Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Leaves are Beginning to Turn

The kayaks are gone from across the cove. The red and yellow hulls leave a void in the area just above high tide. I suspect they disappeared Labor Day weekend, and I have only just now was able to discern what has changed in the view.

Yesterday we went to the Ocean Drive part of the Park Loop Road to catch sight of the waves from Hurricane Igor, some 600 miles off shore. The waves in the cove were small, with tiny white caps tipping seaward: an unusual sight! The waves at Thunder Hole were not what we had seen with the hurricane earlier this summer, but we were at low tide when there this time, so that likely affected what we saw. The crashing and splashing of the waves, the ebb and flow of the water, the multitude of colors that play as a wave gathers in the deep blue, becomes a dark line that moves closer to shore while growing in height, lifting to reveal a smooth pale green sheen that marks the top of the wave just before it begins to break and curl white that then crashes in sun-dazzled foam upon the rocks ... I know of few things better than finding a warm rock on which to sit and allowing oneself to be immersed in this centering environment.

We also saw our first signs of the tree leaves changing color. The bush outside St. John's in Southwest has had a red hue for a couple weeks, but we had not seen any Fall colors on any of the trees. As recently as last Friday, when we traveled to Bar Harbor do to a weekly grocery shopping, there was no hint of Autumn in the leaves of the trees. Yesterday we saw small splashes of color - a limb here, a solitary tree there: just enough to make us notice.

Papa Bear also took a picture of a Northern Gos Hawk (Accipiter gentilis) that landed in the trees just outside our windows, as well as a picture of a gull when we went to see the waves. The gull we had watched move from rock to rock as it evaded the waves. Papa Bear alleges that the hawk arrived to rest after a fierce battle with Ducky, the Creature of Duck Cove ... I was running at the time cannot say more about what happened.

This morning we greeted the day with popovers: not as good a those that Baby Bear makes, but still yummy!

More pictures from Papa Bear follow. His pictures are so amazing. I am grateful that he shares them.

Sunday, September 19, 2010


I have shared with many how special the cove has been this summer: different levels of water, different levels of light throughout the day. The ongoing, never-ending beauty is never tiring and always restorative. I feel so blessed to have witnessed what I have seen. And we have remarkable sunsets, too. Today, 19 September 2010 (International Talk Like a Pirate Day!), Papa Bear was able to capture the sunset presented to us. I share with you two of his pictures. They are both high dynamic range and show that of which I speak.

Flying Mountain

Saturday, 18 September 2010, was a marvelous day so we went to Flying Mountain for a hike. The hike is categorized as moderate by the guide books and we found the categorization fair. There is a steady somewhat steep climb/scramble up to the low peak, some marvelous views from the top towards Somes Sound and the Western Way, and then a steady and somewhat steep descent to the Valley Cove. Papa Bear took many amazing pictures, a few of which I have shared. We had chicken stew and homemade biscuits for dinner, followed by an apple crisp. It was yummy!

Sunday I had church, Papa Bear paid bills, and then we watched television. I slept a bit, we had a late and easy dinner.

Trail Head


Western Way - IOD's



More trail




Valley Cove


Trail end


Sunday worship, 19 September 2010

I attended the forum prior to worship this morning at St. John's. It was the first time I had been in the undercroft of the church, and I found this prayer on a bulletin board:

When I am hungry, send me someone to feed
When I am thirsty, send me someone who needs a drink
When I am old, send me someone to warm
When I am sad, send me someone to cheer
When I need understanding, send me someone who needs mine
When I need to be looked after, send me someone to care for
When I think only of myself, draw my thoughts to another
So let us pray as though everything depends of God
And work as though God depends on us for everything

It did not have an author, but is an amazing prayer, in my opinion.

The forum was led by a person who ministers in a prison in Baltimore, Maryland. He shared that the number one problem for prisoners is the death of a loved one: they are not allowed to leave for funerals, and so the loss of a loved one with no closure is especially difficult. I cannot imagine how challenging his job must be.

The celebrant at worship was the Rev. Lawrence Estey. Scriptures read were Jeremiah 8:18-9:1, Psalm 79:1-9, 1 Timothy 2:1-7, and Luke 16:1-13.

He talked of how disappointed we can be when we entrust something of value to someone else, and then they disappoint us. He talked of how we can often forgive the other if it is someone we love, but how suspicious we are of those with whom we deal commerically: we will change rather than try to understand what happened that caused the disappointment. He, too, used the parable of the prodigal son (not a part of today's readings) in his sermon. He assured us that there is no score keeping allowed. We need to forgive and move on. We need to stop counting our wrongs and simply forgive. And keep on forgiving, for such is the kingdom of God, for such is the Grace of God. Doing so might change a small part of the world. And that might make a huge difference.

