Summer Thoughts

Back in May, I was approached by Leo Poncelet, editor of Tribune libre unitarienne, an online electronic journal of liberal religion based in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. He wanted to publish my article entitled “Our Inner Ape,” in the Spring 2009 edition of the UU World and he was asking permission for this, as well as to translate my article into French. My response? Absolutely!

How cool! This represents just the tip of the iceberg, in a year that was full of joyful surprises. I’m grateful to be your minister, and I’m looking forward to many more years of serving the cause of liberal religion alongside you here in Atlanta.

As you read this, I will have begun my summer leave. I’ll be out of the office and away from the pulpit from June 29 to August 19, for the combined purposes of vacation and study leave. During this time of personal rest and renewal, I won’t be reading emails or conducting congregational business. My wonderful colleague, the Rev. Marti Keller, will be Acting Senior Minister and Executive in my absence.

For a significant part of the time, my family and I will be in Chestnut Ridge, New York. As some of you know, Laura is a teacher at the Waldorf School in Decatur, and as part of her professional development, she’ll be taking intensive classes at Sunbridge College for the month of July. While Laura is doing this, Sophia and I will find adventures to enjoy in New York. I’ll also be doing a lot of reading as I prepare for another year of sermons. One book I’ll definitely be re-reading is Walden, by Henry David Thoreau. Beginning in October, as a congregation we’ll be exploring this classic of Unitarian Universalism together, and it’ll be featured in our First Sunday Services. I can’t wait!

For now, I leave you with this poem by Barbara Crooker:

Poem on a Line by Anne Sexton, ‘We are All Writing God’s Poem’”

Today, the sky’s the soft blue of a work shirt washed
a thousand times. The journey of a thousand miles
begins with a single step. On the interstate listening
to NPR, I heard a Hubble scientist”
say, “The universe is not only stranger than we
think, it’s stranger than we can think.” I think
I’ve driven into spring, as the woods revive
with a loud shout, redbud trees, their gaudy
scarves flung over bark’s bare limbs. Barely doing
sixty, I pass a tractor trailer called Glory Bound,
and aren’t we just? Just yesterday,
I read Li Po: “There is no end of things
in the heart,” but it seems like things
are always ending—vacation or childhood,
relationships, stores going out of business,
like the one that sold jeans that really fit—
And where do we fit in? How can we get up
in the morning, knowing what we do? But we do,
put one foot after the other, open the window,
make coffee, watch the steam curl up
and disappear. At night, the scent of phlox curls
in the open window, while the sky turns red violet,
lavender, thistle, a box of spilled crayons.
The moon spills its milk on the black tabletop
for the thousandth time.