Autumn arrived on a gust today. Weather swinging from sunshine to showers and back again. A rainbow arcs over the house, colours bright against the glowering sky. I dash out between showers, trying to beat the rain. Race home through the raindrops, splashing in puddles. And rest in the changing times.
This lunchtime I seized the chance. Went out into the autumn sunshine, and strolled through the castle park, sun warm on my face. There a horse chestnut tree stands, proudly bearing its treasure. And on the ground, nestled in the long grass, a conker glows russet brown. I cradle it in my palm, caress the silky smooth surface. Wander back to work, taking with me the memory of warmth; of sunshine and glowing colours; of pausing time to treasure.
A late walk this morning
Creates a different world.
The light on the water
Strikes and bounces
Illuminating hidden crevices at the river edge.
A sudden splash in the water
Shows the leap of a fish.
The wagtail is nowhere to be seen
In its usual spot.
The wild barley glows golden in the sun
And there, nestled in the seedhead
A ladybird seeks its rest.
New Year’s Day passes in a blur.. faces… food… fireworks… services… and dancing. A whirling, spinning beginning. Dashing White Sergeant, Gay Gordon, Boston Two-step, Eightsome Reel, Strip the Willow, Highland Schottische, The Waves of Torry. Outside the snow whirls and twirls in harmony, leaving a carpet of white on the ground. We step out into quiet and calm ; breathe in the air. Footsteps crunch as we walk home. Clear skies and bright stars overhead. A melody for the New Year.
Perched on the old bench
Listening to the water
Dance on its way to the coast
Watch the silver sparkle in the light
Listen and breathe and be
Face turned to the light
Unfurling to the sun
Opening to the future
That warmth may follow warmth
Into depths of days
And blanket of night embrace
With love and delight
The story of the white wolf and the black wolf is, I’m told, an old Cherokee story. I’ve seen and heard various different versions. But in this time of unrest in the world, it gives us an important question. What wolf are we choosing to feed inside ourselves? Why don’t you read it and decide?
There was once an old and wise grandfather, who had a grandson he loved. Each day, the grandson would come and spend time with his grandfather, and talk to him about the events of the day. One day, the grandson came with a look of anger on his face. ‘Come’, said the grandfather, ‘sit and tell me about your day’. The child sat on the floor and leaned against his grandfather. Looking up at him, he said, ‘I went into the town today with father. He had promised me a present, as I had helped him so much recently. I was so happy and excited. I went into the trading post and there we found a small knife, just the right size for me. So father bought it for me.’ Here, the boy fell silent.
The grandfather placed his hand on the boys head, ‘Then what happened?’
The boy said ‘I took it outside to look at it. But some older boys saw me. They called me names, and teased me, and said I had no right to have the knife. Then one of them knocked me over, and another took my knife, and they ran away with it’. Here, the boy paused. Then, looking up at his grandfather he said ‘I hate them! I hate them!’
Grandfather sighed deeply and said, ‘I have also suffered. There have been people who have taken without asking, those who have called me names, who have fought and bullied. I have felt great hate. But hate hurts only you. It is like taking poison and wishing your enemy would die. In the end your own soul will die. I have struggled with this. It is as if there are two wolves inside me, a white one and a black one. The white one lives in peace with those around him, and does not take offense where none was intended. It looks for good and not evil, it welcomes, not rejects. It only fights when it is right, and only in the right way. But the black wolf is full of anger and hatred. He is focused only one himself and his wants. Anything that is against his will sends him into anger. He fights everyone, all the time. He looks for the negative, not the positive. He cannot think because his anger and hatred are so great. It is anger that destroys himself. Sometimes it is hard to live with these two wolves inside me, for both try to rule my life.’
The boy looked up into his grandfather’s eyes. ‘Which one wins, Grandfather?’
The Grandfather smiled and said ‘The one I choose to feed’.
We are called
Called to walk from the brightness of dark
to the darkness of the Light
Surrounded by cloud that veils our view
Not knowing where the journey will take us
We are called
Called to be obedient to the silence within
to trust, to walk with God
Even when his presence seems far away
When obedience is a step of faith
We are called
Called to listen to the burning passion inside
to the fire which drives us ever on
Testing the urge which will not quieten
The silent whisper in the night
We are called
Called to sacrifice our lives on the altar
Trusting that God will accept the offering
Called to submit our wills, our hearts, our dreams
To the God who calls us on
We are called
Called to proclaim justice
To reach out loving hands
To speak God into the world
To love and laugh and hope.
We are called to be.