The words about this lesson are my interpretation of what was said. The actual words said and ideas presented belong to Rev. Estey and were delivered in a manner that was more interesting and likely clearer than what I have shared here.

During announcements, we learned that there were three strong candidates for the associate rector position at St. John's/on Mount Desert Island. I can only imagine the decision was difficult given the candidates whose names I heard: any choice would have been a great asset to this community of faith. Emily Blair Stribling will be the new associate rector at St. John's, with an island-wide connection to all parishes. And so the experiment here in shared pastoral resources continues. I am sad I will not be here to be a part of it.

Sunday Worship, 12 September 2010

I loved worship at St. John's the Divine in Southwest Harbor, Maine on Sunday, 12 September 2010. The Rev. Dr. Cynthia Bourgeault was the Celebrant, and her sermon was amazing. The scriptures from which she spoke were Jeremiah 4:11-12, 22-28; Psalm 14, 1 Timothy 1:12-17, and Luke 15:1-10. She also included the parable of the prodigal son, which follows the parable of the lost sheep and the lost coin in Luke.

She reminded us that being lost is not the end of the world, for we will be found by God. She talked about the great celebrations in the parables over finding that which was lost, and recalled to us how we, too, after finding something for which we have been searching tend to feel joyous and share our news with someone who is near, how our relationship with that we have found seems more intense than our relationship with all the things for which we have not been searching. She shared that she believes that this joy is what is reflected in Luke 15:7 - that there is more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over 99 righteous persons who have no need to repent. She said this was not so much permission to run amuck and repent as an expression of the special joy we have when something lost is found. She talked of the older son in the parable of the prodigal son and the unfairness he found in the joy of his father with the return of his youngest son. She said when we start to think in terms of fairness, we need to stop: we need to consider why we are feeling that way. She cautioned that hardness of heart is a fatal condition. Jesus is not a teacher of morality but a transformer of consciousness. Jesus wants us to stop and see the world he sees. If we can see it, we can live in this world without distorting it. Jesus is the fulfillment of Ezekiel 36:26: (New International Version (©1984)) "I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh." She called Christ the Spiritual Cardiologist - an image I love!! With a heart of flesh, we can authentically connect to the world, and to each other. Love is whole, love is seamless and yields joy and fullness. And love is a choice. Exchange of mercy makes manifest the mercy of God.

I so love the idea of Jesus as a Spiritual Cardiologist. To help us forgive ourselves, to help us love ourselves, so that we can live with others. Simply amazing.

The words about this lesson are my interpretation of what was said. The actual words said and ideas presented belong to Rev. Bourgealt and were delivered in a manner that was more interesting and likely clearer than what I have shared here.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Busy week!

It has been a busy week here at the House on the Cove!! We have worked outside on the yard, had people in to fix some things that needed attention, and I attended (via telephone) a meeting in my community at the House on the Creek and also a class at the Alcyon Center in Seal Cove. The class was on the Gospel of Mary Magdalene, a soon-to-be-published translation from the Laconneau tradition. It was an intense day-long experience that required a huge amount of concentration on my part, which I found really tiring. Running has been going well. Yes, I will post about worship last week, which was amazing, but will do that in a separate post (for those who want to ignore those posts.) Our weather is getting cooler (though it is nice during the days - in the 60's!) The Cat, who spent much time away from us for a while, has rejoined us for evenings (she still sleeps by herself during the mornings - she does need her 18 hours of beauty sleep, after all!) We continue to enjoy the water and the cove: one evening at low tide there were many pools plus some ground visible, too, and the rays of the setting sun painted the pools pure gold and gave a lovely view that we had not seen previously. We are savoring our days here.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Cooler temperatures are here ...

We will likely have some warm days between now and the end of our visit here, but this week has been mostly cool. Tuesday we arose late and went seeking a late breakfast/early lunch. We found a couple favorite places closed (owners taking a few days after the season to regroup before the winter) so we tried a new place - Sea Biscuit Cafe. It is, for the fall, open only for lunch. Food was great, wait staff was accommodating and pleasant and given that it was the first day they were open, it was a good meal at a reasonable price.

