As we prepared to leave Vermont after Labor Day, I walked the property and bid the critters, the paths and favorite sites good-bye. We feasted with friends and hugged and prayed together. I find the transition difficult both emotionally and physically as we prepare for what is to come and bid farewell to what is behind; however, the leave-taking makes the reunions that much more precious. It is a cycle, three months or so in Vermont and the bulk of the year in Peru at this point. I wonder how the snow birds do this for so many years of their lives? Perhaps when the cultures and conditions are similar, it is not so bittersweet. For Ian and me, the loving and prayerful support of family and friends creates a feeling of quiet joy and peace as we drive down the hill and across the gorge onto the highway. We are blessed as we head south to Peru to begin another time of ministry. What lies ahead? — All sorts of adventures!! Friends and family will take care of our home in the woods in our absence, and I also like to think of angels standing guard over the pathways and entrances.
When living in the city of Lima, I often look back at the scenes in Vermont and remember the peace and quiet that restores my soul.
Mary Oliver’s poems speak so well of the joy of natural world. From the woods and fields, I move south to the parks and coast where I can still “walk slowly and bow often.” It is still the land of the Creator, and it is good, very good.
When I Am Among the Trees
When I am among the trees,
especially the willows and the honey locust,
equally the beech, the oaks and the pines,
they give off such hints of gladness,
I would almost say that they save me, and daily.
I am so distant from the hope of myself,
in which I have goodness, and discernment,
and never hurry through the world
but walk slowly, and bow often.
Around me the trees stir in their leaves
and call out, “Stay awhile.”
The light flows from their branches.
And they call again, “It’s simple,” they say,
“and you too have come
into the world to do this, to go easy, to be filled
with light, and to shine.”
~ Mary Oliver ~