From last year. I haven’t actually seen the first flake of snow this season. But, I have seen the magnificent winter night sky full of stars and the clearest of winter moons. It’s a season with its own rather stark beauty.
“In winter, the stars seem to have rekindled their fires, the moon achieves a fuller triumph, and the heavens wear a look of a more exalted simplicity” (John Burroughs).
It has been a mostly unseasonably warm fall and winter (so far) until the last few days, enjoyable for activities and the heating bill, not so great environmentally. Going out to get groceries and gas this morning, I wore my heavy coat for the first time since last February or March. I realized how much I truly dislike wearing a winter coat. Yes, I was plenty warm, but I felt like a stuffed bear getting in and out of the car wearing that bulky garment.
Nonetheless, grateful for a beautiful day, warmth, and a trunk full of food, I headed home, where I will fill the bird feeders and set out a new squirrel feeder loaded with corn. I finally gave in, in hopes of giving the birds a little peace. We’ll see how that goes. Enjoy your Saturday!
And, here’s a blast from the past for you: Winter and the Faith of a Pantheist
A lot of people who have known me for a while know how much I love John Burroughs since I learned of him almost 20 years ago. In this weird time right now of the COVID-19 pandemic, when we are more limited to walks in our own yards and neighborhoods, I’m reminded of this quote, one of my favorites.
“The lesson which life repeats and constantly enforces is ‘look under foot.’ You are always nearer the divine and the true sources of your power than you think. The lure of the distant and the difficult is deceptive. The great opportunity is where you are. Do not despise your own place and hour. Every place is under the stars. Every place is the centre of the world.” (John Burroughs)
I don’t think of God as being found in only the “good” part of humans or that “God is love” or that we only see God when we see the goodness in the depths of another person. Realizing that this may be an unpopular idea (and it took me a lot of years to come to that conclusion myself) and that everyone has their own idea of what God is, for me, if God is Nature, everything, ever present, which is how I define my own version of pantheism, then it’s not all always or only just about the good parts, the light, but also the darkness. I’m recently reminded of this part of the John Burroughs quote shared on the Universal Pantheist Society Facebook page (although I should point out the UPS welcomes different flavors of pantheism; this is just my personal take).
“When we call the power back of all God, it smells of creeds and systems, of superstition, intolerance, persecution; but when we call it Nature, it smells of spring and summer, of green fields and blooming groves, of birds and flowers and sky and stars. I admit that it smells of tornadoes and earthquakes, of disease and death too, but these things make it all the more real to us to conceive of God in terms of universal Nature…” (John Burroughs, “Accepting the Universe”).