About us
Daily Reflections
Special Issues

Mailing list
Bookmark this site

Daily Reflections Earth Healing

Daily Reflections
by Al Fritsch, S.J.


A series of written meditations and reflections



Sustainable Living Through Appropriate Technology

by Al Fritsch & Paul Gallimore

Help to keep Earth Healing Daily Reflections online


Text-only version of this page
Table of Contents: Daily Reflections

Click on date below to read the day's reflection:

March 2004

march calendar

Copyright © 2004 by Al Fritsch



March 2004 Reflections  

March 1 Backyard Gardening

March 2 Fasting and Feasting

March 3 Know Tree Benefits

March 4 Return to Reverence

March 5 Becoming our Land

March 6 Honoring Elders

March 7 Consolation through Transfiguration

March 8 Garden Variety Selection

March 9 Prune Trees and Shrubs

March 10 Natural vs. Synthetic Fibers

March 11 Praying from the Heart: Sacred Space

March 12 Honor the Sabbath

March 13 An Underground House

March 14 Living Water

March 15 Establish Quiet Zones

March 16 Mobilize Senior Citizens

March 17 Think Organic Green

March 18 Non-Timber Forest Products

March 19 Watch for the Birds

March 20 Celebrate Spring's Arrival with Greens

March 21 The Blind Man and Faith

March 22 Green Recreation Activities

March 23 Sharing a Limited Habitat

March 24 Travel Lightly

March 25 The Incarnation

March 26 Genetic Engineering?

March 27 Harness Wind Power

March 28 Adulterous Woman

March 29 Solar-Powered Car

March 30 Metanoia

March 31 Faith, Fiction and Fantasy






March 1, 2004 Backyard Gardening

Many have the urge in March to grow a garden. With some

encouragement, a little space, seeds and tools the task is a



Survey the place. Plot our the space and find out the type of

soil around the house (it may be fill dirt), the amount of sun or

insolation on the area (trees or buildings may partly block the

sun), and the condition of the surface ("wire" or crabgrass may

have taken over the area). If the task of preparing the soil is

going to take effort, either enlist help, get a power tool, or

scale back expectations for the first year.


Multipurpose space. Most of us have to be creative with the

limited external domestic space available. In space-starved areas

plant while allowing playing areas for kids, picnic areas, and sun

and entertainment space. Backyard gardening may include seed

plants for birds or flowers for butterflies.


Plan what to plant. Selections are based on what the residents

like to eat and on what can grow best in the given space. Shady

areas should be planted with certain greens and other vegetables

such as cucumbers which like the shade. Crops such as corn should

not be planted in limited space. Pumpkins or gourds are okay

provided they could run across non-tilled green space. Consider

native plants which thrive and are more hearty. If perennial, they

take less care and do not need to be planted again each year.


Start early and small. To begin at the earliest possible time

is the secret to good gardening. Some early sowing may not survive

but covering tender plants with cloth or newspaper on cold nights

could assist in achieving the early garden. Don't overplant one or

other vegetable unless you really like them. People tire of excess

produce and prefer variety (see March 8th). Some of these selected

herbs, flowers or vegetables can be placed in pots which take less

room and can be rearranged during times of recreational use of the

growing space. The walls of the house or out buildings could serve

as back wall for a lattice for vines such as tomatoes, peas, beans,

grapes or kiwis.


Consider aesthetical aspects. Gardeners are like painters who

are drawn to envision what the place will look like in spring,

summer and autumn. Throughout the year the color-changing

landscape makes the challenge all the greater. Will colors blend

well with the changing background? Are gardeners willing to

undergo trial and error of several growing seasons to perfect the

garden picture? Does the garden enhance the residence itself?

Document gardening progress. Keep records of types of

vegetables and yields, a map of planted areas for future reference,

notes on weather or unusual conditions or pests, and also pictures

of the garden during various seasons of the year.


March 2, 2004 Fasting and Feasting

Fasting can be a fairly short undertaking for some of us who

find it difficult because we like to eat frequently and find the

periods between regular meals to be periods of headaches and

general weakness. As senior years come, and the mild Church rules

exempt those older than 59 from fasting, we feel more free to do

what we can in other forms of self abnegation ranging from less

entertainment to greater sharing of time with those in need. But

expanding bellies and increasing weight make fasting a good thing

to look forward to in Lent, that most opportune time of the year,

when winter wanes and just before outdoor work begins in earnest.


The fasting season. Actually for those who like food, Lent is

sandwiched between Mardi Gras and Easter, both known for some

degree of feasting. The Cajuns in Louisiana have a traditional

gumbo made from all the leftovers such as chicken and animal fats

which are to be used up before the fasting season. It becomes a

community exercise which expresses the desire to feast together

before and fast together during Lent, so that all may rightly feast

together after Lent when celebrating the rising of the Lord.


Spiritual aspects. Fasting is difficult and is counter to the

natural tendencies to fill the belly with goodies. Fasting opens

the mind to spiritual matters, move one to repentance, enlivens the

soul, sharpens a spiritual focus, and improve one's daily conduct.

The Christian realizes that fasting has both a spiritual and a

physical dimension and that a spirituality that omits concern for

the body is not an authentic one.


Physical aspects. We know that the body enlivens the spirit

and the care for physical and spiritual life gives a greater degree

of unity to the human person. The need to review and curb certain

eating habits is a good practice, for dietary practices are

involved in about half of all physical maladies, from high blood

pressure to obesity. To fast is to control weight gain, but that

is easier said than done. Older people see their muscle turn to

fat and sustaining muscle takes far more energy than maintaining

fat. Thus the weight increase of older years is linked with less

physical activity.


Suggestions. Several suggestions for those who fast include:

occupy the mind with non-food thoughts; drink more water to

replace the desire for food; keep snacks and rich or fatty foods

at an inconvenient distance; and offer up the fasting effort for a

particular person each day, so that the benefits are both

individual and social. We should remember that the Lord teaches us

to fast in silence, so that only God knows what is happening.

Aftermath. And when the fasting period expires, don't hesitate

to feast (moderately) with a good spirit and refreshed soul.


Fasting in Lent is part of a transitory activity. We are preparing

ourselves for Easter and the risen Lord; we are also preparing

ourselves for the coming of God's Kingdom.


March 3, 2004 Know Tree Benefits

Common benefits: Most people can list a series of benefits from

trees from fuel wood and foliage to fruit and nuts. Most of us see

trees for their beauty, and thus find an aesthetic benefit which does

not have immediate utilitarian value. Trees, and the leaf litter

under them, permit the soil to act like a sponge and take in much of

the fall rain and retain it so it will not immediately run off.

Trees help restore and replenish water tables and aquifers as well as

retarding the runoff and thus reducing soil erosion.


Oxygen and Carbon Dioxide. In elementary general science classes

students learn that forests are like the lungs of the Earth, except

that flora take in the carbon dioxide and give off the oxygen we need

to live. Most people have also heard that trees take up some of the

excess carbon dioxide now being released by our fossil fuel economy,

and thus act as air purifiers. In fact, the trees of the world

utilize billions of tons of carbon dioxide every year.


Trees as shade and wind break. We know that trees furnish shade

in our individual lawn and home, but that has extended benefits as

well. Entire countries like Haiti, which have experienced

deforestation, find that the previous condensation of moisture into

rain over cooler shaded land masses no longer occurs when the dense

green forest cover is missing. The climate is affected by the

presence or absence of trees in more ways than just reducing the

effects of global warming. Urban areas are simply cooler in summer

when urban forestry is taken seriously enough to ensure tree cover

for residential areas. When in summer we move from urban areas to a

forest, we can experience the temperature difference. Urban trees

save energy otherwise expended for air-conditioning.


Trees as economic advantages. Trees found on lawns or near

residences often enhance the resale value of property.


Trees as Protection. Birds and animals find protection in the

dense growth and so gravitate there to roost or nest. Though giving

cooling effect in summer, the tree covered areas reduce the wind

chill and offer a safer and warmer haven in winter time. While

forests can offer privacy for residents, they may be regarded by some

as dangerous secluded places.


Trees as Social Benefits. Drs. William Sullivan and Frances

Kuo of the University of Illinois interviewed three hundred residents

of buildings of identical architecture. The only difference was that

half the buildings were surrounded by trees and half the buildings by

urban deserts of concrete. Where there was "accessible nature,"

people reported stronger ties and better relations with their

neighbors than did individuals in the more barren housing areas.

Individuals near pockets of trees felt safer and had less violence in

their homes, and would be most likely to use reasoning to overcome

conflict. The researchers found that trees reduced mental fatigue

and people were more likely to be future-oriented and to generate

creative solutions to problems.


March 4, 2004 Return to Reverence

A Bygone Age. Respectful relations, courtesy and proper manners

may be wishful thinking about our past. However, examples from

abrupt e-mail to foul-sounding talk shows, from rude driving habits

to curt everyday discussion makes us wonder whether civility is

eroding in our land. Do we still respect -- our past, our family

life, our neighbors, our religious practice, our state and nation and

the leaders, our environment, the political process, commercial and

professional advice, and our elders and wise folks? Is it possible

that we have allowed the erosion of respect through silence when we

should have spoken, through our own haste and lack of manners, or

through pranks, jokes, back-biting, unresolved disputes and cynicism?

Has a past courteous respect wasted away, or was it ever there? Did

it erode imperceptibly through commercialism, wars, legalizing

abortion, crass exploitation of the land, and the ever expanding gulf

between the rich and poor? What about MTV, ready cash through

credit cards, talk about rights alone instead of rights and

responsibilities, and ease of access to unprocessed information?