Upon returning home, Baby Bear and Boo Boo packed to return to their home. Baby Bear and Mama Bear picked more blackberries for them to take with them. Their journey home was uneventful and they kindly let us know that they had arrived home safely. We ate leftovers for dinner that night. Wednesday we spent washing clothes, catching up on cleaning, and resting from our weekend. We had breakfast for dinner. Thursday was errands-out day as we did our grocery shopping and other tasks. I had book club last evening and they again kindly put up with my having to connect and reconnect. I am learning better how to keep the connection active and tried to be more participative last evening. My biggest frustration thus far is when someone will start a story and I will lose the audio as they get to the conclusion. Argh!! We did our usual analysis of the book, and laughed along the way, so much so that Papa Bear reported that he could hear us laughing (he was downstairs, I was upstairs). Today we have gone searching for berries at the Farmer's Market (no luck) and mailed a package. We had the broken window replaced today, and the repair person has a suggestion for how to replace a missing piece of trim on another window. We have a few more things to do here to the cottage and are slowly working on them. We are having a lazy day on this cool and cloudy day and are considering hiking to the fire tower on Beech Mountain or hiking Flying Mountain tomorrow, when it is suppose ot be sunny and warm. We will make chicken enchiladas with green chile enchilada sauce this evening: yum!!

We asked Boo Boo for his recipes and since he is a person who cooks by seasoning and tasting, he has given us his best guesses, so we will be trying some of his recipes in the not-too-distant future. We LOVE the way he cooks!!

It is amazing how quickly the time here has passed so quickly.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Labor Day: Beech Mountain Cliffs

Labor Day was much calmer wind-wise so we decided to hike the Beech Mountain Cliffs trail with Baby Bear and Boo Boo. We took the short-and-easy way up and did the loop that provides great views of The Ducks (islands beyond the Cranberries in the Atlantic), the mountains to the east (St. Sauveur, Acadia, and those on the other side of Somes Sound), Echo Lake, and the far end of Somes Sound. The views, for the hike effort, are amazing. We then took the longer way back to the parking area going towards the Canada Cliffs area before turning back to the parking area.

Boo Boo had been marinating honey curry chicken since Sunday and cooked it on the grill for us after we returned from our hike. He made (on the stove) green beans with beans, roasted red peppers, garlic, and seasonings. Boo Boo has many wonderful qualities and among them is that he is a fabulous cook. We devoured his dinner. Papa Bear made a batch of pineapple sorbet that we had after dinner had settled. Papa Bear and Boo Boo watched baseball and football; Baby Bear and Mama Bear played on their computers and read.

Pictures are courtesey of Papa Bear and are from our hike: views to the Duck Islands, of the Beech Mountain Cliffs, and of the top of Somes Sound.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Being Prepared (Sunday Worship)

Mama Bear worshiped again at St. John's the Divine in Southwest Harbor. The Rev. Alice Downs was the celebrant. Today we did not hear the names of those who died in the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts this past week. Perhaps there was no one who died. Perhaps they have stopped with the names because the Iraq conflict is concluded. I do not know, but rather missed the opportunity to pray for those serving our nation in this way, and to pray for wise, just and merciful world leaders to help us move to living in peace with others.

The sermon today was based on Luke 14:25-33. With all the preparations everyone here was urged to do for Hurricane Earl last week, Rev. Downs reminded us that Jesus, too, taught about being prepared. She shared a story from Katrina - a long and good friend of hers lived in New Orleans, and they believed in being prepared. So when the call came to evacuate New Orleans prior to Katrina, they grabbed their always-packed evacuation suitcase, their cache of documents and cash, and moved to their much-farther-inland motel: the mother, the father, the two daughters, the two cats, and the six carrier pigeons (pets of one of the daughters.) The storm was horrific, but after it passed, they checked out of their motel and began to press homeward. They had a chain saw, and they would drive down a road until they were stopped by a felled tree. They would cut it, move it, and press homeward. They did this repeatedly and became tired, but kept moving. At last they came to Baton Rouge, where they found they could go no further. There was no place to stay, so they were living in their car: the mother, the father, the two daughters, the two cats, and the six carrier pigeons. They would take turns going to a nearby fast food restaurant to clean as best they could in the restroom, get something eat, sit in the air conditioning a bit, and then they would return to their car. After several days of these activities, the manager of shop came to them. He looked at them, and asked, "Are you evacuees?" They said they were. He said, "I don't think you should come to this place any more." After a pause, he continued, "I think you should come to my home." And he closed the shop and took them home: the father, the mother, the two daughters, the two cats and the six carrier pigeons. They lived with this man and his wife until they could return to their own home in New Orleans. They were prepared for a storm. They were not prepared for this man's generosity. The woman tells of this event changing her life. And Rev. Downs wondered how many of us are prepared to offer God's love in the way this restaurant owner did, and how many of us are prepared to receive God's love when it is offered to us. Jesus tells us to be prepared for this type of gift - to give it and to receive it. It was a powerful and sobering sermon and provided much for Mama Bear to ponder.

