Friday, December 22, 2006

A Summer Afternoon

Back in Minnesota, my friend Victor has lamented that I “no longer post anything on Australia.”

So this one’s for Victor – and for all my friends currently experiencing a wintry December back in the States!

Yesterday (Friday, December 22, Australian time) started out overcast, but by mid-afternoon it was a perfect day to go exploring among the rock pools and platforms at the southern end of Port Macquarie’s Town Beach. The photo above was taken looking north from this southern end of the beach.

I love the tidal zone of coastal areas. To some people they may appear as simply rocky and lifeless. But, in fact, tidal zones can be very colourful places, teeming with life. Whole worlds exist within the pools of water, wherein a myriad of fascinating lifeforms can be observed if one simply takes the time to sit quietly and watch.

And then one only has to look up from these worlds to observe the sweep and majesty of the sea! Seemingly, it’s another whole world entirely. And yet . . .

. . . it’s amazing to me how the fleeting, fragile world of the rock pool co-exists, indeed, depends upon, the powerful surges of the ocean. As strange as it sounds, I find the natural rhythm of the sea’s ebb and flow very grounding.

In the homily I shared earlier this year with the community of St. Joan of Arc in Minneapolis, I noted the following:

“I long for a searching life ‘somewhere in between.’ Not a desperately searching life, but one filled with hope and the joy of pilgrimage, one that is respectful of honest doubts, one that is open to authentic relationships and to God in many worlds.

“I hope one day to marry the man I love – and I have a dream of holding our marriage ceremony within the tidal zone of a beach, in that place ‘somewhere in between’ the land and the sea.

“. . . [in so many ways] I believe we’re called to stand and live in the messy middle between polarizing extremes. Such an “in-between” place is like a valley – green and fertile – that lies between the mountains of extremism. It’s not a place of indecision or lukewarm commitments. It’s not a place where ‘anything goes.’ Rather it’s a place where we allow our convictions and beliefs the opportunity to be informed and shaped by new insights born of our experiences and the experiences of others; a place where we get to discover the light of God in unexpected faces and places.”

Returning from the beach to my parents’ apartment, I discovered I had a visitor on the balcony of my room. It was a little hawk!

Although it eyed me inquisitively and cautiously, it nevertheless let me come quite close so as to take a number of photographs. I felt blessed by this hawk’s visit.

Alone there in a sea of blue
It circles every afternoon
A single hawk in God's great sky
Looking down with God's own eyes.

He soars above Reunion Hill
I pray he spiral higher still
As if from such an altitude
He might just keep my love in view.

From “Reunion Hill” by Richard Shindell.

See also the previous Wild Reed posts: Boorganna, Flynns Beach, Rocky Beach, A Spring Swim, Pacific Skies, Afternoon, Bago Bluff, Coastal Views, and A Solitary Ramble.

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