The good old days. Maybe we were respectful in the past, but

that may be quite romantic hindsight. Whatever the past in its

fullness, we get clues that there is a lack of reverence today for

life, for country, for leaders, or for church practice. "I for me"

can play havoc to any common atmosphere of respect. To pay respects

to someone who is sick or to the bereaved is an age old custom. To

pause when the funeral passes is still another such practice. To

welcome people into a community, to offer a seat to an elderly

person, or to send get well cards are expressions of respect.


Why eroding? Why is respect eroding? Is it a decadence in our

culture? Is it the break down of marriage, family, community and

neighborhood all occur when respect for others fail. Is there a

championing of irreverence and informality in Hollywood and the mass

media? Is there a need to champion a return to reverence? Some

suggest that the breakdown in reverence extends both to the people

and to the Earth itself -- broken down communities and broken down

biosystems as mountains are leveled, valleys filled, and the

vegetative cover stripped away to satisfy distant chipmills. If we

are persuaded to think our region is nearly worthless, then we are

being lulled into silence when the destruction proceeds. When

corporate campaigns of materialistic advertisement bombard us with

the irrelevant and the sensual, it is apparent that any sense of

reverence fades away and we are left isolated and powerless to change

the tide of events.


Regaining Respect. Maybe we begin with the formality of our

prayer life. This is the start at regaining reverence for the God

within, for our own existence as temples of the Holy Spirit, and for

our relations with each and every person around us. Do we treat

others with reverence? Few people confess irreverence as a fault or

a sin, but it does lie behind many of the other faults we perform.

A certain formality may be where Americans regain a respect for

respect and thus regain local and national civility in institutions.


March 5, 2004 Becoming Our Land

We become our land because we are rooted in it, we see it as

mother of us all, we are able to find a unity with others through the

tilling of it, and we love it with a love that fertilizes it and

allows it to be fruitful. Like beloved plants and animals, the land

itself knows when it is loved. We become like the Creator in the

love we give, a love that knows no bounds and allows us to extend

this in a universal manner to all the creation around us.


Tillers of the land. We are not God; we cannot do everything.

But we can do some small things with divine help. Our modest

individual efforts are important, but quite limited in the scale of

world history. We are not miracle workers. When taken together with

others we do make a difference, and thus we see the importance of

individual acts becoming cooperative endeavors. While each tiller

of the soil is unique and maybe gifted, all collectively contribute

to the whole -- and are needed for the health of the whole Earth.

That is because we see that the cooperative spirit yields something

more than the sum of individual efforts. The cooperative worker

inspires others and motivates them to participate in the greater

good; the inspiration spreads like a virus, a catalytic vitality

extending throughout the surface of the Earth itself. It is like

rhizomes extending from our rootedness in the Earth.


Assimilating the land's produce. Land is able to produce our

food and make us better for working with it. When we eat we take in

the land now turned to produce. We become our land when we eat and

assimilate the produce grown on it. We do not wish to "become" some

distant state or country like others who buy all their food at the

supermarket. Rather, through domestic gardening we become our very

land, and our land becomes us. We are truly localized and rooted in

this place, something missed by people who get food from distant

countries or states. Becoming home bound is a rather complex process

which includes eating local produce.


Eucharist of the Land. We assimilate our land's produce and

through this eating with the love shown to us in God becoming

incarnate, we lovingly become one with the land and the flora and

fauna on the land. We pattern the divine condescension to become one

like us in our humanity, for through love we give further meaning to

all the other creatures on the Earth. Just as the God-man is a

bonding of divinity and humanity within the human family, so we human

beings as part of the Divine Family now bond the Earth itself,

extending in our own sacrifices what is wanting in the sufferings of

Christ to other creatures. We become united to our Earth.


Humility. In touching the land and in consuming the produce we

because part of the body of the Earth in a very special way. It is

an act of love that patterns the coming of the Word among us. We

become word with meaning going to all the Earth. And this is a

humble act of utmost importance in the ongoing process of healing the



March 6, 2004 Honoring Elders

Elderhood comes far too quickly, but it comes to those whose

classmates and friends have long since retired to warmer climes of

Florida and Arizona. For me, I refuse to use the "R" word, but then

there should be recognition that what is required of younger folks

does not hold for those of us in the advancing age of wisdom. I

affirm this because numerous institutions and groups would like for

me to undertake this or that activity, which I find increasingly

burdensome and distracting from the work now at hand -- especially

since our physical and mental powers may be starting to wane.


Honor non-attendance. I try to avoid going to events where I am

expected to sit in an audience and listen to presenters. In other

words, conferences, workshops, and other gatherings where an old

fellow is expected to act like a student have no attraction when one

is past seventy. Those silent listening days are almost over.

Lecturers date from the Middle Ages and beyond, when there was not

enough writing or reading materials in schools for learners. But

libraries, faxes, e-mails, phones, web sites and readily available

low-priced books have changed all of that. I say often "please honor

my age by not making me a warm body for some event -- even though the

sponsors sincerely hope for my betterment and a larger audience."

Elders should have the experience to know what will be profitable --

and their choices should be honored.


New possibilities. As for new learning possibilities, the elder

has to be the judge. We early 21st century elders are overloaded

with information to the point of mental stress. But old age is a

time of giving, and there is little time left for us to give. It is

a time of reflection, but that is not valued in our society. It is

a time of interchange but that has to be done to some degree in a

manner that is more fitting to our condition. I have decided at 70

to put up a help wanted sign. "Help me make better use of my elder



March 7, 2004 Consolation through Transfiguration

This is my chosen son; listen to him. (Luke 9:34)


The message of the Transfiguration which we read again each Lent

is filled with consolation. Jesus needs to be prepared for the

mission which he is soon to undergo -- and so does the disciples.

They are to see ahead the glory that is to come and to prepare for it

with minds and hearts set on what will come after the barriers and

oppression of the immediate future. To be transfigured is to

anticipate the state that is to come, and to live as though it is

rapidly approaching -- for it is. The vision of a greater world

gives the energy to undergo the knocks of the present world.


Nature's Consolation. Life will definitely be better than what

it is now. The journey of life is something which keeps us pinned

down to seeing only the steps immediately in front of us.

Occasionally we come to the hilltop, a vista from which we see ahead.

Wasn't the Transfiguration event on an beautiful mountaintop

overlooking the lake and the fresh landscape of the rolling hills of

Galilee. On the journey of life, we move along doggedly, step-by-

step, and then we suddenly come to a clearing. We stop for a brief

moment to rest. The sun breaks through the clouds, and we strain to

observe and listen to nature -- the mourning dove, the robin and the

distant crow. It's a world we have so often ignored. Late winter

has its variation in shades. The shapes of trees take on a

pronounced design before being reclothed with leaves in six weeks.


Spiritual Consolation. We all need to have the consoling touch

of God's hand in our lives. We are not tough guys who can make it

through life with nothing but a promise. A good word, a pat on the

back, a smile -- all these are the seasoning which makes the everyday

life flavorful and able to be lived. We need these bits of

encouragement, and the Lord of mercy and kindly love offers them to

us, the hand-picked and chosen ones. We are blessed, and if we but

listen, we will find the consoling spirit in the seas of love in

which we are immersed as a babe in the womb.


Listening through Prayer. Lent reminds us to be awake and

conversing with the Lord as are Moses and Elijah. We converse and

listen through the prayer that we are called to engage in each day

for some period of time. We must pray and find the Lord, and then

upon preparing ourselves in place and condition, we are to listen

attentively as though pausing on a daily journey and gazing

attentively ahead. This is more than resting in a scenic place on a

hike; it is the pause that truly refreshes in our spiritual life.


Perpetua (noble woman with small child and pregnant servant

Felicity) in 203 went against the pleading of her dad to just add a

pinch of incense at the Emperor's shrine. Many Christian broke down

and did just that, for it took so little to be kept alive and pretend

not to deny one's faith. What would you or I do if confronted with

a similar circumstance? Many even churchmen capitulated and offered

incense. But Perpetua and her several companions did not succumb but

persevered to the end. And for the Church this is a great consolation.


March 8, 2004 Garden Variety Selection

Several factors go into selecting crops for the upcoming garden.


* Desirability -- Important factors include: What do the

gardeners and the household enjoy eating most? Or what types of

produce can be preserved with the least inconvenience and effort?

People do not want to plant varieties that will not be used or are

quite difficult to grow or to preserve. All growers have to

specialize to some degree, while allowing some change in our tastes

over time and thus gradual introduction of a few new varieties each



* Soil -- What can and cannot grow on a particular piece of land?

How much organic matter is present? If a crop needs sandy soil, then

very tight clay will not do. Soil can be improved by addition of

sawdust, sand and/or humus materials.


* Microclimate -- General climate zones are found in most

gardening books and these can prove helpful in seed selection.

However, we need to recognize local microclimates because there are

great differences depending on which side of a hill a garden is

located, whether on high ground or river bottom, and how near the

land is to forested areas. Some regions experience early or late

frosts, and these determine selection of certain varieties.


* Space and Placement Limitations -- Some vegetables take more

space to grow (land extensive) such as pumpkins or corn. An economy

of space may limit how much of such crops are grown. Some vegetables

are tall and some squat. Put taller growing plants (corn, Jerusalem

artichokes, caster beans or sunflowers), or those growing on

trellises on the northern side, so these do not block the sun from

lower growing vegetables.


* Amount of Sun -- Plants require differing amounts of sunlight.