The words about this lesson are my interpretation of what was said. The actual words said and ideas presented belong to Rev. Downs and were delivered in a manner that was more interesting and likely clearer than what I have shared here.

After worship, Mama Bear used her Droid-X to take a few pictures - of the flowers, which she learned today are provided by a man on the Island who is not a member of this family of faith but who loves it and so grows and then cuts and arranges the flowers each week, as well as a picture of the crane mobile, representing homes for peace throughout the world.

More after Earl Adventures

Papa Bear and Mama Bear continue to enjoy having Baby Bear and Boo Boo visiting. Boo Boo made us blueberry flan that is creamy and light with a definite blueberry flavor: a huge YUM!!! Boo Boo also helped us resolve the purpose of two light switches that seemed to be connected to nothing: they are, in fact, both connected to one outlet that Papa Bear and Mama Bear do not seem to use often as heretofor we could not determine their purpose. Tonight we played a girls vs. boys Trivial Pursuit game, which the boys won.

As I mentioned yesterday, we went to Seawall, a rocky area of the coast, just before Earl left this area. This cloud was amazing to watch as we observed the waves splashing and the southwestern horizon becoming blue and then spreading to the northeast as Earl departed.

Later in the day, when we went to the Ocean Drive area of the Park Loop Road, where we saw much larger crashing and splashing waves. Given the number of pictures we took as a group, and the number of people I saw there taking pictures, I confess I am a bit curious how many will be published to the web in some manner. I will likely never know, but I suspect it is a rather large number.

Today it was windy - much windier than had been predicted, and it was blowing in just the right direction to push water into the cove with such force that we had real white caps on our normally quiet cove. It was also much colder than recent days: we closed ALL the windows today.

We took time this afternoon to visit the Bass Harbor Head Light. The views from the shore yield two channel buoys as well as the light house. We have noticed in our travels that harbors are emptier as owners pulled their boats from the water or moved them to safer harbors.

Pictures today are courtesy of Papa Bear. The Bass Harbor Head Light picture is an HDR picture.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Earl waved at us ...

Hurricane Earl, which was a tropical storm when it sped quickly north well off-shore from us, waved a bit during and after its passage. We had a bit of rain and a small amount of breeze here at the House on the Cove. We understand that Earl had intensified again before it hit Nova Scotia, and that there are widespread power outages there. We hope everyone is okay and that their lives are soon back to normal. Papa Bear, Boo Boo and Mama Bear went to Seawall to view the waves there this morning, while Baby Bear slept in a bit (her choice: she somehow knew the waves would not be what they would be later in the day) and then she made popovers for us. We saw an amazing cloud while at Seawall. Upon arrival home, we had Baby Bear's popovers, which are better than the popovers at Jordan Pond Tea House. They are just perfect and we devoured them with strawberry and blueberry jam accompanied by cups of fair trade organic cocoa, available from the supermarket here.

In the afternoon, we went to the Park Loop Road and visited along the Thunderhole area, to view some post-Earl spectacular surf. The rangers patrolled regularly and asked those who had moved too close to the surf to move back, trying to prevent a recurrence of the tragedy that happened post-Hurricane Bill last year.

We had a great time, walking along to see the surf from different vantage points, and taking photos along the way. The surf continued to build while we were there, and with the light breeze, the smell of the ocean, the soothing sound of the pounding surf and the wonderous display, we had a perfect afternoon.

We had a simple dinner tonight, and Boo Boo is making blueberry flan for us to enjoy later.

The picture today (more of the pictures from today may appear in another blog: we took many, many pictures today) was taken with Mama Bear's Droid-X, and is a single frame from a video she shot. In the background you can see the line of white waves breaking continuously at Old Soaker. Mama Bear has been wondering what happened at the Old Sow near Campobello during the storm there.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Park Loop Road: we road it!! (and Hurricane Earl approaches)

Baby Bear and Boo Boo are visiting for a short vacation this Labor Day weekend. Mama Bear and Baby Bear road the Park Loop Road this morning. We only did the loop, so the distance was just over 18 miles. We started early, and began with an uphill/rolling stretch that turned into a long uphill (up to the beginning of the road to the summit of Cadillac Mountain) and then a wonderful downhill followed by a killer hill just up from High Seas (a "summer cottage," i.e., many rooms, no heat - unless it has been renovated) and then the killer hill up to the Schooner Head road, and then an easy ride by Thunder Hole (it was booming today) and then back to our parking space. It was fantastic, and we celebrated with popovers at the Jordan Pond Tea House (and even remembered to bring popovers back to Papa Bear and Boo Boo.)

