Monday, April 30, 2018

Welcoming the Return of Spring

The heart fires are stirring
with the new life returning;
It's time now for learning
what rebirth really means.

. . . So, praise to the Earth
let all her creatures now sing;
Hope is renewed with
the coming of the Spring.

– Lisa Theil
Excerpted from "Ostara (Spring Equinox)"

Last Friday, April 27, I led a "prayer gathering" in the chapel of Abbott Northwestern Hospital (ANW). Entitled "Let the Greening Begin," this gathering was a celebration of the return of spring.

As regular readers of this blog would know, I'm currently mid-way through a year-long chaplain residency at ANW, and the planning and facilitating of Friday's event served as my residency's "leadership project."

About 20 people attended the event, one which not only celebrated spring's welcome return but the creation-centered wisdom that is found within the Pagan, Christian, Sufi, and Indigenous spiritual traditions. In planning and facilitating this interfaith celebration of spring I shared the writings of Joyce Rupp, Sitting Bull, Starhawk, Hafez, and Wendell Berry, along with the music of Lisa Thiel, Angelo Badalamenti, and Buffy Sainte-Marie.

I also shared my photography, with many of the images of spring incorporated into the event having been previously shared at The Wild Reed. (See, for example, here, here, and here.)

Left: In welcoming those in attendance I shared the following . . .

"Let the greening begin!" . . . What a wonderful way to speak of the transformative journey that is life; a journey in which we are all called to be active participants. At the core of this journey is the choice to open ourselves to the Sacred Presence at the heart of all creation and to embody this Presence, this transforming Presence, in our words and actions of compassion and justice; words and actions that encourage and inspire movement towards wholeness.

All the great spiritual traditions speak of this holy and very human endeavor; and today, as we celebrate the return of spring and all that this season represents, we'll be lifting up the wisdom of a number of these traditions. May this wisdom be both meaningful and nourishing for each one of us and for our journeys.

Above: With my fellow chaplain residents Chandler, Katie, and Hae.

Above: With members of the Palliative Care team, with whom I've been working since March.

Right: Friends and colleagues Mary and Nancy . . .

. . . Chandler, Katie, Ken, Paula, and Hae

. . . and Mary, Michelle, Sharon, Alisa, and Sigrid.

Afterwards, the prayer service's beautiful spring flowers graced first my office desk (above) and then my dining room table at home.

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Celebrating the Return of Spring (2017)
Photo of the Day – April 17, 2018
The Spring Blizzard of 2018
Spring's Snowy Start
Farewell Winter
A New Day
In Minneapolis, A Snowy February Friday
Spring: Truly the Season for Joy and Hope
A Snowy Spring Day
Let the Greening Begin
Waiting in Repose for Spring's Awakening Kiss
Dreaming of Spring

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Let's Dance . . .

Today is International Dance Day, about which Wikipedia notes the following.

International Dance Day is a global celebration of dance, created by the Dance Committee of the International Theatre Institute (ITI), the main partner for the performing arts of UNESCO. The event takes place every year on April 29, the anniversary of the birth of Jean-Georges Noverre (1727-1810), the creator of modern ballet. The day strives to encourage participation and education in dance through events and festivals held on the date all over the world.

Following is an inspiring video put together by the YouTube channel People Are Awesome to celebrate International Dance Day 2018. Enjoy!

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
To Dance . . .
The Soul of a Dancer
The Art of Dancing as the Supreme Symbol of the Spiritual Life
Aristotle Papanikolaou on How Being Religious is Like Being a Dancer
The Potential of Art and the Limits of Orthodoxy to Connect Us to the Sacred
Move Us, Loving God
A Kind of Dancing Divinity
Balance: The Key to Serenity and Peace
The Premise of All Forms of Dance
Not Whether We Dance, But How
"I Came Alive with Hope"
The Dancer and the Dance
And As We Dance . . .

Image: Eddie Bruno Oroyan. (Photo: Carlos Gonzalez)

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Quote of the Day

Any message that is not related to the liberation of the poor in a society is not Christ's message. Any theology that is indifferent to the theme of liberation is not Christian theology.