A major determinant is how much sun falls on a particular site

throughout the year. This does not take year-round checking to

determine. Insolation on a given site or portion of a site can be

established by the use of a Solar Pathfinder --

Address: <www solarpathfinder.com>


phone/fax (931) 593-3552


* Crop Rotation -- Grow different plant families on the

particular spot in succeeding years both to reduce the possibility of

pests and for better use of nutrients. This is the reason to keep

yearly maps of what is grown to be referred to when our memory

becomes less clear.


* Faster Growing Varieties -- Omit planting slow-growing plants

when you hope to have two crops in a single growing year. Parsnips,

peanuts, and salsify grow quite slowly but can be interplanted with

ease. Spring greens planted in between rows of peanuts can be

harvested before the space is needed by the peanuts.


March 9, 2004 Prune Trees and Shrubs

It is time to think of your trees, vines and berry canes. This

is especially true for those you have planted for plentiful fruit in

the coming summer. While late winter and early spring is normally

pruning time for woody species in our part of the country, still a

longer season is possible depending on the species. Some prune on

warmer late fall and early winter days as well. An exception to the

late winter/early spring pruning rule is the sweet cherry which is

pruned in August because there is less danger of bacterial infection.


General benefits. Properly pruned and trained trees live longer

and produce largest yields of better quality fruit. A well pruned

tree is more accessible in harvest time as well. The sense of care

and love for the property is immediately evident in a well pruned

orchard or yard and this adds to the beauty of the place.


Pruner benefits. The act of pruning is truly an expression of

good art. We are configuring the tree to our image of an ideal

shape. It is far closer to sculpturing than some would admit. In

fact, one can get lost in the process of pruning after the first

shoots and dead wood is removed. People who prune admit to the sense

of enjoyment which comes in making the tree into a more perfect



The art itself. A beginning pruner should accompany an

experienced pruner and learn tips from that person in what to leave

and what to cut. Generally beginners tend to leave too much but that

is not always the case. When overcut there is little room for

repair. Fruit trees can be trained to either an "open-center" or to

a "central leader." Fully dwarfed apples and standard and dwarf

pear trees should be trained to either a central leader or an open-

center crown. Standard apples, sweet cherries, peaches, and plum

trees should all be trained to the open-center system. Pruning

extends to the shade trees, which are planted for shading and wind

protection. Do your own removal of dead limbs or branches, unsightly

parts of trees, sprouting along the main trunk, "V" crotches on

younger trees, branches that interfere with utility liens, branches

that rub or cross another, and all top branches but the one nearest

the vertical (for trees where a single leader is normal).


March 10, 2004 Natural vs. Synthetic Fibers

Environmentally-concerned people have almost knee-jerk reactions,

and one of these relates to the benefits of the natural versus the

synthetic product, whether it be fertilizers or food coloring.

However, while choices in many categories are fairly straightforward,

the world is not that simple. The choice may in some instances

depend on a number of factors. With regard to fabric, one would like

to know the need, how the natural fiber is obtained, how long each

fabric will last, and the recyclability of products.


Preferences. Some people have a bias for cotton, for it is cool,

does not cause skin rashes, is breathable and absorbent, and is

generally cheaper than other fabrics. However, that is not the end

of the story. A synthetic may last longer, may be easier to wash

and/or dry, hold its shape, size and color, be lighter and easier to

pack, and feel just right. In such choices, there may be a mix of

personal preferences and scientific fact. This becomes more complex

when new synthetics are produced which are quite breathable, are

longer wearing, and are relatively lower in cost.


Environmental Considerations. How is the fiber produced? Are

non-renewable resources such as oil needed in growing the cotton or

hemp, as well as in the processing? Generally, the amount of

petroleum used in producing a natural material for fabrics will not

equal the petroleum used to synthesize fabrics from petrochemicals.

However, many natural as well as synthetic fibers require non-

renewable fuel in some stage of production. Among American

agricultural crops, cotton is the heaviest pesticide user, though one

can now buy organic cotton. Growing crops for natural fibers where

land disturbance occurs causes soil erosion. For centuries, cotton

mill workers have gotten "white lung," though conditions today are

generally far less harsh in industrialized lands than formerly.

Sometimes child labor produces the garment from natural fiber.


Wool, a Favorite. Perhaps the natural fiber with the lowest

environmental impact is wool, provided the sheep do not overgraze

pasturelands, are not competing with endangered plant species, and do

not allow the introduction of exotic species through the feeding

process. Wool is warm, generally long wearing and has a pleasant

appearance, though some synthetics also have these characteristics.


Choice criteria. All else being equal, choose locally grown

natural fibers for fabric materials; give preference to wool products

from locally pastured animals if the product is comfortable and good

from wear in season; buy goods with long-wearing fabrics, especially

for youth and those needing rugged and special materials such as in

hiking or mountain climbing; use only fabrics that do not cause

allergies and are healthy and comfortable; take into consideration

laundry and Permipress characteristics; reuse and recycle clothes and

other cloth products; and refrain from buying an article if it is

only motivated by fashion change.


March 11, 2004 Praying from the Heart: Sacred Space

An old lady on the southern front porch rocking chair says,

"sometimes I sits and thinks, and sometimes I just sits."


Create sacred space. We all look for familiar space to reflect

and pray and where we find God in the silence of our hearts.

Interior progress and spiritual growth demands this silence of the

heart, a peaceful environment that comes with awareness of communion

with the Almighty. This peace of soul which results from communion

with God is wrapped in silence -- the very grounds on which progress

of the spirit is possible.


A challenge. The massive invasion of privacy in our intrusive

modern age makes a discovery or creation of silent space a major

challenge. We are all bombarded by noise and by interruptions and

the breaking into our own private space. E-mails, phones,

television, street noises, the needs of children and a host of other

interruptions affect average people, for whom this message is



The need by all. Silence of the heart is needed by all, but it

is of special importance to immobile individuals (confined prisoner,

physically ill, severely challenged), or to care-givers responsible

for the lives of others, or to the "we" who suffer in our everyday

encounters with noise. Creating silent space need not be solely an

individual undertaking. Sacred space may be created with others,

namely partners or friends when and where physical silent space is

limited. In fact, some people prefer communal prayer, the praying

with others as opposed to private prayer.


Natural sacred space. Ideal sacred space is where all senses are

in tune with the creator. I found a favorite rock on a bluff

overlooking the Rockcastle River; the huckleberries, singing birds,

swaying trees and sassafras smell added to the rough warm rocks to

give of sense of divine nearness. The more all the senses are

involved, the more ideal the sacred space under normal conditions.

Thus we should not sacrifice environment if we can have the luxury

and opportunity to retreat to more natural settings.


Constructed sacred space. Churches, when open for reflection,

are also ideal for retreat from the noisy world. The reserved Sacred

Species is an ideal place where urban dwellers gravitate and

fittingly so. The warmth of the Lord is immediately experienced.

Wayside chapels and shrines have been favorite sacred places in

certain cultures with deep religious traditions. America is not

generally blessed with such readily accessible places.


Reminder about ultimate sacred space. A federal prisoner

complained about the lack of quiet space, but needed to be reminded

that God helps us create our sacred space. While certain

surroundings may be more conducive to finding silence, they are not

absolutely necessary. Through divine power all are able to commune

with God in the ultimate privacy of their own hearts.


March 12, 2004 Honor the Sabbath

My father, a successful Kentucky farmer, said he could recognize

a farm where the person never honored the Sabbath's rest. The place

betrayed a lack of proper planning. A need for sabbatical rest

extends beyond farmers to other people and creatures and to the land

itself -- which needs its sabbatical rest as well. The demise of the

Blue Laws that forbade working on Sunday (or Saturday) is not a

blessing. People need their time of rest, and this includes those

who service fast foods restaurants and shopping malls, all now

frequented seven days a week -- and especially on weekends. Service

employees struggle to grind on, day after day, and often at several

jobs to make ends meet. Routine becomes unbearable, if each worker

does not experience regular breaks -- not just within the day but of

extended lengths of time in the week and even the year (vacations).


Reflections. Keeping holy the Sabbath is one of the least

observed of the Commandments. People today prefer to look the other

way, and to shop and do a million chores on Sunday -- and so some

can't keep the Lord's Day holy. It is noted in the Old Testament

reading (Deuteronomy 5:12-15) that the emphasis is not on the resting

after Creation, but on the liberation of the people from the slavery

of Egypt, and the freedom that comes with having one day off when

people can do what they like. The freedom from slavery for a mere

day a week is a notable achievement. Consider that the Greeks had

toys operated by steam, yet they never harnessed steam to do human

work. They had no incentive because they kept slaves at work so they

could have their time of leisure and reflection. The monks of the

"Dark Ages" finally harnessed wind and water to do the work that

others once did by hand or the treadmills. They did so that all

including slaves and serfs may have time to pray and reflect on life.


New Testament Reflections. Necessary functions were allowed even

in the strictest of the Old Testament restrictions on work on the

Sabbath. We do not so much put the emphasis on the day, but the

giving of love, service and respect to God. Jesus realizes that his

disciples are hungry and thus pick grain and eat it. However, this

is contrary to the faultfinders' code of activity. They are like

hawks preparing to swoop on the prey. They are circling overhead and

even when Jesus heals a person or makes one whole on the Sabbath,

they find something wrong and worthy of death. To heal or make whole

is fundamental to our life and certainly is to be allowed, but Jesus

says more. We are free to celebrate the Sabbath, and in that freedom

we have room to operate.


The term sabbatical generally applies to time taken off after a

number of years of academic or professional work. Through the change

of pace of a sabbatical the person would become more creative and

productively energized. Thus reduction of stressful situations

should be a prominent factor in choice of a planned sabbatical. It

should be noted that family leaves are now being built into work

agreements. Such arrangements allow for the solitude necessary to

mend fractured emotional lives -- be it quiet time, visit to friends

or grieving therapy or counseling sessions. Family leaves are often

coupled with the arrival of a child, special care for an elderly

relative, or during the period of serious legal dispute or divorce.


