Saturday, August 12, 2006

Fire in the Thistle

It's our last day in Maine, and I took a long walk this morning down Fitch Road. The sun was brilliant, and a few crisp clouds loafed through the blue fields like lazy sheep. No humidity, and the temperature about 60 degrees (no, it's not the Truman Show, it's Maine!). I must have walked about 2 miles an hour.

Maybe you've heard the adage "We were created human BEings, not human DOings." I think, for me, it's partly being caught and taught by the culture to produce, to keep busy because being busy means you are important, you are "contributing." You have "things to do." And when you have things to do, you must be important. "I have a to do list. I have a cell phone and must check my messages. I have a meeting to go to. It is very important."

We've made our own anxiety these days; we have it pumped in via our "time-saving devices" like the cellphone, e-mail, etc. A monster has been created and we do not know where the off switch is to stop it. I cave in all the time. But not this morning.

As I was walking at a snail's pace, drunk with the scent of pine and tall warm grass, I saw an explosion of bull thistle in a field off the road. There were goldfinches bouncing around the stalks, little sparks of yellow fire dancing in this green and purple furnace of wildflowers. As they buried their beaks deep within the thistle for it's treasure, their work loosened the seeds and sent them sailing. We used to call them blowwishes.

Another page of creation's sacramental story turned for me. When we dive into our daily routine, with passion, joy, or in drudgery just to feed our families, we cast off seeds that the wind will carry. In work there can be beauty and grace. And when we move and breathe and make our way in work, we can step back from time to time and say with our Lord, "Behold, it is very good."

Life is the movement between work and play. But the work is always the means. Like a slow motion walk down a breezy road in Maine, this contemplation is what we are invited to taste, and in the end, to actually enter into. In the "fields of the Lord".... we are destined to play.

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