Monday, May 26, 2008

The Unremembered

And who will honor those
who, for the love of God,
refused to carry arms
against their enemies,
against their fellow men;
who bore the badge of shame,
of "coward" as their name
unjustly worn?

And even worse than these,
foul traitors, you will say,
the young men of my age
who, burning draft cards, fled
to Canada to live
in protest of a war
they held unjust?

Did these not also fight
for freedom's sake?
Was not their sacrifice
of land and home,
the shame and calumny heaped on their heads
a warrior's price?

Or must they always be ashamed,
as having run away when battle came,
and only those who fought and died
obtain a hero's prize,
laid in the grave?

These, too stood up for peace,
in their own way.
I honor them this day,
though none else will.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Apology, and Lewis Hamilton wins!

I apologize - I can't seem to get the link to the map of the street course for the Monaco Grand Prix to work - maybe it's because it's from Wikepedia.

Anyway, Lewis Hamilton won the Grand Prix de Monaco! I'm a happy camper.

And just because I don't give up, let's try that link one more time

Hamilton in the lead - off to church!

Updated link

Another view of the street course at Monaco for the Grand Prix de Monaco, here showing the names of the turns. Some of my favorites: rascasse, tabac (the tabaconist, named for the tobacco shop that used to be there), the swimming pool (aka the harbor! with the statue of the diver - a live shot frequently during the race which is so beautiful it's hard to believe).

Very frustrating - have to leave in 3 minutes for church, with 30+ laps to go and Lewis Hamilton in the lead with a 21 second jump on the second place driver, Felipe Massa, who started the race on the pole (that's first position - Lewis was in third at the start).

So, off to church. More later.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Grand Prix de Monaco

Tomorrow, Sunday, is the running of the Formula 1 Grand Prix de Monaco. This is, without a doubt, the most romantic of the grand prix series for me. Monaco, the last of the road races on the actual streets of the city, although this year a new one will be added, a nighttime race in Singapore. But Monaco is the jewel in the crown of Formula 1 racing as far as I'm concerned.

Here's the track:

Today is qualifying. Tomorrow the race, on an unforgiving course - tight, no real room to pass, qualifying in the top two positions helps keep the driver out of trouble. Monaco is notorious for crashes at the first turn, Ste. Devote, as the cars clump up on the start. It's brilliant to watch, even on television. The camera placement in the tunnel gives you the feeling of being shot out of a rubber band.

Of course, I'll not make it to the end of the race, which begins at 8 a.m. east coast U.S.A. time (7:30 if you want to watch the cars being readied and talk with some of the drivers and celebs). I'll have to leave at 9:15 at the latest to get to church. But there's always the rerun in the afternoon!

As usual, I'm hoping Lewis Hamilton gets the pole, but I'll settle for the number two position, so long as he's on the front row. UPDATE: Hamilton is in third position. Still, not too bad, if he can stay out of trouble, ahead of the pack at Ste. Devote. Of course, there's an 80% chance of rain in Monaco for the race tomorrow. I can feel my anxiety building already.

AND THEN: there's a Grand Am series race at Lime Rock on Monday at 2 p.m. Another beautiful road race course, on a closed track in the countryside of northwest Connecticut. Only an hour or so ride from my home, but I'll watch on tellie.

What a weekend!

Now, off to compose my sermon for tomorrow. This being a church blog, I really should (useless word, that - "should") I really should make some mention of churchy things, and mention of the need to compose a sermon for tomorrow is it.

Then some gardening in the afternoon. Planted a small hosta patch in a corner of the front yard yesterday - it's lovely, if I do say so myself. (Must get some photos onto this blog.) Today I'm seeding a grubby patch against a fence on the street side with "wildflower" seed. So that's it for today.

If you want to come to church tomorrow, you can't go wrong with Grace Episcopal Church in Norwalk. 10:00 a.m. God loves you. Bye for now.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Heretical Praying - Heretical Worship

Heretical Praying!

What if prayer doesn’t have to be reading the Bible, saying the psalms, praying the prayers? What if prayer doesn’t have to be saying/asking/reading the right things – “Oh holy God, please give me/make me/help me xyz, and I will wqr, while reading scripture and the psalms and the prayer book.”

What if valid prayer is reading a bit in a little book on journalkeeping, like How to Make a Journal of Your Life by D. Price – Please, Lois, grow more and more into your true creative artist self for my sake – or seeing the refracted light of the sun falling through the prism of the window glass onto the page of my journal, and photographing it? Is this not prayer? It is, I say!

So why does my guilt reflex kick in and say If you don’t read the scriptures and say the psalms and pray the prayer book prayers God will be mad at you and won’t give you qxrzp, or whatever?

So, I took up my camera and banished the guilt reflex. I photographed the page of my journal, with the colors of the refracted sun falling on it, and there is no describing the joy of that act of true prayer!


Heretical Worship!

In the past few months, meetings of the Executive Committee (the officers of the Vestry, which in the Episcopal Church functions sort of like the Board), and of the Vestry have become to me more like worship than meetings. We do the business, but woven throughout we share the things that have meaning to each of us, in our lives, in the church, and in the world. Isn’t that worship? It feels like worship. It feels like being in the presence of the Ground of Our Being. The atmosphere has changed and I have independent corroboration of that. We are having fun. Imagine that.

