Sunday, May 31, 2015

dust bath?

I came upon the strangest thing today. I'd gone out to the nearby wildlife sanctuary to retrieve the notebook I left there yesterday. Fortunately, it was still right where I left it on the shelf in the viewing blind.

See that little viewing blind (hut)? That's where I left it... You can understand how I might get distracted by all these birds and all this beauty. This is a picture from yesterday, so you can even imagine my poor forlorn little notebook calling across the pond, "Hey, you're not going to abandon me, are you?" 

Anyway, at the side of the gravel parking area, a sparrow was taking a bath in the dust. She was doing all the same moves I see birds do in bird baths, only she was flinging dust around instead of water. There were two ponds, including the one above, 100 yards from the parking lot, so it certainly wasn't a lack of water.  Anyone have any ideas? I'm mystified.

Dust Bath

While I'm at it, here are a few more pictures from today's quick stop. Should post some from yesterday, but haven't had time to go through them yet. 

Painted Turtle came out during one of the few sunny moments. I love his colors against the blues and greens.

Cedar Waxwings were there today - first time I've seen them this year.

What is this? A groundhog?
Not a muskrat - no tail visible (I have several pics - might be a short stubby one, but definitely not a muskrat one).

Audition for Angry Birds

BIG turtle in the road as I entered the sanctuary. Snapper? Looks like a dinosaur to me.

He walked under the car and settled down for a nap in the shade. It was HOT. 

There are turtles, and then there are turtles. Here are more painted turtles, the largest much smaller than the one under the car, and the little one really tiny and cute.

Heard lots of bullfrogs, but never saw one. No one has told them they're supposed to sit on lily pads.

There are barn swallows nesting in the blind where I was watching the birds and turtles (yep, same one). I made sure to stay to one end or the other so they had plenty of room to fly in and out.

This video is really shaky - sorry about that! But this barn swallow was so cute and so loquacious I had to share. Turn on your speakers.

daisies all along the path
So back to the original topic... If you have any knowledge to share about dust baths, I'd be most interested in hearing it. Please do comment.

P.S. Sparrow will not be having her dust bath tomorrow. It's now pouring down rain with warnings about minor flooding, so she'll have to settle for mud. I hear people pay good money to be caked in mud, so perhaps she'll start a spa.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Archbishop Desmond Tutu on Climate Change

Archbishop Tutu, who with Nelson Mandela took on apartheid in South Africa and against all odds won, is now taking on climate change. Here is an excerpt from an article:
Never before in history have human beings been called on to act collectively in defence of the Earth. As a species, we have endured world wars, epidemics, famine, slavery, apartheid and many other hideous consequences of religious, class, race, gender and ideological intolerance. People are extraordinarily resilient. The Earth has proven pretty resilient, too. It's managed to absorb most of what's been thrown at it since the industrial revolution and the invention of the internal combustion engine.
Until now, that is. Because the science is clear: the sponge that cushions and sustains us, our environment, is already saturated with carbon. If we don't limit global warming to two degrees or less we are doomed to a period of unprecedented instability, insecurity and loss of species. Fossil fuels have powered human endeavour since our ancestors developed the skills to make and manage fire. Coal, gas and oil warm our homes, fuel our industries and enable our movements. We have allowed ourselves to become totally dependent, and are guilty of ignoring the warning signs of pending disaster. It is time to act.
As responsible citizens of the world – sisters and brothers of one family, the human family, God's family – we have a duty to persuade our leaders to lead us in a new direction: to help us abandon our collective addiction to fossil fuels, starting this week in New York at the United Nations Climate Summit. Reducing our carbon footprint is not just a technical scientific necessity; it has also emerged as the human rights challenge of our time. While global emissions have risen unchecked, real-world impacts have taken hold in earnest. The most devastating effects of climate change – deadly storms, heat waves, droughts, rising food prices and the advent of climate refugees – are being visited on the world's poor. Those who have no involvement in creating the problem are the most affected, while those with the capacity to arrest the slide dither. Africans, who emit far less carbon than the people of any other continent, will pay the steepest price. It is a deep injustice...

There is a word we use in South Africa that describes human relationships:Ubuntu. It says: I am because you are. My successes and my failures are bound up in yours. We are made for each other, for interdependence. Together, we can change the world for the better.
Who can stop climate change? We can. You and you and you, and me. And it is not just that we can stop it, we have a responsibility to do so that began in the genesis of humanity, when God commanded the earliest human inhabitants of the Garden of Eden, "to till it and keep it". To "keep" it; not to abuse it, not to make as much money as possible from it, not to destroy it.
To read the full article by Archbishop Tutu:

There is more on this this month:  

Friday, May 22, 2015

"Ancient Wisdom for Modern Living"

Convent front porch, currently decked out for Memorial Day

We're getting ready for the retreat weekend next month. I've just been given the topic of lectio divina and assigned Sunday's Eucharist - preaching and celebrating - so it's time to move into gear. I suspect the others already have a clear idea of what they're doing, but I'll catch up. I'm looking forward to hearing what the other sisters have to say. 