James H. Cone

Related Off-site Links and Updates:
Father of Black Liberation Theology, the Rev. Dr. James Cone, Dies at 79 – Angela Helm (The Root, April 29, 2018).
Remembering the Theologian Who Took on the Hypocrisy of the White Church – John Blake (CNN, April 30, 2018).
James H. Cone: In Memoriam – Kameron Carter (Religion Dispatches, April 30, 2018).
Why James Cone Was the Most Important Theologian of His Time – Jim Wallis (Sojourners, May 2, 2018).

Friday, April 27, 2018

What a Difference Four Days Can Make

The picture above was taken on Thursday, April 19 as I walked along Minnehaha Creek to catch my bus to work on Chicago Ave. in south Minneapolis. The photo below was taken at (roughly) the same spot four days on Monday, April 23. Yes, the lingering winter here in Minnesota is finally being vanquished!

Following are more images taken around Minnehaha Creek within this same time period. Enjoy!

NEXT: New Spring Green

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Photo of the Day – April 17, 2018
The Spring Blizzard of 2018
Spring's Snowy Start
Farewell Winter
A New Day
In Minneapolis, A Snowy February Friday
A Snowy Spring Day
Waiting in Repose for Spring's Awakening Kiss
Dreaming of Spring

Monday, April 23, 2018

Quote of the Day

It was James Baldwin who said, "To be black in America and to be relatively conscious is to be in a rage almost all the time." My question is: Why aren't all people? . . . How can you stand for the national anthem of a nation that preaches and propagates “freedom and justice for all,” that is so unjust to so many of the people living there? How can you not be in a rage when you know that you are always at risk of death in the streets or enslavement in the prison system? How can you willingly be blind to the truth of systemic racialized injustice?

– Colin Kaepernick
Excerpted from “Colin Kaepernick Wins
Amnesty’s Ambassador of Conscience Award

Democracy Now!
April 23, 2018

Related Off-site Links:
Colin Kaepernick Accepts Amnesty Award on Behalf of the “Countless People” Fighting for Human Rights – Tia Berger (Atlanta Black Star, April 23).
Colin Kaepernick States That Police Engage In “Lawful Lynching” – Malcolm Wyche (Hip Hop Wired, April 23, 2018).
Kaepernick Receives the Ambassador of Conscience Award and Some Are in Their Feelings – Farida Dawkins (Face 2 Face Africa, April 23, 2018).

UPDATES: Serena Williams Praises Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid for Doing "So Much ... for the Greater Good' – Courtney Han (ABC News, September 1, 2018).
Colin Kaepernick Named Face of Nike's 30th Anniversary of 'Just Do It' Campaign – Tim Daniels (Bleacher Report, September 3, 2018).

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Progressive Perspectives on Colin Kaepernick and the “Take A Knee” Movement
Quote of the Day – November 13, 2017
Remembering Philando Castile and Demanding Abolition of the System That Targets and Kills People of Color
"This Doesn't Happen to White People"
Quote of the Day – March 31, 2016
Something to Think About – December 29, 2015
Quote of the Day – November 25, 2015
"We Are All One" – #Justice4Jamar and the 4th Precinct Occupation: Photos, Reflections and Links
An Update on #Justice4Jamar and the 4th Precinct Occupation
Rallying in Solidarity with Eric Garner and Other Victims of Police Brutality
"Say Her Name" Solidarity Action for Sandra Bland
In Minneapolis, Rallying in Solidarity with Black Lives in Baltimore

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Happy Birthday, Dad!

In Australia today my Dad celebrates his 81st birthday.

Happy Birthday, Dad!

I've said it before but it's worth saying again: My brothers and I are very fortunate to have Gordon James Bayly as our father. He is a man of integrity, compassion, and selfless service to others. We experienced and witnessed such qualities growing up in our hometown of Gunnedah, and they're qualities that are still very much part of our father today.

I love you, Dad, and can’t thank you enough for all you continue to be and give to me, my brothers, our family, and so many others whose lives are touched by yours. I'm sorry I can't be with you to celebrate your birthday, but I sure do look forward to seeing you sometime later this year.

