Hanging over a small creek, in the woods surrounding a hermitage I visited for a few days beginning on New Year’s eve, were the softly dipping roots of this lovely Sugar Maple tree. Winter came while I was there, and I enjoyed watching the snow fall for hours (from the warmth of my heated hermitage). The many books and images on the green, and profoundly mystical, visions of Hildegard von Bingen (a Benedictine Abbess, 1098-1179) added much to the blizzard. Thank you to the Benedictine Sisters of Erie for creating a beautiful, accessible, and affordable retreat for seekers of solitude and spiritual renewal. I felt wrapped in their quiet and care. Another plus is the gorgeous pottery of artist-in-residence, Brother Thomas.
I’m inspired this week by a book by Christopher Uhl, entitled Developing Ecological Consciousness. Dr. Uhl has been a biology and environmental studies professor at Penn State for over 25 years. In the course of his illustrious career as a researcher, he found himself asking the same question I often ask as a scholar and teacher. How do we empower students to feel engaged in environmental issues rather than overwhelmed and hopeless? Continue reading
From the Jewish Reconstructionist Prayer Book: Attributed to Nachman of Bratzlav (translation by Shamai Kanter)
God, grant me the ability to be alone;
may it be my custom to go outdoors each day, among the trees and grass, among all growing things, and there may I be alone, and enter into prayer, to talk with the One to whom I belong. Continue reading