Times for a Break. We can't take a break as often as we might

like, but there are times when stresses build up for many reasons.

It is time to have a rest and to take it at an unexpected time. For

some, the time may be a "free day." Others can afford a "free week"

and a very few a "free month." Whatever the need and circumstance,

it is important to see that free time, with no ordinary work routine,

is important to honor. This modern age proclaims busyness to be the

sign of success and fulfillment. It is an opportune time to take off

and find space for thoughtful prayer and reflection. Just let

everything else go for a while. If God, the creator of all, gives us

new life, then it is important to show that life's gifts are not from

us or our added efforts. We rest because God rests in us. With time

and prayerful reflection we start to realize this great mystery of

God's presence. We are more able to appreciate rest time for it

reminds us that God's working is the important matter, not ours.


March 13 An Underground House

Positive advantages. Underground homes seem ideal in many

respects: they use the earth itself for insulation and for cooling

in summer; they do not need all the decorative siding and upkeep of

above-ground houses; they are more easily protected from theft, fire

and tornadoes; they allow the landscape to be free of buildings and

leave space for gardening and greenspace; the surrounding earth

muffles street and traffic noises; they do not require roof

maintenance by those afraid of heights; they have no gutter-fixing

chores, nor need for ladders; they can be cool retreats for those

living a stressful lifestyle; and they are good conversation pieces.


Negatives. Underground homes may be expensive to build due to

excavation and reenforcement costs of the ceilings with costly

concrete and steel. Underground homes may have water problems

depending on how constructed, the lay of the land, and the climate.

The interior may become or remain damp for, without special care,

they tend to leak in areas of high rainfall; ceiling problems may

prove harder to repair; they may have ventilation problems -- a major

concern if indoor fires occur. Some claustrophobic-tending residents

find the confinement of the underground house stressful.


Modifications. One compromise in underground construction is a

partly submerged structure. These may have windows or skylights for

natural lights. They may have one side opened preferably to the

south for solar space heating. They may have a conventional roof of

lower height and lower cost than the steel and concrete bunker

variety for the totally underground house. An earthen berm around a

partly submerged structure may help give additional insulation.

Buried in the berm may be cooling pipes for use in low-cost summer

cooling. Attention to drainage must also be given to the partly

submerged building. Whether totally or partly submerged it is good

to seek professional advice in planning and designing the structure.


March 14, 2004 Living Water

(John 4: 5-42)

Water a basic need. We each realize the need for water when

craving a cool drink on a hot day. We also have a fear of thundering

waterfalls, of rushing water, of the terrible floods which can rise

quickly in our region with constricted terrain. In dry places like

the Holy Land, potable water is highly valued. Witness the scenes at

Horeb when the thirsty Israelites are tempted. Witness in John

Chapter 4 that Jesus, whose last words are "I thirst," shows the

desire for sharing the spiritual waters of grace with others at a

traditional watering hole -- Jacob's Well. We are reminded of the

saving waters of Baptism when we dip our fingers in holy water. We

are reminded of the outpouring of the Savior's graces as we enter the

first of three Sundays of the traditional "Scrutinies" prior to

Baptism on Holy Saturday. The living water is fresh, and not

stagnant; it is poured not left standing. Living waters come forth

from springs which have long been regarded as sacred places.

Jesus, living water. Jesus directly nourishes each of us. He

leads his disciples through hostile Samaritan territory, which Jews

would often detour around when going to Jerusalem. He talks directly

and honestly and lovingly to this foreigner, with whom most Jews

would never have communicated. Jesus is able to answer the

Samaritan woman's searching heart by making her ask questions. He

has water which will last forever. This assertion triggers an

inquiry from the woman. His mission is to the marginalized, and to

some degree this woman and her people fit the category. Jesus

startles her, for he knows her past life; he says what he believes

is the plan for salvation without an apology.


Her mission. The Samaritan woman comes to get water at Jacob's

well, which had served the needs of the neighboring people for

centuries. She leaves this watering hole to become the first

evangelist, the one who takes Good News once received with enthusiasm

to others. She does so with the handicaps of being an imperfect

human being and known as such by her community. She is a person who

is deeply sincere and willing to extend her faith to others. She

leaves her jug and hurries to spread the good news to her villagers.

With the jug she has left, Jesus is now able to obtain water.


The greater mission. The Disciples are late learners, having

gone for provisions. They will become more perfect missionaries

after Pentecost. They are astonished that Jesus has his hunger

filled in reflecting on the word that must go out to the world. He

thirsts for the souls of others and sees the field white for the

harvest. Doing God's will is food enough for Jesus, and his hope is

to prepare missionaries to spread the Good News. Some will sow;

some will reap; we are mere workers.


The Samaritan community is first touched by the woman and then by

the personal experience with Jesus who they now meet firsthand. They

are drawn to Jesus the same way that some wildlife can be attracted

by the smell water. They invite him to come and accept their

characteristic hospitality. All people thirst for the living water.


March 15, 2004 Create Quiet Zones

Steve Johnson has spoken about how natural sounds of a region

define for inhabitants their sense of place as much as, or more than,

the visible environment. Rain, Volume OD, No. 1 (1982), pp. 24-28

We are caught in our current noisy living and work environments.

However, we need not surrender to the noisemakers. Together with

others, we can quiet the place down.


Creative Actions. If noise pollution occurs, then we must help

create sound barriers. We need to monitor noise levels, refrain from

causing unnecessary noises, and look into ways to quiet down noise

makers of all sorts. Should we make a fuss in order to quiet down a

community? It is reasonable to build noise-free zones similar to

smoke-free ones, hoping the awareness of the benefits will spread.

Such zones should be everywhere, not just in and near hospitals,

libraries, churches, and schools. The residential areas of this

country need these quiet arenas. Such places as senior citizen homes

(where many suffer from hearing problems) and factories are

especially in need of creative actions. See that noise ordinances

are enforced for lawnmowers, jackhammers, power saws and motorized

recreational vehicles. How about taking manufacturers to task for

deliberate noise-making devices which call attention to the driver?


Educational Enterprises. Schools and libraries need to have the

muffled effects of quiet time so that education may occur. Within

all types of school buildings (from grade schools to college dorms)

noise disturbances can and do occur through a variety of human

activities such as animated conversation and shouting, use of

appliances and electronic media, and playing music. In resource

assessment work I have noted that college classrooms are noisier than

grade or high schools. Few college campus or high school surveys

mention noise disturbance as an environmental threat; young people

may hesitate to complain, when their peers regard loud sounds as part

of the culture and a sign of fulfillment. However, we should

encourage everyone, especially students, to become more sensitive to

noise, introduce waterfalls for soothing sounds, and carry out noise

abatement science fair projects.


Quiet Zones. Some people set aside areas at home where youth can

play musical instruments and electronic devices without interfering

with the remainder of the family. Thus homes can be zoned to some

degree, isolating noise so to make quiet parts more comfortable.

Rugs, fabric wall hangings and other barriers all reduce noise levels

and provide vast returns for a modest investment. We all need the

quiet time and space that parents impose on rowdy children. We

should refuse to become virtual prisoners in the noisy world with its

ubiquitous discordant sounds. Often those of us in a hurry do not

recognize our need for silent moments. Modern freedom to chose

applies to individual action, but this often doesn't include freedom

from noise. Our individual choice of retreating to tranquility

becomes less possible for ordinary people in a world of increasing

noise. We are capable of creating and defending silent zones and

that is rapidly becoming an important part of community action.


March 16, 2004 Mobilize Senior Citizens

Senior citizens can be a gold mine of activism. We think the

young have a monopoly on energy, and they certainly have a whole lot

to burn. But the elders, when still mentally alert, can combine a

little less instant energy with much more experience. This ever-

expanding senior segment of our American population has a pool of

talent, has fewer concerns about making a living (if retirement

benefits are sufficient), and often have well placed connections in

the community and beyond. Furthermore a higher percentage of this

age group votes, and thus their political clout exceeds even their

fast-growing numbers. And they are often articulate, especially on

matters affecting their own quality of life.


The American Association of Retired Persons and others are

tapping this latent potential. These people are recognizing that the

youth culture and its detachment from public service should not be

imitated, that elders need not retire to the closet shelf, and that

activism may extend beyond areas of previous professional career or

employment. We are as young as we feel, and the challenge of new

adventures can even make us younger, and bring people out of the myth

of permanent retirement. When alert of mind, we can bring past

experience and a wise perception of a hopeful future to bear on

present problems in at least the following ways:


* Select and track a specific issue by attending meetings and

studying the regulations, problems and solutions associated with it.

* Prepare and offer testimony at legislative and regulatory

hearing at least once a year, and encourage others to do the same.

This is a way to expand the groundswell of support for an issue.

* Write letters to the editor of local and regional media and to

congresspersons at the national and state levels on personal issue.

* Volunteer to work for literacy campaigns, citizen

organizations, museums, libraries, demonstration centers, youth

camps, abuse centers, Green Thumb programs by gardeners, Meals on

Wheels for those with driver's licenses, and a vast assortment of

charitable groups which lack sufficient funding.

* Lobby for the poor, the hungry, the un- or underemployed, and

the homeless, especially for programs which alleviate their


* Serve as teacher assistants or substitute teachers when still

able to do such activities easily.

* Create a clipping service on issue areas of interest for cash-

strapped public interest groups who cannot read all of the dailies

and periodicals, and

* Visit elderly, the sick, the forgotten relatives and friends,

prisoners, and others who need moral and spiritual support.