Hurricane Earl is approaching. Track continues to change but it looks like it might be a bit west of here, and we will have rain and wind during the overnight. We are likely to lose power and Internet and cable tv, but we now have a generator, and many games and puzzles, and food a plenty, so we should be fine (though it may be a couple days before I can post again.) The Park is taking precautions, too, closing some roads near the shore in an attempt to offer some viewing areas of the surf yet still afford safety for those doing the viewing.

The pictures today were taken with Mama Bear's Droid-X and show some of what Mama Bear and Baby Bear saw - a traffic jam on the Park Loop Road (some maintenance work had briefly closed both lanes), a view to Eagle Lake on the first long climb, surf at Thunder Hole, and our happy smiles upon completion of our ride.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Radical Hospitality

As is my custom, and for sustenance, Mama Bear went to St. John's for worship on Sunday last. The Rev. Emily Blair Stribling, who has taught Comparative Religion, was the Celebrant.

During this time of nourishment, I was struck by the following which touched me:

  • More than one person said hello to me, one person introduced themselves to me.

  • The sight of three small children, praying after taking the Eucharist: the oldest, perhaps five, knew how to kneel and position the hands; the middle, perhaps four, working at knowing what to do; the youngest, perhaps an old two or young three, having no clue, but imitating what was observed in siblings: there was something holy in what they did and how they did it - the prayers of angels were amongst us!

  • A mobile of many origami cranes of many colors hangs from the rafters at St. John's these days, drifting slowly in one direction or the other in the stirrings of the spirit. A line in the bulletin says: "The origami peace cranes represent our hopes for peace throughout the world."

  • The smell of the candles after they were extinguished at the end of the service: is there anything richer than the smell of candles? At St. John's, we sit and listen during the Postlude, gathering ourselves for return to the world. This Sunday was the first I had noticed the candle smell - perhaps it was caused by the way the spirit was moving amongst us.

  • The flowers at St. John's are always spectacular. Someone with a true gift is selecting and arranging them. This past Sunday was no exception.

  • An Isaac Watts paraphrase of Psalm 23 was sung. It was startling to hear these familiar words in such a different, beautiful and meaningful way.

  • The sermon today was amazing. My understanding of the lesson (which may not be what was actually said) is that using the scripture passages were from Jeremish, Psalm, Hebrews and Luke's lesson from 14:1, 7-14; the Celebrant shared that the scriptures spoke to her of hospitality and humility, and that the two are linked: how can we offer hospitality if we have no humility? And, as Christians, we are called to offer radical hospitality: hospitality to those who have done nothing to deserve it and who cannot possibly repay whatever hospitality they receive. She talked of the tensions at the dinner described in Luke. Jesus had been invited not to offer hospitality but so that those who he was making uncomfortable could keep an eye on him. Seating at dinners like this one was arranged far in advance, much like seating at a State Dinner at the White House. Placement of seating was linked to honor and status of a person. Jesus criticized the seating process and went on to criticize the guest list. What must the hosts and other guests have felt? And yet, Jesus was trying to give a glimpse of the kingdom of God, to share the good news of how we become a part of that kingdom. We must exult others and humble ourselves. She talked of how she has been struck, given these teachings, of the conflicts surrounding the proposed mosque near Ground Zero in New York City. Many were killed there. We have a responsibility to build a shared future in this space. She recognized that the pain that has resulted from the initial attack and this proposal is ongoing and is palpable. She had no solution to offer, but hoped that informed and sensitive people could struggle with the issue to find a wise, just, and merciful resolution. Jesus tells us that we all pray to one God. Our God is that same God that Al Quaeda members worship, the same God that Taliban members worship, the same God that Israeli's worship, the same God that Hammas members worship, ... you get the picture. One God and we are to work together for common understanding, for the common good, to form bonds, to form relationships. God sees us, not us and them. Such is the Radical Hospitality to which we are called. God's table is open to all; all are invited; all are valued; all are affirmed; all are healed. What an amazing and sustaining message of hope and living!

I left filled, humbled and peaceful. Those feelings are always a good way to leave this space.

The words about this lesson are my interpretation of what was said. The actual words said and ideas presented belong to Rev. Stribling and were delivered in a manner that was more interesting and likely clearer than what I have shared here.