Right of Way

I do not plan to make a habit of linking to other writers’ blogs, but this one resonates – and my longtime friend Liz Knapp Healy uncovered a good dose of serendipity in getting it to me.

procession

The Order of the Good Death (www.orderofthegooddeath.com) addresses whether processions are a benefit or a nuisance. They acknowledge this may be a discussion not everyone is willing to engage in. (This photo can be found on their site.)

I was recently waiting at a green light, letting a very long funeral procession cross through the intersection in front of me, when a pickup truck behind me swerved around my left (into the oncoming lane), honked, forced its way through the procession, and sped away down the street.

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I have spent the past few days working hard to see how to simplify my life and in the process encountered a quote from the French-born Etienne de Grellet.

He was born in 1773 into lower royalty, educated appropriately for his station, and called to serve King Louis XVI in the years leading up to the Revolution that began shortly after we in the U.S. had settled the wrangling over our Constitution. De Grellet narrowly escaped execution in Paris and fled to our soil, where he changed his given name to Stephen and joined the society of Friends, becoming a Quaker missionary; he spent the rest of his life in prisons and hospitals, bringing comfort to the afflicted, and recording his ideas.

“I shall pass this way but once,” he wrote during that period. “Any good that I can do or any kindness I can show to any human being; let me do it now.”

I believe a good dose of this thinking might persuade us to not break through a funeral procession.

I believe reading this blog post by the Rev. Cindy Maddox, senior pastor of the First Congregational Church of South Portland, Maine, might persuade us of the same.

That is, if we needed to be persuaded in the first place.

Blueberries for John

Pond

The pond, from which the home was named Pond House. Looking toward the Elizabeths.

“Once at least in the life of every human,” MFK Fisher writes in Serve it Forth, “whether he be brute or trembling daffodil, comes a moment of complete gastronomic satisfaction.”

You can find mine on Page 344 of the Tenth Edition of Fannie Farmer: “Maine Blueberry Pudding.” Continue reading

Doing Dishes, While Living Life

Summer_Tanager_s52-11-415_l_1

A Summer Tanager – one possibility for the glorious streak of red I saw in my backyard, while I was supposed to be preparing for autumn classes.

It would be nice if life brought to us challenges in neat packages: “Deal with this, and when you’re done I’ll bring you something new to test out.” Our school days are organized along these lines.

But the events and issues on our timelines overlap and circle around and sometimes travel against time and double up and triple up and overwhelm us and trip us up when they can. We do what we can, as we are able, using our skills for parsing catastrophe, and calling on the resources we recognize in the midst of all the chaos. Continue reading