March 17, 2004 Think Organic Green

What better practice to do on St. Patrick's Day than to think

"green"? And what better way is there to think green than to use

food which is chemical-, pesticide-, and commercial chemical

fertilizer-free? Our foods need to be uncontaminated by hazardous

materials of any type. No such assurances are possible today at

the ordinary supermarket, even though there is some organic labelling

at specialty markets. The challenge for domestic organic producers

and marketers is to keep prices affordable and appearances

acceptable. Today, more and more fresh produce comes from distant

states and lands, and much of this slips past an overburdened food

quality surveillance system. Chemical contamination from pesticides

is an ever increasing concern, as regulatory agencies are hard

pressed to monitor residual chemicals on fresh produce.


Organic Food Advantages. Chemical pesticides that have been

used widely since the Second World War are highly toxic, causing

numerous injuries and deaths through their mishandling. Some people

with chemical sensitivity trace their maladies to pesticide

contaminated foods. Costly and expensive pesticides may not

discriminate among their targets, and thus harm friendly garden

creatures. Furthermore, these chemicals are dangerous when stored

around the house, difficult to dispose of properly, and they

contaminate the soil. Few growers and marketers are trained to

handle these chemical pesticides safely or to decontaminate fruits

and vegetables grown with chemical pesticides. Besides acute

toxicity, pesticides cause chemical sensitivity among large numbers

of people (some estimate 15% of total population). Conversely,

organic (pesticide-free) gardening techniques are less costly, easier

to handle, and are environmentally friendly. Organic produce may not

always look perfect, but food safety is more important than the shiny

and waxy appearance of chemically-contaminated food supplies.


Certification is meant to guarantee consumers a quality product.

The certification of organic homegrown garden produce has been

protected at state levels through annual review of practices, soil

testing, and personal visits by the certifying agency. Federal

certification is becoming far more complex and costly to the small

grower. Certification provides the public with guaranteed product

quality, indicated by a tag on the produce or by signs at the place

of sale. The only wrinkle is that it is becoming more difficult for

all consumers to also be growers, but that is already impossible in

this real world of busy, traveling, physically impaired, or elderly

folks. Some are growers and some are solely consumers.


Holistic Health. Preserving our mental health includes

protecting our physical health, which affects our mental state.

Gardening can play a role in balancing our physical and mental

states. The coming spring invites us all the more to get fresh air

and full-spectrum sunlight, to listen to children squealing in sheer

delight as sap starts rising in the trees. Fresh air gives a fresh

outlook on life, and heavy problems evaporate and give us a true

pause that refreshes. Green gardening is also a fresh opportunity.


March 18, 2004 Non-Timber Forest Products

Forests have immense value apart from the timber content. One

would hardly know this while listening to some commercial interests.

However, the forest retains moisture, stores carbon dioxide in a

living storage system, cools the surrounding landscape and thus

reduces the harshness of the climate. Forests can furnish cover for

the wildlife, which could be regarded as a non-timber forest product.

The Vista. The most overlooked non-timber forest product is that

of the view itself. That vanishes when the land has been clearcut,

and may happen for a number of years after selective logging has

occurred using sustainable methods. The view has not only a

qualitative value to residents, but it is also of economic importance

since over 40% of tourists come to forested areas for the

sightseeing. A beautiful forest is a sight to behold.


Harvesting General Philosophy & Ethic. Most people would think

of berries, nuts, wild fruits or the plants in the understory as part

of the non-timber forest products: papaws, mayapples, persimmons,

crabapples, wild cherries, wild plums, raspberries, blackberries,

blueberries, wild strawberries, cranberries, elderberries, hickory

nuts, walnuts, butternuts, hazelnuts, acorns, mushrooms, lambs

quarters, ramps, wild garlic, watercress, teas (sumac, sassafras,

mint), locust pods, wild honey, maple syrup, etc. A general rule is

to take a small amount for home consumption --

Take a Mess; Don't Make a Mess


Some know the economic value of one or other particular product,

and thus will make a great effort to take more than a mess, and do

not really want to refrain from making a mess. We need to strongly

oppose such open marketing of non-timber forest products.


Oppose a scatter-shot approach to marketing forest products.

Exotics are outside plants which are brought into a forested area

and may spread as invasive species. This may result in harm where

the land has been fragmented by roadways, streets and development.

These invasive plants, such as kudzu, can often be quite aggressive

and crowd out the native flowers and plants. A different rule apples

in such cases --

Harvest existing invasives without damaging the forest proper.

Kudzu root for food starch and vines for baskets, and flowers for

jellies; chicory root; Flowers and plants (unless this helps spread

a pest); greens -- Dandelions and other exotic greens.


When demand is great, assist in growing virtual wild species in

as near to natural conditions as possible. This applies to wild

ginseng, golden seal, bloodroot and black and blue cohosh.

Control introduced game.


The introduction of game animals such as turkeys has resulted in

the destruction of native understory due to the fowls' efficient

harvesting methods and digestive destruction of seeds.


March 19, 2004 Watch for the Birds

Many of us have heard in song or story about the swallows

returning each year to the Spanish Mission of San Juan Capistrano,

the jewel of the Missions. This historic place contains the oldest

building in use in California. Each year the swallows return on

March 19th, the feast of St. Joseph. They also depart with the same

unexplained punctuality on St. Johns Day on October 23rd. On these

two dates thousands gather to watch the birds' movements.

In less dramatic fashion, many of us anxiously await the return

of the birds and the monarch butterflies from Central America and

Mexico. While this waiting is part of the ritual of spring, it

involves a deepening anxiety as we note in recent years the

destruction of some of the creatures' habitats both in the winter and

the summer seasons. Thus the number of some of these semi-tropical

migratory bird and other winged species have been in decline.


Bird Monitoring. Changes in bird populations are hard to

determine, and thus it has led to the recruiting of many birdwatchers

to observe certain specific areas and engage in annual bird counts.

From the statistics gathered, experts are able to make a comparison

with numbers counted in previous bird censuses and plot trends. Over

time a profile has emerged, and it is not promising for a number of

semi-tropical birds such as the Cerulean warbler. Large numbers of

beautiful sounding and bright colored birds may not be with us for

long, unless more conservation measures are taken. These measures

include protection of both winter rest and summer nesting habitats,

and feeding birds. Though artificial feeding is disliked by some

naturalists, a strong case can be made that the toll on natural

habitat is so great that such feeding is necessary for the sake of

continuation of the bird species.


Bird Watching. The art of birdwatching can be a green form of

recreation, provided the watcher does not engage in frequent

extensive travel (less frequent trips could certainly fit under a

broader "green" recreation program. This outdoor hobby of a large

number of people of all ages requires often both sight and sound

identification skills, even though deaf people can be very good

birdwatchers. Actually, this recreational activity is part of a

wider range of observation involving all types of flora and fauna.


Observation skills can be honed by visiting an aquarium or animal

farm, being observant at a fish pond or butterfly garden, or simply

going to the woods and keeping alert. The "birders" are perhaps

larger in number than other wildlife observers because of variety and

frequency of the wildlife forms. Another birder advantage is that

birdwatchers may stand or move about at will with no major obstacles

and they do not have to stoop down and observe insects or wildflowers

at ground level. While I am no birder, I do admire the enthusiasm

and skills of those who are. And I do marvel at their observational

skills and quiet dedication to a certain form of recreation.

Reference: California Missions, by Floyd Ray, Brown and

Nourse, Publishers, San Carlos, California, 1954, p.18.


March 20, 2004 Celebrate Spring's Arrival with Greens

As children seem to sense the coming of spring with more

excitement in their play and more skip in their movements, it is time

for all of us to see life quicken -- and that this extends to our

entire spiritual and physical selves. Winter is past, and we need to

celebrate -- but how can this be done in the midst of Lent? One way

is to gather greens in early springtime, a rural Appalachian

tradition which extends to other places and times. In spring,

indoor-dwellers break out and find the fresh vegetables which have

been in short supply -- and they gather and "fix" these "messes" of

plants, either fresh and raw, or cooked in a kettle as "pot herbs."


Spring is the natural time for such delicacies, because the

different greens are young and tender. Know where to find them in

the woods, on the roadside, in gardens and lawns and in just about

any greenspace. When we advance in years, it is less fun gathering

these and then cleaning them of the winter dead leaves, dirt and

creepy crawlies which may be attached. But with some patience and

care a nutritious spring dish is ready for use.


Dandelion is the most important herb because it is abundant,

easily recognized, and good and nutritious, especially when young,

before flowering. Later the milky bitter sap will flavor the dish

and require additional washing. A good practice is cutting the crown

near or just below the ground so that the entire bunch comes up and

can be shaken clean -- much of the trash is easily removed. Some

regard dandelion as the main ingredient, but can be mixed with other

spring greens which are known to the experienced gatherer. My mother

always prepared dandelions with boiled eggs and potatoes and onions,

and then wilted them with hot bacon grease or salad oil and vinegar.

It still remains my favorite spring meal, which I sprinkle with wild

or domestic garlic that is bursting forth at this time.


Other single or mixed cooked greens could include early Crows's

foot and Hanner-on-the-Rock which are two varieties of toothwort.

Evening primrose is also called "speckled britches" and emerges early

as a rosette speckled or tinged with red and gathered like

dandelions. Lamb's quarters comes a little later in our part of the

country, but is known as one of the oldest food of the local cave

dwellers of a millennia or two ago. Shepherd's purse springs up in

abundance in moist soil, as does watercress near to creeks and cold

springs. Upland cress is known as "creasies" and is found as a

rosette of dark green leaves in early April. Wild lettuce is common

in the lowlands and near streams and the most tender leaves are

excellent eating as raw greens. My second favorite greens is poke,

which also appears in early April. The spears can be cut and

prepared in much the same manner as asparagus. When repeated

cuttings in hotter weather result in a bitter tasting poke, I boil

off and discard the water and continue to use the greens until the

stalk becomes tough or red colored.