What if we came to church on Sunday and, instead of the usual order of worship, we sang some songs, and read some scriptures, and then reflected on them together, and then we shared with one another the things we have been doing in the past week that felt like God was with us and in our being and doing, and asked help from one another for the doing and being of our lives in the coming week, and then we prayed the prayers of our hearts, and sang some more songs, and then we broke bread and poured wine and prayed over them together and shared them with one another? Wouldn’t that be worship? It would indeed.

Out of the depths of our desire for you, O Holy One, I call to you, O Holy One, hear my voice; let your ears consider well the voice of my supplication:
Send your breath of life from the four winds.
Let your breath blow through this place, through our churches, through our homes, through our lives.
Let it blow through the buildings in which we worship,
Through the rooms below and the rooms above;
Let it blow through the whole church,
And fill her people with your breath,
That we may live only for you,
A light to the nations,
The glory of your saving Son,
And the flesh and blood and bones,
The hands, feet and heart of your steadfast love for all people.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Watkins Glen and Me

Woohooo! omagod omagod omagod I can't believe it. I've been invited to give the invocation on the Friday of the Vintage Festival at Watkins Glen on the weekend after Labor Day, for the reenactment of the first race which was run on the streets of Watkins Glen in 1948. For those of you who are Episcopalians, the winner of that first race was none other than Frank Griswold of Wayne, Pennsylvania, in a pre-war Alfa Romeo 8C2900 coupe, the father of The Rt. Rev. Frank Griswold, previously Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church.

I will be giving the invocation, God willing and the creek don't rise, from in front of the court house, on the start/finish line of the original road race, directly across from the spot on which a plaque is placed in the sidewalk with Frank Griswold's name on it commemorating his win. I can't believe it - me, Lois Keen, giving the invocation at what for me is the Mecca of road racing, the reenactment of the first road race on the streets of Watkins Glen. I can hardly contain myself - in fact, I can't! And why should I?! Woohooo! Poor Newlin. There will be no living with me from now on, or at least until it's all over.

Thank you Jesus! For those of you who would like to read all about road racing at The Glen, here's the link.

Heard but not Seen

LGB - little grey (green) bird. BVD - better view desired. HBNS - heard but not seen. Birders have been using these message shortcuts for ages, long before text messaging. LGB is mostly reserved for the fall, when the new hatch of warblers, the immatures, do not have breeding plumage and you can hardly tell one kind from another.

Spring is easier. Last year's immature LGB's are adults now. This morning I had a number of BVD's - the spring warbler invasion is in full cry down at Cannon Creek Park, a decent walk from my house. There they were flitting about the tops of the trees along the creek. Warblers just won't stay still enough for a definite ID that far away, but connected with their songs, I could make a safe guess at two of them - black and white warbler, chestnut sided warbler.

Whatever, it's a delight to be able to walk to the park with field glasses slung over my shoulder, to enjoy the sights and sounds of the creek, and try to catch a better glimpse of those flighty little creatures.

Back home, I took my tea outside, along with a notebook, for some prayer and writing. There was a bird singing. Now it is at this time of the year that I am frustrated by not being able to remember from one year to the next all the songs of the birds that arrive in the spring and leave in the fall. Robins, blue jays, mockingbirds, house sparrows, mourning doves, woodpeckers - those I know. But that clear, bell like series of notes were just on the tip of my brain.

I kept panning my fieldglasses over the trees across the street, from where the song was coming. I caught a glimpse, but the bird was hidden by leaves.

Suddenly, I remembered - May, last year, same thing, I KNOW THAT SONG! The Northern Oriole (formerly called the Baltimore Oriole). The song was all around me - it was either more than one or that bird was flying from tree to tree without me being able to see it. HBNS. It wasn't going to stay still, outside the cover of leaves, long enough for me to see it.

Then, loud, really loud, and clear in my right ear - I looked to the top of the great tree in a neighbor's back yard - there he was. I didn't even need field glasses to see his brilliant orangey chest against the black back with white markings. Back again, at the same time as last year. I wonder, as I did last year, if he will find a mate in the neighborhood and build a nest.

This week I've been wondering if the chimney swifts would be returning to nest in our chimney. This morning I couldn't remember when they arrived last year. I hadn't seen any in the sky. Just as I caught sight of the oriole, I saw the swifts. So they return at the same time as the oriole. The babies will be HBNS, their chirping heard in the living room as food is brought to them in the chimney nest.

On the fence opposite me, a chipping sparrow perches, with his russet cap and clear breast. Overhead, a red bellied woodpecker. After its flyby, I could hear it in a yard a few houses away. Not bad for a morning walk and tea time.

Of course, birding is addictive. I'm wishing I brought my fieldglasses with me to the office. I'm considering cutting my hour stakeout at Starbucks to return to the creek. Why do I have to work at all? I called Newlin, who is in Watkins Glen this week, to tell him about the oriole. He told me that when he was unpacking the car last night he heard the screech owl. OHHHH I was jealous! I said, it's time for me to quit, take early retirement, try to live on the little I'll get from pension, (which is impossible, by the way - it won't even cover the rent on the house!) work supply or half time, but let me be in Watkins Glen whenever I want to be, where I can go to sleep with the sound of the screech and great horned owls. (Don't panic, Grace Church readers! We all have these moments, don't we.)

It's never enough. A great morning, and already I want more, more, more! There is something about birds that I do not understand. Maybe it's something like my quest for the face of God: always just around the corner, but never enough, never quite there, always LGB, BVD, HBNS. But still I show up, with or without field glasses, making whatever connections I can with the elusive and ethereal and wild.