Above: The Bayly family – Sunday, August 6, 2017. When I was back in Australia last July-August I organized a belated 80th birthday party for Dad in Coogee, a beachside suburb of Sydney.

For more images of this very special celebration, click here.

In celebrating Dad's's birthday at The Wild Reed in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2017 I've shared quite a number of photos from the Bayly family archives. In fact, I think I've pretty much exhausted my supply of such images.

So . . . since tomorrow is Earth Day, I'm thinking it would be fun to share a few pics of Dad out in nature.

Above: Dad as a schoolboy in the 1940s.

Above: Dad at a rest stop in the mountains between Port Macquarie and our family's hometown of Gunnedah – Wednesday, March 24, 2015.

Above: My older brother Chris and two of my nephews (Liam and Ryan) with "Grandpa Bayly."

I tok this photo as we were hiking through the Kelvin State Forest in December of 1998. This forest is located 20 kilometres north-east of Gunnedah. It’s an area characterized by sandstone ridges and steep bluffs that rise above the surrounding farmland. Isolated from the mountain ranges to the north and east, the highest point of these ridges is 885 metres. The forest contains a waterfall, numerous feral goats, a cave that is home to a colony of bent-wing bats, and (as you can see from the photo above) lookout sites that offer sweeping views of the surrounding forest and farmland.

Above: Dad on Port Macquarie's Town Beach – Friday, May 21, 2016.

Above: With Mum and Dad in Coogee – Saturday, August 5, 2017.

Above: A lovely shot of Dad and Mum in Port Macquarie – August 10, 2017.

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
In Coogee, a Very Special Birthday Celebration
Happy Birthday, Dad (2017)
Happy Birthday, Dad (2015)
Happy Birthday, Dad (2014)
Happy Birthday, Dad (2013)
Happy Birthday, Dad (2011)
Happy Birthday, Dad (2010)
Happy Birthday, Dad (2009)
Congratulations, Mum and Dad
Catholic Rainbow (Australian) Parents

See also:
Remembering Nanna Smith
Commemorating My Grandfather, Aub Bayly, and the Loss of the AHS Centaur
A Visit to Gunnedah
Port Macquarie Days
Europe 2005

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Photo of the Day

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Spring's Snowy Start
Farewell Winter
Out and About – Winter 2017-2018

Image: Michael J. Bayly.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

The Spring Blizzard of 2018

It's being called a blizzard and a winter storm of "historic" proportions. I'm opting to acknowledge the season we're actually in (as hard as it may be to believe) and calling it the spring blizzard of 2018. . . . And, yes, it's still very much happening right now in the Twin Cities and across southern Minnesota.

I was out in it for a while this afternoon, giving a ride home to my friend Deandre and then stopping by to visit my friend Kathleen in the Seward neighborhood of south Minneapolis, where the photos accompanying this post where taken. (That's Kathleen's son, Joey, cleaning off his car before going to work.) I'm home safe now . . . where I intend to hunker down until Monday morning.

Following is what the Star Tribune's Miguel Otárola says about today's blizzard:

An April blizzard so potent that forecasters dubbed it “historic” slammed into southern Minnesota Saturday, dumping heavy snow and whipping it around on high winds.

“This is shaping up to be a historic storm,” the National Weather Service in Chanhassen said Saturday morning as it expanded its blizzard warning eastward into the entire metro area — an extremely rare warning for the urban area.

Snow emergencies were declared in St. Paul and many metro-area suburbs, prompting parking restrictions.

Most roads in the southwestern part of the state were closed, and travel was extremely difficult to impossible in other areas, including the Twin Cities. The Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport halted all flights until at least 7 p.m. “due to a lack of visibility and the fast rate of snowfall,” it said in a tweet.

Snowfall was expected to intensify through Saturday and continue well into Sunday, likely setting records for April amounts, the Weather Service said. Visibility will continue to deteriorate.

– Miguel Otárola
Excerpted from "'Historic' Blizzard Hits Twin Cities"
Star Tribune
April 14, 2018

Related Off-site Links:
Blizzard Conditions Pummel Southern Minnesota and the Twin CitiesMinnesota Public Radio News (April 14, 2018).
Major Snow Totals Still on Track as the Brunt of the Storm Moves In – Joe Nelson (Bring Me the News, April 13, 2018).