Few seasonal delights equal that of the gathering and cooking the

first greens of spring.


March 21, 2004 The Blind Man and Faith

The mid-mark of Lent in our struggle of faith is to see the

journey as both serious and filled with God-given joy.


Story of Faith in alternative reading. The story in John 9 is

a journey of faith, a single individual's coming to Christ and then

enduring the persecution that is to follow. Of all the passages in

the New Testament, this impressed me most in my spiritual youth.

What honesty and integrity, what fidelity and love.


Solitary witness. We join a community of faith and that helps

us through. But there are times when the solitary witness is one who

must stand up for faith when others refuse.


One example of two stand out for me. The first is that of Franz

Zaggerstadder in Austria who was able to show that he would not fight

under any circumstances and for that he was executed by Hitler's Nazi

regime. He was buried in a hidden grave in his home town and

virtually forgotten until Gordon Zahn, a conscientious objector in

the Second World War heard there was an Austrian who did the same and

wrote "In Solitary Witness."


The second example is that of Joan of Arc, the maid of Orleans,

but really a Lorraine cow herding maiden of late teens who was called

by St. Michael and St. Margaret to lead the French army which was in

disarray. She did not fight but was a banner bearer and went ahead

of the soldiers until captured, was tried with no support but

defended her own faith quite well (showing the Holy Spirit will tell

us what to say) and then was condemned and came near the moment of

death -- "Jesu, Jesu," and the English soldiers remembered her

haunting last words until they died.


Persecuted. The man born blind was thrown out of the synagogue

and that means put outside of the approved religions in the powerful

Roman Empire of which the Jewish one was protected. He as Christian

was an outlaw and could be used for lion bait under the persecutions

that raged during the times this book of John's Gospel was being

written. The story has a hidden bite to it which we must understand.


Time of Joy. This Sunday is one of joy in the middle of Lent and

we rejoice with the Earth itself. If we hurt the Earth in any way we

cause its joy to be decreased and its praise to be less. It is

necessity that "Let the Earth" be seen as our own permission

and allowing all of God's creatures to express joy in what the do.


What applies to that is what applies to our encouraging others to

find joy even in times of sadness for we are called to bring joy of

the heart. It is there when one obeys God's will as did the man born

blind and who could not see. But the joy is also in our hearts for

helping others move through Lent to the Easter happiness.

Solitary witnesses today. In doing what has to be done we may be

obliged to be a solitary witness to what we believe and usher forth

as a New Creation.


March 22, 2004 Green Recreation Activities

Spring brings on heightened recreation activities, some more

green than others. Some are quite wholesome; others threatening and

risky to human health and safety. Some use very little equipment,

have low travel costs, and operate with little non-renewable energy;

others are heavy users of the Earth's limited resources. These 99

activities go from the most to the least friendly.


Socially significant and low-resource use

1. Nature observation

2. Wildlife preservation

3. Organic gardening (vegetable, herbs, flowers)

4. Home rehabilitation and repair

5. Solar energy development

6. Nature trail building and maintenance

7. Environmental writing and publicity

8. Environmental education

9. Visual arts and crafts (using safe materials)

10. Singing, dancing, playing music, performing Arts

Local and low resource use

11. Entertaining children with simple toys

12. Board games (non-electronic)

13. Bird-watching and nature observation

14. Walking, hiking, jogging, running (cross-country)

15 Swimming, wading, beach play (natural setting)

16. Snow-play, sledding, cross-country skiing

ice-skating (natural setting)

17. Reading

18. Picnics, potluck, social events (local)

19. Fishing (natural areas)

20. Home exercising, weight-lifting

Local outdoor with equipment

21. Playground activities (swinging,

volleyball, sandbox, kite-flying)

22. Canoeing, rowboating

23. Softball, soccer, baseball

24. Track, field 25. Biking (hard surface)

26. Basketball, tennis, handball

27. Dry land skiing, roller skating

28. Antique and collectable assembling (coins, stamps, etc.)

29. Gym games (acrobatics, karate, racquetball, basketball)

30. Model plane-flying, electric toys

Outdoors with equipment and moderate travel

31. Camping and backpacking(low impact)

32. Photography 33. Sailing, rowing, rafting

34. Rappelling, rope work

35. Summer camp games

36. Horseback riding (on trails)

37. Lawn croquet, badminton, lawn tennis

38. Spectator sports (outdoors) 39. Spelunking

Indoors with equipment, operating energy

40. Home decorating (lights)

41. Wrestling, fencing, boxing

42. Movie-making, home video

43. Amusement parks 44. Writing (using computer)

45. Television-watching 46. Electronic and video games

47. Computer hacking

48. Private gym activities (low use)

49. Private swimming (low use pool)

Indoors with equipment, energy, some travel

50. Opera, concert, festival, movie (automobile)

51. Spectator basketball

52. Bowling (automated)

53. Ice skating (artificial ice)

Outdoors with equipment, and human safety factors

54. Surfing, surf sailing

55. Ice sailing 56. Scuba diving

57. Target practice, archery

58. Hunting (consumed)

59. Contact sports (football, rugby)

60. Ice hockey (natural setting)

Outdoor, equipment, and travel

61. Camping and backpacking (distant)

62. Touring and sightseeing 63. Mountain biking

64. Horseback riding, fox hunts, polo (with horses)

Outdoors, equipment, human safety and travel costs

65. Skiing or snowboarding downhill (mechanical lift)

66. Rafting 67. Motorcycling (on highways)

68. Rock-climbing, mountain climbing

69. Snowmobiling

70. Auto-racing, drag racing, demolition derby

71. Rodeo riding 72. Hang gliding

73. Bungee jumping

Outdoors, environmental threat

74. Lawn care and gardening (motorized and pesticides)

75. Landscaping with introduced species

76. Wildflower picking, wildlife gathering

77. Beach-combing

78. Golfing (using chemicals)

79. Amateur archeology

80. Trophy hunting for wildlife (local or regional)

Outdoors, heavy Energy use

81. Overseas vacationing

82. Auto-cruising 83. Ocean cruising

84. Horse racing 85. Deep-sea fishing

86. Motorized camping 87. Yachting

88. Airplane touring and hot-air ballooning

Outdoor, human and psychic health

89. Sun-bathing 90. Gambling and cock-fighting

91. Malling and compulsive shopping

Heavy impacts of a multiple sort

92. Parachuting and sky-diving

93. Wildlife hunting for sport

94. Touring fragile lands, dunebuggy operation

95. Off-road vehicles (cross country)

96. Motor boating, water skiing

97. Big game hunting (distance)

98. Smoking 99. Substance abuse (drugs, alcohol)


March 23, 2004 Sharing a Limited Habitat

Creating and preserving wildlife habitat can be difficult work at

the practical level. Unimpeded wildlife reserves and migratory

routes are desired but still competition between human beings and

wildlife for living space is fierce.


Some animals proliferate. From whales to monarch butterflies we

notice wildlife habitat under attack from hunters, developers and

greedy resource extractors. However, the wildlife record is mixed,

for a few generally game species have multiplied until they have

become worrisome pests, e.g., white-tailed deer, "wild" turkeys and

Canadian geese. In fact, these three species are more numerous than

anytime in American history. Deer evade many fence barriers and

nibble on suburban shrubs and flowers; turkeys (not really wild but

have a mix of aggressive cultured turkey genes) can devastate the

understory; and geese manure lawns, sidewalks and golf greens in

abandon. I observed geese as interlopers in many cages and pools at

the Milwaukee Zoological Garden. They feed on Midwestern corn fields

and settle on winter bodies of water all over the nation. Why fly

when the fare is so lavish at home?


Beavers and the likes. Busy tribes of beavers make life tough

for property holders with choice natural streams. The ever-active

animals chop down trees, build dam homes and establish a beaver-order

community wherever they want. John Davis, former founder of Wild

Earth Journal tolerates beavers near his humble forested abode near

Westport in northern New York. He allows them to work at will right

outside his residence as long as they do not drop trees on his house

(they missed once by inches). However, they are determined creatures

when it comes to homes. One ought to take a middle course between

shooting beavers and allowing them to take over. Is this where

trapping and shipping to distant wilderness might be called for?


Gardening with wildlife around. Garden growers living near

wildlife habitats realize that some vegetables are choice delicacies

for rabbits, groundhogs, raccoons, and turkeys. A good fence is not

sufficient. A watchdog is better, but can be quite aggressive and

may not be able to guard distant gardens. I have found that ringing

patches with beds of spicy mustard dissuade rabbits which gravitate

to beans and peas. Plant less of wildlife favorites. However, some

gardeners simply grow enough to satisfy wildlife, but it is hard to

grow enough of anything for hungry groundhogs. Deer are finicky but

generally leave melons and squash alone. However, to my surprise the

bucks would ram the pumpkins with their antlers to break them open

and get the seeds. If you like the pioneer dish "burgoo," a kettle

of various varmints cooked overnight with potatoes and onions, you'll

find garden raiders make excellent local food for meat eaters bent on

eating local produce. Deer avoid double fencing erected about six

feet apart. Few wildlife like onions, garlic, the nightshades

(potatoes, tomatoes, peppers and eggplant), some of the brassicas

(cabbage, collards, cauliflower, and kohlrabi), turnips, radishes,

okra or most squash. Most wildlife gravitate to beans, with carrots

and lettuce as second choices.


