Wednesday, October 14, 2009



It is a rainy day in the mountains of North Carolina where Katie and I are taking some days of rest. Yesterday was beautiful - sunny, warm and glorious colors! I guess it was my one day of "Indian Summer." But today has its own sort of beauty. Katie and I took an early morning walk in the rain. I saw a few deer which Kate did not see because her nose was to the ground...such good smells here! Most of the deer were in the fleeing mode because we are tramping on their turf, but it was lovely to see their warm brown bodies and beautiful white tails. I'm getting ready to make preparations for beef stew. It will cook most of the afternoon and fill the house with a fragrance better than Febreeze!

I've had this poem in mind for sometime now but it didn't hit paper until last night. I'm not sure it's in final form but close.


“You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky,
but you do not know how to interpret the signs of the times.”*

Squirrels run, finding
secret places for seeds and nuts.
Woolly worms act suicidal,
crossing hot asphalt,
showing off thick, dark coats.
Branches weighted with berries
drape themselves thickly over fences.
They are the fabric of winter food.

We read these signs like an almanac.
We trust the squirrel, the worm, the berry
to tell us the ways of nature.
Global warming says prepare to thaw.
Signs in nature cancel those preparations.
Careful and watchful – we are
the interpreters of nature’s ways.

How shall we interpret our times?
The newspaper and post office dwindle.
We are electronic; quick as a synapse.
Every day we speed toward
overcoming all that ails in life.
Soon we will not need to fear microbe or neutron.
We trust progress as the sign of a good life

History offers its signs as well.
We make war over and over,
with the same people.
We are curved inward and preoccupied with self.
Preparing for war, building walls
that separate each one from the next;
we trust no one.

Within history is a sign so pure
that all other signs blare false,
and all other news contributes little.
We watch as water, oil, bread and wine
become signs of love that will not cease.
This love is the true sign of the One
who made us in their image –
to be a sign of love to the world.

* Matthew 16:4
mah - 10/2009

Saturday, October 3, 2009


Trusses in place!

This morning I volunteered at the Habitat for Humanity house being built here in New Harmony. The house is being built by Habitat for the daughter of a parishioner. Lori is handicapped due to a brain injury. She uses a motorized wheelchair and can get around well in that. Lori is able to do a lot of things for herself and is able to live alone. She has been living in Evansville but that means she is 45 minutes to an hour away from her parents and support system here in New Harmony. This house is such a wonderful thing for Lori and her family and we are all pitching in to help get it done. And speaking of "getting it done," today was a great example of that. When I got to the site at about 7:30am there were no trusses up, and when I left at noon the trusses were in place and most of the decking for the roof! These volunteers are amazing. There were people there from New Harmony, Evansville, Illinois and lots of other places. One of the volunteers from Evansville is a man named Jack. Jack is 81 years old and he has worked on almost all of the houses Habitat has built in this area. He is the "unofficial" foreman of the crew who hops around showing others how to do things and helping with almost every aspect. I met a woman named Charlene whose house in Evansville was destroyed by a Tornado and Habitat built her present house. She has become a Habitat 'junkie." And I can see why. The atmosphere is enormously positive and everyone is helping one another. If conflicts arise they are quietly mediated and forgotten because there is a bigger issue at stake - a home for someone who needs it.

Welcome Home, Lori!

I got a piece of the action (so to speak) as I hammered nails into the seats for the trusses after they were in place and made marks to guide those who will put on the siding. There was very little "the novices" could do while the crane swung the trusses in place. It is probably the most dangerous time on the site but this one went like clockwork! When I drove away at noon I was astounded at the progress. Just what could we do if everyone gave 4 hours of volunteer service each week to work towards overcoming a pressing need in the world? And just how much better would we be able to relate to our neighbors if we spent some time working alongside of them and/or providing for their needs. I have been a supporter of Habitat for a long time and now I know first hand how crucial it is to be there! I am looking forward to going back next Saturday to help with whatever the needs are...