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Spring's Snowy Start
Farewell Winter
A New Day
In Minneapolis, A Snowy February Friday
A Snowy Spring Day
Waiting in Repose for Spring's Awakening Kiss
Dreaming of Spring

Quote of the Day

Today, the discourse of fascists and ‘anti-imperialist leftists’ is virtually indistinguishable. . . . This ‘anti-imperialism’ is one which equates imperialism with the actions of the US alone. . . . This pro-fascist left seems blind to any form of imperialism that is non-western in origin.

. . . There are many valid reasons for opposing external military intervention in Syria, whether it be by the US, Russia, Iran or Turkey. None of these states are acting in the interests of the Syrian people, democracy or human rights. They act solely in their own interests. The US, UK and French intervention today is less about protecting Syrians from mass-atrocity and more about enforcing an international norm that chemical weapons use is unacceptable, lest one day they be used on westerners themselves. More foreign bombs will not bring about peace and stability. There’s little appetite to force Assad from power which would contribute to ending the worst of the atrocities. Yet in opposing foreign intervention, one needs to come up with an alternative to protect Syrians from slaughter. It’s morally objectionable, to say the least, to expect Syrians to just shut up and die to protect the higher principle of ‘anti-imperialism’. Many alternatives to foreign military intervention have been proposed by Syrians time and again and have been ignored. And so the question remains, when diplomatic options have failed, when a genocidal regime is protected from censure by powerful international backers, when no progress is made in stopping daily bombing, ending starvation sieges or releasing prisoners who are being tortured on an industrial scale, what can be done?

I no longer have an answer. I’ve consistently opposed all foreign military intervention in Syria, supported Syrian-led processes to rid their country of a tyrant and international processes grounded in efforts to protect civilians and human rights and ensure accountability for all actors responsible for war-crimes. A negotiated settlement is the only way to end this war – and still seems as distant as ever.

– Leila al-Shami
Excerpted from "The ‘Anti-Imperialism’ of Idiots"
Leila's Blog
April 14, 2018

Related Off-site Links:
U.S. Launches Attacks on Syria – Mark Katov and Greg Myre (NPR News, April 13).
In "Clear Violation of Domestic and International Law," Trump Bombs Syria – Jon Queally (Common Dreams, April 13, 2018).
American Air Strikes in Syria Do Nothing to Further Justice for the Victims of the Attack on Douma – Phyllis Bennis (The Nation, April 13, 2018).
Pro-Assad Official Says Targeted Bases Were Evacuated on Russian Warning – Reuters (April 13, 2018).
We Are a War-Making People – Charles P. Pierce (Esquire, April 13, 2018).

UPDATES: Despite Trump's Bluster, It's Unclear What Syria Strikes Accomplished – Peter Beaumont and Andrew Roth (The Guardian, April 15, 2018).
The Search for Truth in the Rubble of Douma – and One Doctor’s Doubts Over the Chemical Attack – Robert Fisk (The Independent, April 17, 2018).
Syria Controversy: Don't Believe the Official Narrative – Max Blumenthal (Truthdig, April 23, 2018).

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
The War Racket
Saying "No" to Endless U.S. Wars
Rallying in Solidarity with the Refugees of Syria and the World
Making the Connections
Quote of the Day – May 28, 2017
Quote of the Day – September 7, 2015

Friday, April 13, 2018

Celebrating Al Green, Soul Legend

Today is soul music legend Al Green's 72nd birthday, and to mark the occasion here at The Wild Reed I share a video of Green performing one of his most famous songs, "Love and Happiness," live on Soul Train in the early 1970s.

But first, here's a brief excerpt from an insightful 2008 piece by Matt Rogers about Al Green . . .

Like one of his idols, Sam Cooke, [Al Green] fits into the crowded pantheon of gospel and pop singers who have been tormented by the tug-of-war between church and club. It’s no secret the pulpit has informed and shaped popular music, let alone soul music, from the get-go – there is a list of singers perhaps as thick as the Bible itself who’ve crossed the pew lines and brought that sacred fire and phrasing to the land of milk and honey(s).