Join the Sisters of St. Margaret for a weekend retreat:

“Ancient Wisdom for Modern Living: Insights from the Rule of St. Benedict.”

This residential retreat, June 12 to 14, 2015, at our convent in Duxbury, offers an exploration of some key aspects of Benedictine spirituality. Participants should plan to arrive after 2 pm Friday and depart before 3 pm on Sunday. The program begins with Evening Prayer at 5 pm on Friday. Complete schedule available upon registration.

Accommodations: private rooms; shared bath. Cost: $200 which includes room and board, as well as program materials. To register, send a check for $100. When registering please let us know if there are dietary or mobility restrictions. Also please indicate your expected time of arrival.


St. Margaret’s Convent, 50 Harden Hill Road, BOX C, Duxbury, MA 02331

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P.S. - You really do need to put in the Box C part when you mail things to us. The post office won't deliver to the house. 

Convent, St. Marina's Guest House, Duxbury Bay

Friday, May 15, 2015

summer mission opportunity in Haiti

Camp 2014

Mini-camp at St. Vincent's 

Let me say up front that I don't know the people who run the camp, but I do know someone involved who sent this to me (and to her mailing list). And I KNOW that St Vincent's School for the Disabled is an amazing place, and not just because it was founded by our Sr. Joan.  I meant to post something on this last summer, but I don't think I ever did. Maybe on Facebook... Anyway, there are people who have asked me about going to Haiti, and I never know of any groups. Well, here's your chance. You couldn't ask for a better group of kids to work with.

Also, if you just want to donate money to St. Vincent's, that would be great, too. Last I heard they were having real trouble feeding the kids.  Talk about basics. If you'd like to donate to that, go to this website:  I gather you can indicate if you want it to be for food (or medical care or...).

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Dear Haiti friends,
If you are interested in a summer camp opportunity to work with the kids at St Vincents this summer, read on......


If there is enough interest, I (Tom Landry, the founder of Jacob’s Color Link Initiative)  thewill host a mini-camp at St. Vincent's in the latter part of August 2015.  This camp will be 5 days in length (3 of which will be spent at the Center with the children).  I would like to have a group of no less than 10 persons.  My tentative plan would be to stay at the Le Plaza near St. Vincent's so that we can walk to St. Vincent's each day and avoid costly travel to and from Petion-Ville.  Breakfast and dinner will be served at the hotel and lunch will be catered at the Center for the residents (70-80) or we cook together as group as I have done in the past.  The activities will commensurate with the experience of those in attendance. I am quite fluid with this given we have done so many different activities with the children.  I would however, like to focus on a few necessary life skills like teaching them how to cook in addition to fun- play activities.  

If anyone is interested in this or knows of anyone, please send me their names and contact information.  This is very informal at this time because I don't want to spend too much time planning if there is not enough interest.

Executive Director   Jacob's Color Link Initiative
201 St. Charles Avenue Suite 114-255 | New Orleans, Louisiana 70170
M: 504 520 9626  |  L: 800 921 7839  |  F:  504 910 8342

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about the camp via their website:

campJacob is an annual retreat offered to the residents of St. Vincent's Center for Handicapped Children in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Campers are brought to a resort on the northern coast of Haiti and instantly become guests of JCLI. The organization creates a fun-filled environment that also offers a variety of holistic therapies and programming to develop life skills. Volunteers from the United States and Canada host the camp over the course of eight days.
campJacob removes the barriers of the campers' day-to-day lives that are restricted due to lack of accessibility, social stigma and funding. The program provides life skills and self-care training that builds confidence and inspires them toward independence. We work with the youth year-round to ensure the skills they have learned are being further developed and applied in their daily lives. The medical programming offered provides much needed physical and occupational therapy, setting the groundwork for independent living.
The cost for each camper is approximately $1,600 USD. This includes travel expenses to and from the resort, accommodations at the resort, three full meals and two snacks a day, and a backpack filled with necessities for the week and supplies for the camp. Your generous donation funds a life-changing week for these children.

June retreat offering

Our next retreat is coming up in June. We'd love for you to join us as we focus on aspects of Benedictine spirituality for modern living. 

Accommodations include private rooms; shared bath. The cost is $200, which includes room and board as well as program materials. Participants should plan to arrive after 2pm Friday and depart before 3pm on Sunday. The program begins with 5pm Evening Prayer on Friday. Complete schedule available upon registration. Email us for further details and registration (address above).