March 24, 2004 Travel Lightly

Don't Tote the Entire House. I once saw a extra large mobile

home/camper which could not make a sharp turn and was hung up in the

parking lot with two wheels suspended over the curb. I simply could

not feel sorry for the couple, and hoped they learned that you don't

have to take the house along on a trip.


Take Less Rather than More. I like to pack super light when

taking public transportation so I do not have to check extra bags at

the airport. Can I carry each bag with my little finger? That way

I have everything at arm's reach. I would rather be without than

travel with unneeded items. Besides, one may have a chance to wash

items when on the road, so bringing too many changes of clothes

simply take limited space. Traveling light is nice until we suddenly

discover we are without an essential item that cannot be easily

purchased. Then perhaps the practice ought to be modified.


Think Ahead. In order not to be short of items, it is wise to

keep a standard packing or hiking list. This list ought to be

modified with time. Medicine was never high on my middle-age

listings but has now become more prominent. A solution to forgetting

important items is to pack for a hike or other trip some time before

departure and then go over the items again right before leaving.

Generally, any omitted item will be remembered during the time lapse.

Consider the number of days away and whether washing opportunities

are available. Think also about special personal items such as

health supplements which may not be available where you are



Ship or Give Away. Everyone should move at least once every five

years. That keeps the junk from accumulating to such a degree that

one is weighed down by the bulk. If items are absolutely necessary

and cannot be carried by hand, ship ahead of time. Shipping may be

an option while preparing for a trip, or it may be useful for

transporting purchased items which you do not want to lug around or

carry back.


Pack for Comfort and not for Style. Some suggest that one should

take clothes which match with all other clothing carried. Unmatched

clothing is the bane of the fashion-conscious traveler.


Pack Well. Put heavier items such as shoes so they are at the

bottom. Use their empty spaces for socks and other small articles.

Well-packed items do not wrinkle. Carry older items for rugged

travel which could be discarded before returning. Wear or carry

outside of the packing case the bulkier coat or jacket. Consider

light weight underwear and shirts. Take a "fanny pack" with

necessary items and passports.


Rethink Travel Items. One of the most neglected but meaningful

exercises for the traveler is to record at the end of the trip those

unused items. If this is noted on your travel checklist, it will be

a handy reminder in packing for the next trip.


March 25, 2004 The Incarnation

"Let the clouds rain down the Just One,

and the Earth bring forth a savior."

(Responsorial refrain on Wednesday, Third Week of Advent)


Deepest Mystery. The Word comes from above and the Earth rises

to bring forth a savior in space and time. Jesus, son of David, is

conceived in the womb of the Virgin Mary through the power of the

Holy Spirit. The Earth is the place of our human origin, our mother

and our womb. The mystery of the incarnation is found in the meeting

of Heaven and Earth at a time two thousand years ago and a place, the

Holy Land. This is a deep mystery for it encompasses the union of

the divine and human. It involves the how and what of God's self-

communication, Jesus Christ, a loving caring person. Jesus, as man,

springs from the Earth, from Adam and Eve's children, from the House

of David, from Mary as bearer of the God-man. This is the union of

heaven and earth in a living earth-bound person, God's uttermost

revelation to us in a person, sacrificing, teaching, leading and



Ecclesial Applications. The church has a thrust from two

directions: from above and from the teaching word of its magisterium

of Pope, bishops and theologians; and from below with the grassroots

work of each Christian person. The union of the above and below is

a model of the union of God with the people, the perfect union in

Christ and now manifested on Earth as the Body of Christ. We are

truly people of faith when we perceive the union of God with us and

are willing to accept the task to imitate Christ in our actions. The

Church has both a divine and a human nature united in the Christ who

is in our midst.


Human adoration. Where do we stand as observers and participants

in the Incarnation event? First, the eternal Word is now spoken in

time and thus the Earth itself is blessed in a special way. We

listen to the advent of the Word spoken and we stand in awe like

shepherds at the stable adoring the new-born king, the Word now

incarnate. The patron of ecology, St. Francis initiated the crib

(Creche) as a teaching tool par excellence for all of us from small

children to wise elders. It has become a prime observational point

for viewing the Nativity happening. But we must do more.


Our living the Incarnate Mystery. Within the Liturgy we mingle

water and wine and ask to come to share the divinity of Christ, who

humbled himself to share in our humanity. We bring the word to those

eager to hear as Good News through teaching, proclamation, prayer,

encouragement, and giving information and promotion, all requiring

our energy and time. We unite in our own being a view of the world

and a need to get our own hands dirty. Our action must be from

below, for if we love we must love those in our reach; if we have

been given the grace of divine life in Baptism, then we must show

loving mercy to all others as well. We have a global vision but act

locally because we are rooted in this community of Faith.


March 26, 2004 Genetic Engineering?

There are a number of innovations which are emerging in this

complex world which at first seem most enticing, and then, after a

little more reflection, reveal pitfalls beyond the foresight of

advocates. A subject demanding the red flag of caution is the

potentially lucrative area of genetic engineering (GE) with its brief

lifetime. In a special report in the January, 2000, Organic

Gardening magazine listed ten reasons why all -- not just Europeans -

- should be troubled by GE.


Superbugs -- Government approved GE plants contain their own

pesticide, a toxin produced by the BT (Bacillus thuringiensis)

bacterium and plants that survive weed killers (Roundup Ready).

However, the ubiquitous nature of these plants could invite resistant

strains of insects to evolve readily. And the pesticide is within

the plant structure used for food.


Superweeds -- Cross pollination with wild cousins could produce

herbicide resistant weeds.


Pollen Drift -- GE modified crops could cause organic farmers to

lose their certification and livelihood through contamination of

neighboring fields.


Harm to Wildlife -- Monarch butterfly larvae died after eating

milkweed dusted with GE corn pollen. Europeans find that the same

happens to environmentally-friendly ladybugs and green lacewings.

There are reports of harm to honeybees from GE contaminated pollen.


Harm to Soil -- Residues of BT toxin in GE altered grain crops

persist in soils for months and depress microbial activity.


Human Health -- GE can cause unintended harm and damage to the

nutritional content of foods and may even add contaminants which

could increase breast and gastrointestinal cancers in human beings.


Hidden Allergens -- GE is directly related to the production of

proteins which can be common sources of human allergies.


Religious and Moral Considerations -- GE foods can have animal

genes spliced into vegetables and other plants and so a confused

state of dietary food for those who are vegetarians or who reject or

abstain from certain types of food.


Antibiotic Resistance -- A major problem of antibiotic resistance

could be introduced through GE foods.


Indentured Farmers -- The expensive GE research is controlled by

for-profit corporations whose primary goal is return on investment,

not public good. Through seed company buy-outs, these corporations

could control food production and educational research facilities.

Time honored seed-saving techniques would be lost, and these growers

would be forced into corporate dependency.


March 27, 2004 Harness Wind Power

The gusty winds of March can knock us over. All wind has power,

and some of this can be harnessed for producing electricity or to

power mills and water pumps through knowledge applied for millennia.


Windmills made their first appearance in Europe in 1150 AD, and

spread to the south of Europe by the 16th century. They were

preferred over water power because water wheels would cease turning

in the icy times of the year. Also harnessed wind power was common

during earlier times of prairie settlement and in rural parts of the

Midwest. It became less popular with the advent of cheap rural

electricity during the New Deal.


Advantages. Wind power is making a comeback in certain parts of

the nation (seacoasts, certain mountains, and Great Plains) and most

especially in such countries as Denmark, Germany and Spain. In fact,

wind power is the fastest growing energy source today. With the

price of electricity rising, local traditional power shortages and

with uncertain supplies of foreign oil, this source of energy is more

highly advantageous to fill the expected gap in electricity

generation. The wind devices can be erected more quickly than fossil

powerplants and dams. They furnish renewable energy at a time when

non-renewable fuel sources (coal, oil and gas and even nuclear power)

are polluting, costly, and unsafe to handle. Wind produces no

emissions, only a swishing sound that is hardly a distraction.


New Varieties. Older wind-enthusiasts speak respectfully about

Marcellus Jacobs, the father of American wind-generated electricity.

The machines he designed and built during a quarter of a century of

manufacture developed an excellent reputation for durability, and

some still operate. They were generally placed near homes to

minimize line losses and were hooked to lead-acid batteries for

charging and storing energy for generating electricity. However,

today these somewhat inefficient wind generators are often rusting in

old farmsteads, and are being replaced by state-of-the-art,

aerodynamically engineered devices which can run at far lower wind

speeds (even as low as 5-10 miles per hour). These can be

constructed at ever lower costs for use by both large and small



Future. Many European countries now are discovering the economic

and ecological benefits of wind power as it is starting to furnish an

ever greater share of their electricity needs. Germany is committed

to phasing out nuclear power and replacing it with wind power. The

time for wind power is coming in the United States as well, not just

in energy-short California with its wind already being exploited in

the various parts of the state, but also in many other parts of the

nation. States are becoming more receptive to net metering or

allowing surplus energy produced by the wind generator to be fed back

into the system at wholesale rates. This is an advantage for small-

producers who do not have to construct costly storage capacity.

Reference: American Wind Association 1516 King Street,

Alexandria, VA 22314 (703) 684-1596.


March 28, 2004 Adulterous Woman

And Moses has ordered us in the Law to condemn women like this

to death by stoning. What have you to say?" (John 8:5)


It is far easier to cast stones at another than to have a

reconciliation and come to sincerely wish good for them. Doing a

mean and displeasing act is easy; doing a good deed is somewhat more

difficult, and is contrary to the anger that swells in our hearts

upon realizing the gulf between us and other party.