. . . It’s a fool’s game, certainly, but draw up your list of the greatest male pop singers, and though some may be as good – Sam, Jackie, Smokey, Marvin, Curtis – none were better than Al Green. Particularly at helping you and that special someone slip into something just a little bit more comfortable. Armed with a quiver of slinky, sensual songs that praised love, beauty and happiness, and delivered with an unmatched tenor and charisma, unmoored and siphoned from the church, Green created music that got under your skin, while your skin got under the sheets.

And here's a little of what Wikipedia says about Al Green:

Albert Leornes Greene (born April 13, 1946), often known as The Reverend Al Green, is an African American singer, songwriter and record producer, best known for recording a series of soul hit singles in the early 1970s, including "Take Me to the River," "Tired of Being Alone", "I'm Still in Love with You," "Love and Happiness", and his signature song, "Let's Stay Together."

Inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995, Green was referred to on the museum's site as being "one of the most gifted purveyors of soul music." He has also been referred to as "The Last of the Great Soul Singers." Green was included in the Rolling Stone list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time, ranking at No. 65.

Related Off-site Links:
Al Green: One of the Refiners of American Soul Music – Farida Dawkins (Face 2 Face Africa, April 13, 2018).
Seven of Al Green's Greatest SongsSmooth Radio (April 10, 2018).
Al Green Strives for Perfection – Matt Rogers (Wax Poetics, 2008).
The Gospel According to Albert Green – Atomic Cafe (August 4, 2011).
Al Green's Journey to Glory: "What I Learned . . ." (April 13, 2018).

Previously featured artists at The Wild Reed:
Dusty Springfield | David Bowie | Kate Bush | Maxwell | Buffy Sainte-Marie | Prince | Frank Ocean | Maria Callas | Loreena McKennitt | Rosanne Cash | Petula Clark | Wendy Matthews | Darren Hayes | Jenny Morris | Gil Scott-Heron | Shirley Bassey | Rufus Wainwright | Kiki Dee | Suede | Marianne Faithfull | Dionne Warwick | Sam Sparro | Wanda Jackson | Engelbert Humperdinck | Pink Floyd | The Church | Enrique Iglesias | Yvonne Elliman | Lenny Kravitz | Helen Reddy | Stephen Gately | Judith Durham | Nat King Cole | Emmylou Harris | Bobbie Gentry | Russell Elliot | BØRNS | Hozier | Enigma | Moby (featuring the Banks Brothers) | Cat Stevens | Chrissy Amphlett | Jon Stevens | Nada Surf | Tom Goss (featuring Matt Alber) | Autoheart | Scissor Sisters | Mavis Staples | Claude Chalhoub | Cass Elliot | Duffy | The Cruel Sea | Wall of Voodoo | Loretta Lynn and Jack White | Foo Fighters | 1927 | Kate Ceberano | Tee Set | Joan Baez | Wet, Wet, Wet | Stephen “Tin Tin” Duffy | Fleetwood Mac | Jane Clifton | Australian Crawl | Pet Shop Boys | Marty Rhone | Josef Salvat | Kiki Dee and Carmelo Luggeri | Aquilo | The Breeders | Tony Enos | Tupac Shakur | Nakhane Touré

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Out and About – Winter 2017-2018

Well, the spring equinox may have been and gone but we're still experiencing wintry weather here in Minnesota. In fact, winter storm is forecast for this weekend, with the Hennepin County Emergency Management issuing a warning that "all precipitation types are likely . . . including heavy rain, freezing rain, snow, and strong winds." In response, the hospital where I work has issued a statement that includes the following: "Predictions vary, but the worst case scenario includes a foot of snow, ice accumulations, widespread tree damage, and power outages." (4/14/18 Update: The Spring Blizzard of 2018.)

Given all of this, I don't feel that bad for the time it's taken me to look back on the winter that looks and feels as though it's very much still with us.

But first, regular readers will be familiar with my "Out and About" series, one that I began in April 2007 as a way of documenting my life as an “out” gay man, seeking to be all “about” the Spirit-inspired work of embodying God’s justice and compassion in the world. I've continued the series in one form or another for the last 10 years – in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 . . . and now into 2018.

