November 30, 2008

Summer's Shroud

Yesterday I finished cleaning up the garden and putting away all the summer yard furniture. The table and chairs on the porch were marked by the leaves that had fallen. They are gone now, but they have left their imprint behind. Like the Shroud of Turin, the surfaces still bear the shape of that which was alive and green. Look closely and you can see summer -- even though it is snowing this morning and another kind of shroud will soon wrap the earth. But the promise is in the images that remain, and the promise points to another summer yet to come, to the life of the leaves that remains behind now to nourish the earth with rich humus, the promise of summer waiting underneath the wrappings of winter.

November 23, 2008

Two Parables of Travel

The plane was full and the overhead bins were all occupied, so folks had to check their carry-on bags. One woman carefully removed a plastic bag containing pottery bowl from her suitcase before it went into the baggage compartment. On the plane, she tucked it into the side of the bin over her seat. During the flight, another person opened the bin and the bowl came crashing down. We could all hear the sound of the pottery shattering. As we left the plane and she was leaving behind the broken bowl, she was telling me how careful she had been, all for nothing. And I said: Well, it's important not to travel with anything you're too attached to, isn't it.

We drag ourselves through endless airports, burdened with all the things that we must have with us at all times. People line up at check-in counters, weighing their stuff. Bags are opened and contents shifted to meet the requirements and avoid the extra fees: underwear and pajamas, medicine, shoes, computers, makeup, books and pillows. But I never see anyone giving the excess things away.