The Conflict. The final weeks of Lent make us again experience

the rising level of antagonism which is swelling up in those who

challenge Jesus and his ministry. The testing comes as the crowds

look for someone to teach and lead them. The woman caught in

adultery is a mere pawn in the battle. She is as mistreated as

anyone in a world where the women must suffer and the men are judged

far less. But here both Jesus and the woman are being judged in

life-threatening circumstances -- but one is innocent and the other

perhaps guilty of the offenses she is accused.


Another Complication. The Roman laws did not allow the Jewish

people to put their people to death and yet the Mosaic law said an

adulterous woman should be stoned. If Jesus says "yes" to the Mosaic

Law, he would defy the Roman law, and if he assents to the Roman law,

he disobeys his own religious tradition as understood.


What Would Jesus Do? At this time of testing Jesus writes in

the sand -- the only time he is recorded to have written. While the

act is recorded, the substance of the message is not, and this allows

us to exercise our imagination about what is said. Is it the record

of each of the accusers' sins? Some think so, and probably the ones

who make the judgments against the woman think so as well. The

melting away of the accusers is interesting. We are not meant to be

lynching mobs on such serious matters, since we need legal systems to

protect the innocent and punish the guilty.


Change of Heart. Jesus does not take a stand as would be

expected by more judgmental folks. Rather he asks the woman to

repent and live a good life. This is where mercy takes precedence

over justice, and is expressed in the sense of forgiveness given and

the new life to be lived. But he also takes a stand against the mob

who wanted to lynch the woman, and he calls on them to look into

their own selves and reform their own lives as well.


What do we Do? Wrongdoing is before us all and yet we are not

to judge the sinner, while we do affirm that wrongdoing should be

halted. The challenge is to confront the sinner while at the same

time not judging him or her. That takes more inner harmony and a

balanced relationship with God than appears at first sight. How can

I regard this radical form of peacemaking as part of my daily life?

As a new month approaches, and Easter is just around the corner, we

need to consider what we do instead of casting stones. Are we

willing to challenge systems which judge and suspect without proof?


March 29, 2004 Solar-Powered Car

The choices were made back at the turn of the 20th century over

a hundred years ago. Electric cars were built and considered as to

be the standard, but advocates of the internal combustion engine

(ICE) allied with strong oil companies support were able to win the

day. By the First World War the ICE was the clear victor, and from

then petroleum was sought with ever greater effort to satisfy the

appetite of these machines. The refineries moved to meet the

spiraling demand for gasoline and diesel through the non-renewable

resources at hand. Over the years, some modifications were added.


The use of propane gas resulted when gasoline was in short supply and

then when cleaner fuels were demanded as air pollution from the

combustion products began to choke people in congested areas. With

time, ethanol, which could be also used in the ICE, was offered as a

substitute, but required non-renewable fuels in cultivation and

industrial processing.


Disadvantages of ICE. The ICE contains inherent problems in fuel

source and in pollution emissions during the combustion process.

Other power alternatives have been suggested and are now being

considered, such as the hybrid of electric and standard petroleum-

fueled ICE. That method doubles fuel mileage and the saving is so

great that higher costs of the automobiles are offset by savings in

fuel. Totally electric vehicles without a solar or renewable energy

fueling station require the current utility grid, which now is

fueled for the most part by non-renewable fuel sources. Thus this is

merely a transfer of emissions from the congested urban areas to the

places where the electricity is generated. In areas of the world

where hydropower or wind power are major sources, electric cars can

be recharged from renewable sources.


Solar energy? The sun is certainly free, if it can be utilized

to recharge the batteries. Current technology demands that much of

the front and back of the car be filled with heavy lead/acid

batteries, and these can be partly recharged from photovoltaic arrays

mounted on carports or garages (for stationary charging) or to a

lesser degree on the vehicle itself. The disadvantage of the latter

is that it is virtually impossible, even with a highly efficient,

lightweight vehicle, to get enough space for the solar recharging



Solar car. We have a solar/electric car at ASPI (a converted

Dodge Colt) that has a range of about 80 miles and is recharged by a

bank of solar photovoltaic panels on the roof of the office. This

bank is hooked up to the electric grid and surplus solar energy is

fed back into the utility grid through Kentucky's first "net

metering" process. At the time of charging the car some additional

energy is taken from the interconnected utility grid. An extra

battery used for auto lights is mounted on the top of solar car's

trunk lid. The total solar project cost about $10,000 and would

require a number of years to repay the fuel costs of running the

vehicle. However, the educational value of the solar vehicle and

carport should not be overlooked.


March 30, 2004 Metanoia

Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert,

so must the Son of Man be lifted up,

that all who believe

may have eternal life in him.

(John 3: 14)


Renewing our lives is a Lenten theme, and a good use for the

extra time afforded through self-denial and other good works during

this season of the year. The sought for change in spirit is much

like the anticipated seasonal changes in the world around us. We

will soon observe a rapid transformation of our landscape in the

temperate zones of the Northern Hemisphere from the browns of grays

of winter to the green of emerging spring.


Seasonal Renewals. We review our lives in many ways. We make a

fresh start in our New Year's resolution; we prepare for summer with

vacation plans; we await the autumn by cutting back on outdoor

activities. Each season brings on changes and in spring we expect

and eagerly await a major transformation of the landscape in a matter

of days -- the greening of meadows, the blooming of wildflowers in

great profusion, the rapid movement of the wildlife and return of

birds, and the leafing out of trees in a regular sequence. And most

people in tune with the great outdoors are looking forward to the

fullness of spring with hope and joy. Winter has been too long.


Starting Inside. Renewal begins in our hearts through a rending

process or an openness of heart for the needs of others who we start

to shut out of our lives. But our unconscious shutting-out process,

generally to focus on private concerns, is really a denial of God's

grace in our own lives. We can remain totally focussed on ourselves

and taken up with our selfish goals. Our hearts are closed to the

outside needs of the world -- to the suffering all around us. By

rending our hearts, we open our core of being to receive others in a

more magnificent fashion. We make a place inside our hearts for

others. We turn away from what so often occupies our lives to what

needs to be done on a far larger level. And isn't that what becoming

more a Christian is all about?


Metamorphosis. During times of depression we feel that we are

just waysiders, nuisances, pests that the world would like to rid

itself of. We are afraid to make waves, to confront our peers, to

speak when something has to be said or done. Thus metanoia, while

not a seasonal word, seems a little more fitting for spring.


Metanoia is the call to make bigger waves, to make them crash first

within ourselves and rend our hearts, and then outward to the rest of

the world. Metanoia is the courage needed to say to those around us

that we all must grow and become better. Metanoia is the

transformation in our lives that allows us to make Christ the center

of our lives. Just as the caterpillar becomes a butterfly and yet is

really the one being now transformed, so we have to open our hearts

so that renewal will occur again during this springtime.


March 31, 2004 Faith, Fiction and Fantasy

As Lent draws to an end, we review our commitment to faith in the

readings, in reflection on our core beliefs, and especially in the

Holy Saturday liturgical celebrations. If hope is the virtue of

Advent, and love is that of the Pentecost season, we now focus on our

faith commitment, both personally and in community. What constitutes

this act of faith? How deeply is it within our lives? How do I

profess my faith in deed, as well as through a credal formula or



Santa Claus, whom I never believed in because such people could

not climb up and down chimneys, was not part of my life. Nor were

fairies, witches or goblins. The natural world was composed of real

beings; the supernatural world of Faith had little place for

speculation and fantasy.


I have always been somewhat remiss about reading fiction for,

while not judging its popular appeal, I find history and real life

happenings far more interesting than make-believe subjects of any

type. Certainly fiction has its literary worth, its entertainment

value, and its ability to captivate people through story-telling.

But I strive to take my own stories in talks and homilies from real

life events and episodes, not the world of fiction. Actually my

daydreaming in youth was somewhat fictional, but it was associated

with dreaming of a future greatness or acts of heroism which never

came about -- but which could have possibly occurred given the right

conditions. To me, such dreaming was idling away the hours in some

creative mode as a sort of play to overcome the summer heat or gnats

or long hours of certain rather monotonous farm work.


Fantasy in one way is bizarre and wild imagination. If used to

produce fictional writings it may be called a productive tool of

employment. Sometimes, as a daydream of an unfulfilled desire, it

has its place in a person's future, in the dreams of what could

happen to make the world a better place, in the visions of things to

come. But for some of the mentally ill, there is a confusion of the

future with the present, and such people are said to live in a

fantasy world. Unfortunately, this type of malady seems to be a

matter of degree, with many "normal" people allowing fantasy to enter

into and encroach on the present condition of matters.


A Down-to-Earth Spirituality strives to see the present for what

it really is, not a fantasy, not fictional, but the real world in

which we live and have our small part to play. If we are

authentically living our faith and of sound mind, our deeds should

reflect our ability to find our God in the world around us. We are

not willing to confuse fantasy with the reality of knowing the

present moment. Our ever deepening grasp on our threatened world is

our way to divorce fantasy from reality. So many want to believe in

their own importance, or to see a future dream as a present reality,

that they will float in the air and leave the real Earth behind.


Lord, keep our feet on the ground, our eyes focused on the road

ahead, and our minds alert.


Copyright © 2007 Earth Healing, Inc.  All rights reserved.

Albert J. Fritsch, Director
Janet Powell, Developer
Mary Byrd Davis, Editor
Paul Gallimore, ERAS Coordinator

[Privacy statement |  [Accessibility Pledge]
Janet Powell e-mail

Use FreeTranslation.com to translate this page into