So let's get started with this latest installment . . .

My year-long chaplain residency at Abbott Northwestern Hospital (ANW) in Minneapolis continues. In fact, I'm a little over halfway through – which I find hard to believe. Where does the time go?

In the photo above I'm pictured with my fellow resident chaplains Hae, Chandler and Katie. We're in the Bigelow Chapel of United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities at a Transforming Chaplaincy forum on January 10, 2018.

Right: Getting into the holiday spirit with Hae and chaplain intern Simeon – November 29, 2017.

To find out what exactly we're doing to create some holiday cheer, click here.

Above: My desk in the Spiritual Care department of Abbott Northwestern Hospital. If you look closely you'll see a piece of bark from the Prayer Tree, a photo of my family from last August (the last time I was in Australia), a photo of myself with singer-songwriter Buffy Sainte-Marie and drummer Michel Lee Bruyere (from August 2016), my Adsum Award from the Catholic Coalition for Church Reform, and a framed print of "The Compassionate Christ" by John Giuliani.

. . . And, yes, I have a new statue of Cernunnos (right)! For a picture of the first one, and a reflection I wrote last year about this Celtic deity, click here.

Following is part of what my CPE supervisor Mark Mallinger wrote in my Unit I evaluation.

Michael has a big heart for those outside the mainstream and much of our patient population is part of this diverse group of people. Michael’s unconditional acceptance of others is I’m sure felt by the patients and families he encounters and cares for. When my mom and daughter were sick, I experienced Michael’s care and compassion as he reached out to ask how I was doing. He is a good listener and skilled at picking up themes and content under the surface. Michael taps into his love for ritual by facilitating appropriate and helpful ritual moments in his care. Michael has received several words and notes of gratitude for his care and wrote the following in his final self-evaluation:

I have no problems with initiating and maintaining pastoral relationships with patients and staff. I see such initiating and the relational interactions that follow as an integral aspect of my role as a chaplain, i.e., to embody a listening and caring presence. I think that, understood in this way, this role answers the key questions of each and every chaplaincy encounter/relationship: Who am I? and Why am I here? . . . I am an embodiment of compassionate listening and care and I’m here to be this embodiment within the context of this particular situation and with these particular people.

In terms of future ministry, Michael has in many ways found his niche in chaplaincy where so many of his gifts are valued and where he has discovered profound meaning. Michael wrote a beautiful paragraph about how he views “calling” and his own preferred description of discovery:

To be honest, I don’t believe in a “calling,” other than that of being a kind, compassionate, and aware presence in whatever circumstance I find myself. But I feel I’ve experienced enough encounters of genuine connection, transforming connection, through my chaplaincy work that I know in my heart that I make a difference – a positive and healing difference – in people’s lives in my role as chaplain. I am definitely mindful of this, and humbled by it too. Whenever I pause to think about it, I find it to be such an awe-filled thing: to be a human embodiment of the Sacred in the healthcare setting – a setting in which people, more often than not, find themselves at their most vulnerable, with many, if not all the securities and certainties of “normal life” suddenly swept away by the anxiety, uncertainty and fear that an illness, loss, or new diagnosis often brings. I’ve discovered that to be a “rock” – a grounded, compassionate, non-anxious and listening presence – for people in these types of situations puts my mind and heart in a space of such gravitas that it can’t help but be for me an amazing, humbling, and transforming experience.

Above: The wonderful group of chaplain interns we had at ANW from the beginning of September until mid December. From left: Simeon, Verna, Parker, Angela, and Yvette.

Above: The new group of chaplain interns that started at ANW in mid January 2018. From left: Dave, Phillipos, Sheila, Suzie, Dong, Mark, and PJ.

Above: The Rev. Denise Dunbar-Perkins, who retired in December 2017 after many years as a chaplain at ANW.

Left and below: The December 19 farewell party for Denise, hosted by the Spiritual Care department.

Above: Katie, Hae, Denise, and Verna – December 7, 2018.

