Thursday, August 11, 2011

Getting back to work

It is Thursday, and quite a few Tuesdays have passed since I last blogged. I am pleased to say that I think I may be back on track. Tuesdays will be blogging in early morning after I get to the office. And after I take a minute to sit in the sanctuary and say a prayer.

At this point, I have settled into my apartment as much as I will. The 910 square feet turns out to be way too small – and is arranged in ways that do not suit my life. I have signed a seven month lease, so am biding my time. The apartment complex runs with the Bosque, a God’s place in this New Mexico high desert if ever there was one. I walk this area some mornings and wonder where all the water comes from. I know that our apartment complex coaxes green grass much more than I am comfortable with – even in Pennsylvania, we were concerned about water usage.

Another sight that impresses me as I walk on the Bosque are birds. On Tuesday morning, a local hummer fluttered around me for at least two minutes. I stood still (as in a tai chi bamboo-in-the-wind pose) the tiny wings flapped and the long beak investigated whether I was a source of food or not (not). With my eyes, I looked to see if there were flowers around and I saw none, though after I started walking again, I noticed tiny blue flowers barely sticking out of earth crushed by footprints of runners and walkers. I marveled at the smallness of the flowers and that I had not noticed them as I meditated – what ever happened to Thich Naht Hanh’s reminder about walking with mind attending to surroundings. The hummer left me to find food at a close flower and then I started noticing other birds (swallows ? - I really need a NM bird guide) that were dive-bombing the running water. There were a few goldfinches too.

Speaking of birds, early my first Sunday in NM, but not my first Sunday at church, I walked to church and went in the open door. No one saw me at 6:15 (the door was open because an early group gathers) so I wandered around this new church I am called to pastor. There to greet me was a roadrunner – trapped by the huge glass windows and desperately trying to find a way out. I tried to help, but without success. The poor bird was terrified and kept hopping around. She must have found the open door, because I have not seen her since.

New Mexico is an awesome place. The high desert lives up to the name “Land of Enchantment” and except for the total lack of rain, is pretty awesome. It would be foolish to expect much rain in a desert, but we need some. This season of the year is billed as “monsoon” season. From many years in Colorado, I remember arroyos filled with boiling, rolling water at least two to three times each year. A friend came from Colorado Springs and we went to the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center while she visited for the day. We stayed to see the dancing demonstration at 2PM. We sat in shade, the two dancers were in the scorching sun. The lead dancer addressed a question about “rain dances” and responded that all dances are rain dances. Rain is so crucial to every aspect of life that asking the gods for rain every chance is a prime concern. We could make it one of ours. Water keeps us alive – even much water at a time can be managed. A public service announcement here reminds Albuquerque residents that a tremendous water system keeps this city alive. It also reminds locals that we are responsible for keeping water clean.

So – thoughts spanning several Tuesdays from New Mexico. In all, I find that God has been so good to me by giving me this call to St. Paul’s United Church of Christ in Rio Rancho New Mexico. I try to follow Meister Eckhart’s advice when I pray "If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, "thank you," that would suffice." So, I say thank you to God, daily.

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