Day!

The din is deafening. It’s morning at our local SPCA, and all anyone wants to do is get outside. I plan as I drive there. Rico will go first, since his kennel is closest and he “holds it” longer than anyone would think is physically possible. Then, the little pair on the other side, the sweetest little lap dog ever and her chubster kennel mate, who need a break from theSPCA Brittany noise. The skinny hound Christoff is also heroically house trained, but I can’t leave him in an outdoor run — he’s a “fence climber,” they say, though a perfect gentleman on the leash. So I’ll get Miss Energy-Plus Brittany out and into a balls-riddled pen before walking him. She’ll be a great adoptee — lab mix and full of love — if only she can get enough exercise. Then to Tilly, whose kennel gets no window light and lies depressed until I stop at her door, bearing the promise of fresh air and sunshine. I map out my strategy; but when I open the main doors, all planning goes out the window. The air is thick with desperation. Each dog needs outdoor time. Now.

Water, the Gods, and Us

Water. Out of the great rivers long ago, mermen of a kind — the Seven Sages — emerged. It was they, ancient Mesopotamians told, who brought the gifts of civilization to humankind. But water was also the amniotic soup of chaos. Only after a god-hero split the sea monster Tiamat in two was life on earth possible at all. With Hurricane Sandy churning up the coast, a steady rain muddles the surface of our central Virginia pond. A heron stands on the water’s edge perfectly still.

No Fishing in the Sea of Galilee

The storied “sea” (actually a freshwater lake) where Jesus performed miracles among its fisher-folk and from which Jesus called his disciples to become “fishers of men” is now off limits. Galilean fish stocks are so depleted that Israel has instituted a ban on fishing there, in effect for two years, in the hopes that that piscis population will rebound. For those of us who know Galilee from the gospel stories, it’s easy to get sentimental, wishing for a 21st century reality just like we read about Jesus’ first century one.