Wisdom From the Natural World

Greetings, church –

How are you faring in this post-eclipse world?! If you traveled, I hope you are home safe. If you stayed home, I hope you got out to see what even outside of the path of totality was pretty wonderful! We even had a Spiritual Enrichment Group viewing here in the A2U2 parking lot.

I had a volunteer obligation on Monday afternoon so stayed here in Portland, missing the totality viewing, but I was amazed by a few different things. First, of course, was the eclipse itself and the way the sun looked through those magical little paper glasses. Equally amazing to me, though, as somebody who spends most of my time thinking about human behavior and human community, is the way that people behaved. Schools were let out early. Employers gave staff teams permission to leave their desks for the afternoon. Life, for many, paused. So that we could flock into the streets and the fields and behold our natural world doing something unusual to our human eyes.

One quote from the NYT that a loved one shared with me really hit the nail on the head – “Just a bunch of primates looking at the sky trying to find meaning.”

I went running during the eclipse, with my glasses. Adults and children were out in the streets chatting, playing, staring skyward. We waved to one another and chatted. “Have you seen?!?!” they asked. It reminded me of the COVID quarantine days when to simply see another human outdoors on a sunny day was the deepest, greatest joy. This time it was just the joy without the fear and grief. It did my heart real good, this series of Selah moments, if you will! And I hope to hear some of your eclipse stories this Sunday at church.

I’ll be joining our Zoom folks for online coffee hour this week, so if you join online I hope you’ll stay on for a chat when the service ends! If you’re coming on Sunday in person, please bring your eclipse glasses! We are collecting used pairs to recycle with a program that will send them down to children in Chile and Argentina to see the eclipse this coming October.

In worship on Sunday, we’ll continue with this theme of drawing wisdom from the natural world, reflecting on what we humans can learn from wetland ecosystems and the ways in which we, as Unitarian Universalists, are called to BE wetlands in our communities. Wait, what?! BE wetlands?! Yes. Join us to learn what it’s all about!

Until then, may your days and your nights be blessed.

In faith,

Rev. Tara