Sunday, April 28, 2024

Hello Australia Autumn!

Australian Sojourn 2024 • Part 1

I arrived two days ago from spring in Minnesota to autumn in my homeland of Australia. I’ll be in the Great South Land for a month, and as it’s been over a year since I was last in my first home, I’m very much looking forward to reconnecting with family and friends.

Although in leaving Minnesota at this time of year I will be missing the literal blossoming of spring – one of my favorite natural occurences of the year, I’m already enjoying the autumn colours of Australia as, with my American friend Kate, I’m currently in the Southern Highlands of New South Wales.

Above: As we were coming in to land, I gave my phone to the boy sitting two seats over from me so he could snap this pic of Sydney Harbour. I had the aisle seat in our row – by choice! 😄

Right: Looking a bit bleary-eyed after the 14-hour flight to Sydney from San Francisco, but ready to “Disrupt the Corrupt”! . . . This is the rally-cry for Marianne Williamson’s 2024 presidential campaign.

Above: My American friend Kate with my Australian friends Kerry and MaxBundanoon, N.S.W., Sunday, April 28, 2024.

Right: Outside the Baby Dragon Bar in Newtown, an inner-city suburb (or neighborhood) of Sydney – Friday, April 26, 2024.

Kate has been in Australia for over two weeks. She’s based herself in Newtown and has been enjoying the sights of Sydney and the Blue Mountains. Before returning to the U.S. in mid-May, Kate is accompanying me to the New South Wales locales of the Southern Highlands, Batemans Bay, and Goulburn, and to Hanging Rock in Victoria.

Above: Newtown streetscape – Friday, April 26, 2024. I was last in Newtown in 2008.

Above: The Urban Newtown, where my friend Kate stayed while in Sydney.

Above: The Old Nunnery Bed-and-Breakfast in the Southern Highlands town of Moss Vale, where Kate and I stayed on my first night back in Australia – Friday, April 26, 2024.

Above and below: Visiting the historic town of Berrima – Saturday, April 27, 2024.

Above and below: Fitzroy Falls in Morton National Park – Saturday, April 27, 2024.

Above: With friends Sandra, Kerry and Max – Exeter, Saturday, April 27, 2024.

Bundanoon, Batemans Bay,
Braidwood and Goulburn

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Farewell Minnesota Spring
A Season of Listening
Newtown (2008)
Journey to the Southern Highlands & Tablelands – Exeter and Mt. Alexandra (2017)
Journey to the Southern Highlands & Tablelands – Bundanoon and the Sunnataram Forest Monastery (2017)
Exeter (2016)

Images: Michael J. Bayly.

Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Farewell Minnesota Spring

I leave later today for my homeland of Australia. I’ll be gone for a month, and as it’s been over a year since I was last in my first home, I’m very much looking forward to reconnecting with family and friends.

It’s been on my mind that in leaving Minnesota at this time of year I will be missing the literal blossoming of spring – one of my favorite natural occurences of the year. But then just yesterday the pear tree in the backyard burst forth in all its color and fragrance. What a wonderful send-off!

In the past few weeks – I guess since Easter, really – I’ve been making the most of the numerous days of warm (sometimes unseasonably hot) weather we’ve been experiencing here in the Twin Cities. This includes bringing my wildebeest-of-a-bike out of the garden shed and onto the bike paths along the Mississippi River near my south Minneapolis home. I’ve even twice cycled over to my friends John and Noelle’s place in the Merriam Park neighborhood of St. Paul.

In bidding farewell (at least for a while) to my life here in the North Star State, I share this morning some photos I’ve taken these past few weeks of both the return of spring and how I’ve been enjoying this welcome return.

Above, right and below: With my Palliative Care work colleagues at an after-work event on Friday, April 12, 2024.

Throughout the past year we tied to a wreath a ribbon for every patient we had walked with and cared for as they approached death.

At our April 12 gathering we had a ritual in which we committed this wreath to the flames of a fire.

As part of this ritual we shared the following words of Suzanne Guthrie from her book Grace’s Window: Entering the Season of Prayer.

A hospital can be a mysterious place, a threshold, both challenging and rewarding, upon the boundary of feelings and meanings deep within ourselves and others; a depth that some call the soul.

When we interact with ourselves and others at this level, when we elicit and listen with compassion to what others say is most meaningful in the midst of crisis and loss, we may discover we’re being invited to experience and embrace unexpected aspects of the deepest dimensions of the human condition, dimensions that some understand as sacred.

The reading from Grace’s Window was followed by this prayer/reflection that I wrote for our ritual.

With Suzanne Guthrie’s words in our hearts and minds, let us honor all those life journeys that have merged with ours within the context of our work; all those life energies that have gone beyond this world and which are represented by the ribbons of this wreath.

Let us also honor the range of emotions we may feel, perhaps even be burdened by when we remember some of the more challenging cases that we’ve given our energies to.

In honoring all of these journeys, lives and emotions, may we also release them to the transforming Love at the heart of all things. May we recognize the flames of this fire as a symbol of this transforming Love.

And in the glow of this fire, and from this moment onwards, may we and those we remember know peace.

