June 2012


Turtles aren’t the first
to come out into plain sight
after winter’s withdrawal.
The first sighting
was a couple of months ago;
it was in the front flower bed,
stumbling over rocks.
Since, I have seen it
walking through the grass,
heading across the driveway.
In the evening,
it’s often on the back porch
near the cat food bowl.
A few days ago
Ann saw it floating in the water
in the goldfish pond,
which seemed dangerous
for a box turtle.
Suspecting it had been negotiating
the stones around the edge of the pond
and fallen in,
we lifted it out
and set it in the grass.
On the front porch,
it peeks in the dining room door
when I have it open.
I have no doubt it would enter.
Because it’s silent,
it’s always a surprise
when I spot it.
Now and then
I hear the sound
of the metal cat food bowl
against the concrete floor
of the back porch
and I smile,
knowing turtle is there.
Every spotting
brings another smile,
gladness for another chance
to enjoy this creature,
whose silent adventures
and persistent presence
help me get to know it
a little more.

At the dining room door

On the back porch next to the composting bucket

Foundations for the bee hives

Beekeepers
like Ann
love knowing bees,
watching them,
helping them
survive in these dangerous times.
There are many beekeeping tasks
and one of them is building foundations
that hold a sheet of wax
onto which the bees build comb,
store honey (food)
and brood (babies-to-be.)
The bees will need 90 foundations
for the seven hives that are their homes
at Turtle Rock Farm.
Erica, who is doing an internship
with us, has been busy on warm afternoons
building the 90 foundations
while the bees are busy
pollinating the organic blossoms
on pumpkin, squash, mustard
and other vegetable plants.
It takes a village—
and everyone wins:
bees, plants, people.

Four Silkies

They’re chickens!
Four weeks old.
Silkies.

We have gathered every Tuesday evening
for the last few years
(no one remembers
when we started)
to discuss the spiritual books
we read.
Because our sharings
are from the heart
and fearless
and because our seeking
is deep
and joyous
we have grown
to love each other
dearly.
Our friendship is a sacred,
magnificent,
cherished gift—
and much too rare.
Weekly, we meet in a closed room
in a church in Enid,
but once a year
we come to the farm
for a potluck.
It is bliss
for me
to sit with these friends
on my front porch
in the soft, cool breeze
of a June evening.
Gratitude
abounds.

(Cass,
we missed you.)

Debra, Randa, Diane

Joyce, Ruth (and Maizey)

Joyce

Debra

Together

St. Francis feeding a cardinal couple
at Turtle Rock Farm

Maybe it’s time to think again about ‘sanctuary.’ It’s not just the nave of a church; it’s a place of safety. Are the sweeping lawns of your church a safe place for divine creation? Can they become a true sanctuary, bursting with birdsong and native plants, protected forever from poisons and bulldozers? And after your church becomes a true sanctuary for divine creation, what about the lands owned by parishioners? Imagine a sanctuary movement of a different sort.

And what about this notion of ‘preaching to the choir’? Every week we come together to sing God’s praises. But what can we do to protect the songs of creation? Can the choir become the protectors of birdsong, the protectors of marshland rich with the calls of frogs? There are many kinds of music in the world. Is it enough to sing about them as they vanish? If those with beautiful human voices don’t act to protect the voices of the birds and the frogs, who exactly will?

Can an omnipotent being weep? Can we even begin to imagine the ferocity of divine grief when the last varied thrush vanishes or when the last flecks of colored fish fade from a coral reef? Can there be a dishonoring of God greater than this—to disregard the love of God for the small lives {God} has shaped with {God’s} hands? People of the church know how to spread the word of God. Spread this word—that the Earth is the Lord’s Creation and our work in the world is to keep it safe.

Moral Ground. Ethical Action for a Planet in Peril
Kathleen Dean Moore and Michael P. Nelson

We shear the alpaca
every year on Earth Day
so they are cooler in the summer.
Even so,
they get hot
on the Oklahoma prairie.
We know when Mr. Darcy is hot
because he washes his front feet
in the water trough.
He’s done that a couple of days
in the last few weeks,
so we have set up a mister
and a sprinkler
for them.
We turn the water on for a little while
in the hottest part of the day.
Darcy loves water.
He stands where the mist blows
on his face.
And when the sprinkler is on,
he stands right above it.
William and Biak Bay
have to stand alongside him
catching whatever drops they can.

Mr. Darcy standing over the sprinkler

Constant attention
to the weather
is in our genes.
Everyone who’s lived on this farm
before us
has been exposed to
and affected by
what’s happening in the skies.
On this recent June morning
the day seemed to be progressing
as usual,
with cool breezes
and the first sunlight.
And then we looked to the north.
The sky was stunningly
dark and inky.
Soon the wind began to blow
a little more
and we stood watching,
feeling the cooler temperature
and hoping for rain.
As the front pushed south
over the darkened farm
we received an inch
of rain.
We joined all
who ever lived on this farm
in the happy rain day
dance.

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