Monday, March 21, 2011

Dona nobis pacem (or, Postcards from Spring, Part I)

Our circle is wide, deep and diverse, and though it consists of friends rather than colorful lines on paper, it could be quite nicely described by one of those spirograph drawings you did as a kid: some circles perfectly repeated, others endearingly imperfect. The circle exerts its gravitational pull across generations, social connections, religion and history. It's made rich by the sensibilities of us all, some deeply religious, some seriously intellectual, all creative in an astonishing range of ways, and every member with his or her own spiritual awareness. My guess - unsubstantiated, for this is the kind of thing I never ask people - is that we have among us the Buddhist and Christian, pagan and atheist, and deeply ambivalent. We ranged in age this year from newborn to celebration of 70th birthdays and beyond. Some of us hold degrees that might genuinely surprise others among us. Others demonstrate their individual educations in their art forms, whether hand-built instruments, songwriting and performance, garden-grown or lovingly prepared food or art forms like ribbon flowers, rescued from a near-forgotten age. We write. We sing. We play instruments. We raise children, and grandchildren. We love, whether as young lovers who promise us babies and eternity or as dearly bonded, life-bonded couples, perhaps more softly but with no less passion. We fight, we forgive, we re-connect. And on the eve of Spring this year, we gathered to celebrate.

On a long dock stretching to reach the edge of a shallowing lake, our precious circle of friends perched Saturday evening and waited for the rising of the moon. I needn't explain here about the exceptional moonrise. It was a once-in-a-century occasion and you know that already. I stood near my dear old person, sometimes holding a camera, and watched with the others as the golden light of sunset bathed our backs and the deepening evening touched our faces. In the quiet before the moonrise I heard a small song rise, voices of my sisters raised in this sweet round: "Dona nobis pacem". Christian, Catholic, Methodist, Pagan and Buddhist, whatever...what does it matter, really? The song was lovely and the sentiment transcendent.

Dona nobis pacem.
And with that, the round of the moon appeared on the horizon over the lake, the pearl white color deepened to auburn for a moment and lightened as it rose above the trees. Dona nobis pacem. Grant us peace.

Author's note: My unsparing editor tells me, kindly, that much of this is sentimental bilge, though he concedes his definition of "sentimenal bilge" is rather more strict than my own, for which reason he's corrected some typos and given me a pass (dona nobis pacem, anybody?). I promise I'll try to rein in the sentimentality in the rest of the Postcards from Spring series.

Photos(c)Rodney Christensen 2011


  1. That wasn't sentimentality on any level. It was just the damn truth.

  2. Ms. M, indeed it was and remains the truth. I am deeply grateful you were there to bear witness. Love, love.


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