Thursday, October 31, 2013


This should be All Saints Day since south Louisianans moved Halloween from today to yesterday because the weatherman predicted rain would fall this afternoon. Hay la bas, we couldn't miss Halloween! To avoid the bad weather, trick or treaters arrived last night to collect their "enough for a year's supply" of those teeth-rotting goodies: Candy. Now, the devils, witches, ghosts, vampires, ghosts, spider men, and various "haints" have disappeared, some of them having been hauled away in parent-driven golf carts complete with radios.

It's time to honor the faithful departed. After a hectic week of settling in "The Berry" again, I feel the need to contemplate higher matters. "Things" were broken in my home, and we scurried around fixing them in such a huff, you'd have thought house/yard inspectors were chasing us. We've never been Garden of the Month nominees, but, still...And now, the hair police will soon be knocking on my door because during our sojourn on The Mountain at Sewanee, I let my locks grow longer than usual.  Although rain is predicted for the afternoon, I'll probably venture out to take care of the unkempt tresses and resume more hecktivity.

However, this morning I put on Mozart's Piano Concertos 19 and 20, locked the doors, and sat down to re-read Anne Morrow Lindberg's Gift From the Sea for the fifth time. Her meditations on the Zerrissenheit of contemporary women (torn-to-pieces hood) or fragmentation of their lives (even the life of one who's retired!) spoke to my condition of foolishly trying to get everything in order so I could resume living in "The Berry." 

In Lindbergh's chapter entitled "Moon Shell," she writes that mechanical aids "save us time and energy, but they're often the way to dissipate one's time and energy in more purposeless occupation, more accumulations which supposedly simplify life but actually burden it, more possessions which we have not time to use or appreciate, more diversions to fill up the void..." 

Ouchand does a broken fridge/freezer qualify for a "burdensome possession," or did searching for and changing ice in a camp-out ice box for several days prove to be more burdensome? And could we see better in the gloom cast by all those burned-out light bulbs? From whence did the dried-up lizard in the bathtub comeand should I have left him there to join me in my nightly bath?  What about the dust of seven months' standing that threatened to arouse my allergies?  Did the mildew and mold under the carport and eaves qualify as a "feverish pursuit of centrifugal activities which only lead in the end to more fragmentation?"

Perhaps not, but Lindbergh's admonition about taking care of contemplative time resonated with me this morning. I agree with her statement: "one lives like a child or a saint in the immediacy of here and now.  Every day, every act is an island, washed by time and space...and has an island's completion."

So I'll observe All Saints Day prematurely this morning by centering down and acknowledging that too much striving for order hinders a peaceful, grace-filled life. On this day, I'll try to contemplate the spiritual bond between The Church Militant here on earth and the Church Triumphant in heaven by communing with St. Francis, whose statue guards my patio, which I can see from my study window.  I'll also remember Saint Anne Lindbergh on her island in the sky, who reminds us that "we must be still in the axis of a wheel in the midst of [our] activities...not only for [our] own salvation but for the salvation of family life, of society, perhaps even of our civilization."    
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