Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Green Cathedral

One of the first things that attracted David and me to our soon-to-be new home in the central Alabama countryside last year was its lo-o-o-n-n-n-g-g-g curving gravel-and-grass driveway. Once you pull into the drive through the gate, your eye immediately travels down a green "cloister walk" of sorts..... the ~0.4 mile road to the house in a clearing is canopied by over-arching huge oak branches much of the way. Most days I try to walk the drive down to the highway and back a few times...both for good exercise and to "ground" myself in this "green cloister walk" that leads to our home. So far I have yet to meet up with any seriously dangerous "critters" [though we did find a 4' rattlesnake in our backyard a few weeks ago - yikes!].  Instead, my walks are serenaded by choirs of birds;  often accompanied by the scurrying of grey squirrels, fox squirrels, and furry rabbits; beautified even further by the flutterings of dragonflies and butterflies. And protected on all sides by those towering oaks, some stands of planted pines, and a couple of quiet pastures. And...today...after the heavy and welcome rains of the weekend, Green is everywhere!

During my three year seminary education in New York City a few years ago, I had the great good fortune to spend a summer working as a seminarian at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in Manhattan. The stunning beauty of this massive cathedral literally takes one's breath away.  I will never forget that summer's experience. It was almost as if I had been given a peek into the Kingdom of Heaven. I feel deeply blessed to have been given the summer weeks to walk the cloister walks of the Cathedral, spend holy prayer time in the magnificent nave, explore the various side chapels off the apse, and soak in the holiness of that enormous space.

But today, as I was walking once more down our gentle l-o-o-o-o-n-n-n-g-g-g driveway, canopied by the green boughs of great towering old oaks and punctuated by all sorts of Nature's surprises, I was reminded yet again of the "sacrament of the present moment" (to quote Jean-
Pierre de Caussade), the holiness of all God's creation, and the great gift of just being alive.

"Open our eyes to see your hand at work in the world about us.... " 
Eucharistic Prayer C, p. 372, Book of Common Prayer.

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