For more about my journey in interfaith chaplaincy work, see the previous Wild Reed posts:
Interfaith Chaplaincy: Meeting People Where They're At
Chaplaincy: A Ministry of Welcome
Spirituality and the Healthcare Setting
Getting Into the Holiday Spirit

Above and below: Two of a number of gatherings I hosted this past winter to celebrate both the Winter Solstice and Christmastide.

For more pics and commentary, click here and here.

Above: My boyfriend Brent in a winter wonderland! . . . Actually, we were at Rosedale Center. We were there to see the latest Star Wars film, The Last Jedi.

Above: My housemate Tim and his girlfriend Colleen by Minnehaha Creek, close to where we live in south Minneapolis – December 9, 2017.

Above: My dear friend Noelle with her granddaughter Amelia – December 23, 2017.

Right: Brent and Amelia – December 23, 2017.

Above: My dear friend Joan and her fiancee Matt – December 24, 2018. You may recall that Joan accompanied me on a visit back to Australia in 2015.

Above: My friend Kathleen – January 20, 2018.

Above: On Saturday, January 20, 2018 I hosted my fifth (somewhat) annual tea party at my home in south Minneapolis. At this event were my dear friends Ken and Carol Masters and a number of the wise and inspiring women who are members of (or closely connected to) the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet – St. Paul Province. I'm a consociate member of this Catholic order, and two dear CSJs, Marguerite Corcoran and Rita McDonald, served as my companions during my two-year consociate candidacy (2006-2007).

For more images and commentary on this event, click here.

Above: My friend Omar – January 27, 2018.

Above: My friend Simeon – March 13, 2018.

Above: My friend Deandre – March 16, 2018.

Above: With my friend Brian at Minneapolis' Orchestra Hall. I was Brian's guest for the Minnesota Orchestra's February 9 concert, a definitely highlight of which was the orchestra's performance of Gabriel Fauré's Requiem, Opus 48 (concert version of 1900).

For my reflections on what I call Fauré's "ChristoPagan" requiem, click here.

Above: Hey, it's Black Panther himself!

On the evening of Thursday, February 15, Brent and I went to see Black Panther at the West End in St. Louis Park. . . . And who should have reserved seats right beside us but our friends George and John (left)!

The young boy pictured above was just one of a number of movie-goers dressed up as either characters in the film or in traditional African attire. It was great to see how happy and excited everyone was about seeing a movie which, in many ways, is about envisioning a world were all are recognized, represented, and valued. Without doubt, Black Panther plays a big role in ushering in such a world.

For more on Black Panther at The Wild Reed, see:
The Important Cultural Moment That Is Black Panther
Celebrating Black Panther – Then and Now

On Sunday, March 4, 2018, my boyfriend Brent hosted an Oscars Night Party.

Above (from left): John, Brent, George, Jim, and Omar.

Right: With my friend Kathleen.

Above: My friends John and George – March 4, 2018.

Above: Winter scenes – Minneapolis, MN, 2017-2018.

Winter 2017-2018 Wild Reed posts of note:
Our Quiet Time
Vessels of the Holy
Buffy Sainte-Marie's Medicine Songs
No Room for Them
Christmas 2017 – Reflections and Celebrations
If God Is Love . . .
Let Us Be "Energized by the Beauty All Around Us": Jane Goodall's New Year Message
Hope in the Midst of Collapse
Waking Up
Global Condemnation for Trump's Latest Ignorant and Racist Comments
Three Winter Gatherings
Nakhane Touré's "Tortured Journey to Clarity"
Winter of Content
Blessing the Dust
Gabriel Fauré's "ChristoPagan" Requiem
The Important Cultural Moment That Is Black Panther
Happy Birthday, Buffy!
In Minneapolis, a Snowy February Friday
In the Wake of Yet Another School Shooting, Signs of the Times
A New Day
Remembering Dusty
In the Garden of Spirituality – Marianne Williamson
Celebrating Black Panther – Then and Now
A Day to Celebrate the Survival of the Old Ways
Farewell Winter

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Out and About – Autumn 2017
Out and About – Summer 2017
Out and About – Spring 2017
Out and About – Winter 2016-2017

Images: Michael J. Bayly.