Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Your Voice

This brings me back to thoughts of the voice of God…remembrance of when the choir director told me that notes are made up of harmonic waves.  What if the note of the voice of God is also made up of these waves?  Those waves being bits of the wind, bits of laughter, wailing, loving, soothing, shouting, mourning, foghorns, ram’s horns, car horns…elements of the noise of life’s fullness harmonizing into the note that is the voice of God.  (KMK on CTL, April 8, 2009, “Harmonics.”)

I don’t usually think of you in gendered human terms… but while listening to music recently, I realized that the feeling I get when listening to a rich alto sing is a feeling I associate with you…so relaxing, so open, so soothing, inviting… 

I remembered a conversation I had once at Xavier after John found me flat on my back in the middle of the center aisle, looking up at the ceiling.  (I had thought I was alone.) Then, I started thinking about other sounds: The sirens that pass by day and night; the caffeinated gurgle of the coffee pot; the wind, brushing out the knots and tangles of tree branches at dusk; the panicked shout of parents looking for their child; the fish breaking surface in the wide-quiet of a lakeside morning; the first cry and the last breath; the wake cut by a low flying swift skimming through crops; the rain; the pounding of feet running away in fear…all of this…all of this comes together in your voice. The harmonic waves of all that it means to be alive and part of creation in the midst of our messy and glorious world…they meet in your voice. 

Yours is the voice of understanding; the sigh of awe; the steadying ballast; the strength to let go; the beckon; the scrape of the chair when someone we trust moves closer to listen; the metronome of every heart; the music that bears us home. 

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Simply A Good Weekend

In my imagination, I could see myself picking up words, looking through them at what lay beyond; draping them like shawls; offering them on raised hands—lifting them up; scooping them from puddles and pools, allowing them to wash over me and make me laugh and smile; drinking them from waterfalls, filling up with the life their waters contain…allowing them to take my shape and feeling my own shape change and swell with liberation as they lived into my marrow and whispered their secret beauties. (KMK on CTL, May 6, 2009, ‘Playing with Treasure’)

~Vincent VanGogh, in his letters to his brother, Theo, outlined a life filled with the tangible.  Vincent loved to look, to touch, to smell, and to taste the world about him.  Most of all, he loved to look, and then feel, with his hands grasping the charcoal or brush, what he had just seen.  His hands roamed all over his mind, trying to decipher the different grains of thought and emotion…~Writer Lucy Grealy in an essay called “My God.”

I spent the last several days at the Religious of Atlantic Canada conference which took place at a local university.  The theme was “Keep your Hand on the Plough.” Over the course of the gathering, I found myself talking about things that are important to me with around 40 other Sisters from at least six different congregations:  It was so refreshing to splash my hands in the pools of my heart and draw forth JOY…draw forth DELIGHT and FREEDOM…to feel the sustaining vibration of LAUGHTER as it saw new light… Each of these words are filled with experience…they wriggle with those grains of thought and emotion; they wriggle with the divine stuff of life that cannot be contained…and it was gift to hear and to feel them whisper their secret beauties once again. 

That was gift, just as it was gift to hear the life-words of others…to hear the sound of voices merging when we prayed by singing…to have newly met many people who have also said Yes to God and to great mystery and grand adventure with all that they have to offer.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

With Pen and Fork and Fog

From my notebook...
I love hanging out with you in the kitchen…I love celebrating the diversity of textures and flavors, taking them in, arranging them, marveling at the science and delighting in the sensory experience. I love eating poetry that I created…I love the freedom that comes with the time to concentrate and the space to let go. I love fiddling, experimenting, using basic ingredients in different sorts of ways to achieve contrast, harmony, cohesion, surprise, intrigue, comfort, interest, nourishment.  I love that this time with you is more about learning through intimacy rather than complexity.  I love that carrots are more carrot-y when roasted simply with olive oil and sea salt on a cookie sheet covered in parchment paper. I love knowing that tomato paste makes red lentil lemon soup eversomuch more punchy without leaving a trace of tomato taste and also knowing that something would be discernibly missing without it.  

I love cooking with you and I love writing with you and I love that those two activities are not so different, really.  Putting a thought to paper or screen, putting a meal in a bowl or on a plate, and sharing them via blog or print or the place setting across from me… They are manifestations of your delight made known in the universe; your love made known to the senses.

Somehow especially these days when the world around me has been shrouded in fog and steeped in rain, these simple wonders, these deep joys, have been like the brilliant “new green” leaf bundles at the tips of the branches brushed clean by the wind outside the room where I pray: a great delight, most welcome, and dearly satisfying.

Mushroom and Red Pepper Stroganoff over Rice

A bit less than a tablespoon of oil and a small blop of butter into a hot skillet

Two handfuls of chopped onion into the skillet to cook for some minutes

A healthy teaspoon and a half of paprika and a good pinch of chipotle pepper into the skillet

Stir and shoosh around

Add a handful of red bell pepper (in pieces about a quarter inch wide and about an inch long)


Add sliced/whole mushrooms (cremini hold up well)

Shoosh around until mushrooms have reduced in size and most of the liquid is gone

Add a glug or two of cooking wine or dry white wine and stir

Sprinkle a bit of flour over skillet contents and stir to thicken

Cook until a good gravy clings to everything and there isn’t too much extra liquid.

Add cooked rice to skillet, stir, and serve