Above: My friend Deandre and his animal companion Tyga.

Above: Friends John and Noelle. We enjoyed our first outdoor meal of the spring at their home in St. Paul on Sunday, April 14, 2024.

Right: With Amelia, John and Noelle’s granddaughter – Sunday, April 21, 2024.

Above: Amelia with her mother Liana, discovering how a tape recorder from the 1980s works.

Left: Amelia, rocking out to ’90s music being played on her mum’s old tape recorder – Tuesday, April 9, 2024.

Above: Penny.

Above: Dinner at Soberfish with my friends Barson and Germaine – Sunday, April 7, 2024.

Above: With my friend Kate on the day she left for a month-long visit to Australia – Monday, April 8, 2024. You may recall that in January Kate and I travelled to New Hampshire to work with and for Marianne Williamson’s presidential campaign.

Above: Friends Kathleen and Lori, chillin’ in my attic abode in south Minneapolis – Monday, April 15, 2024.

Above: On Friday, April 19, 2024, a number of my Palliative Care colleagues and I enjoyed lunch at the Midtown Global Market, close to where we work at Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis.

Above: My friend Joseph at Wood Lake Nature Center in Richfield, MN – Monday, April 22, 2024.

Above and below: Spring in Minnesoa – April 2024.

Above: My saaxiib qurux badan by lamplight – Thursday, April 18, 2024.

Our greatest power during times of chaos is to cultivate internal stillness. Finding that space within ourselves – whether through prayer, mindfulness, meditation or however – we claim a magnetic power that attracts harmony and good. You can’t bring order to a pile of iron shavings by sticking your fingers into it and trying to rearrange them. You can only do that by using a magnet. In human affairs, the Light within us is that magnet.

The Light within us has many names, but in essence it is Love. Compassion. Forgiveness. Peace.

Love is so needed now. We are starving for it. It’s painful living in such a tumultuous moment. . . . The [Light within] is the voice of Love, and it will guide us to a better place.

Marianne Williamson
via Facebook

Above: The wild reeds of Wood Lake – April 22, 2024.

Above: The Mississippi in moonlight – Sunday, April 21, 2024.

Moon river, wider than a mile
I’m crossing you in style some day
Oh, dream maker, you heart breaker
Wherever you’re goin’, I’m goin’ your way

Two drifters, off to see the world
There’s such a lot of world to see
We’re after the same rainbow’s end
Waitin’ ’round the bend
My huckleberry friend
Moon river and me

– “Moon River
by Henry Mancini and Johnny Mercer

To hear Frank Ocean’s version of “Moon River,” click here.

Above and below: My attic abode and sanctuary in south Minneapolis – April 2024.

O Beloved One, I rise from sleep to join the great dance of life. One with stars and planets no longer visible because of the dawning light of our one star, the sun, yet which are still blazing in beauty all about me, I enter into prayer. One with this whole planet, whose northern hemisphere is awakening to the season of spring, I now awake to your hidden presence in my life as I descend into my heart to be one with you.

I rejoice that [my prayer] rises in harmony with temple chants, with the prayers of hermits as well as the life-prayer of those preparing to begin a new workday. While silent to my ears, I acknowledge the cosmic chorus of gratitude and praise of which my prayer has ben a part.

Edward Hays
Excerpted from “The Season of Spring – Wednesday Morning Prayer”
in Prayers for a Planetary Pilgrim
Forest of Peace Books, 1989

O Beloved One, this spring evening is green-edged with hope and filled with promise. With each passing day, the light of the sun lingers longer upon this planet. Even in the darkness of this night, one can feel the earth stirring with life. The night wind is full of promise as I reflect upon my actions this Thursday. I ponder if they, like this season of spring, have been full of hope and rich in life.

Open my heart and pour in all that is lacking. Saturate my words with love and encouragement, so that I may be truly an expression of your presence in this world. I thank you for the countless blessings of this day: gifts of sight, sound, hearing and smell, for wonders without end.

. . . O Gracious Creator of the moon and stars, of galaxies spreading outward beyond my vision, I marvel that you have chosen to dwell within the temple of my heart. I ask your understanding, for that temple is a crowded place where I have stored concerns and conflicts, work and worries as well as all the content of this day. I take springtime hope that all those things that clutter my heart, while they seem so distant from you, in reality hold your presence.

Edward Hays
Excerpted from “The Season of Spring – Thursday Evening Prayer”
in Prayers for a Planetary Pilgrim
Forest of Peace Books, 1989

Above: A (Minnesota) spring 2024 self portrait.

Hello Australia Autumn!

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
A Season of Listening
Let the Greening Begin
New Spring Green
Green Destiny
Welcoming the Return of Spring
Celebrating the “Color of Spring” and a Cosmic Notion of the Christ
Spring: “Truly the Season for Joy and Hope”
A Visiting Spring Breeze
April Vignettes
Spring Rain
Spring Skies
Spring . . . Within and Beyond (2022)
Spring . . . Within and Beyond (2021)
In the Footsteps of Spring: Introduction | Part I | II | III | IV | V

Images: Michael J. Bayly.