Sunday, September 20, 2009

Sometimes my membership in a Unitarian-Universalist church doesn't sit comfortably on me. And today's service, which dwelt on Universalism, and God and salvation -- and hearkened back to the sect's history of Christian dissent found no welcome in me. It didn't help that Nico was in an uncooperative mood and sighing from boredom and weary misery beside me. Reverend Betty's distinction between a capricious God and an all-loving God had no resonance for someone with no interest in questions about gods or whether or not the Universe is a welcoming or indifferent place. And the old-fashioned hymns, which I should have at least taken as entertaining historical artifacts simply pushed me away further -- one of them was a temperance hymn -- Touch not the cup!

So, I was in a souring mood, and when Nico grumped about sticking around for the picnic after, I took the opportunity to grump back, and we all left -- with me angry, Nico on the verge of tears and Porter staying out of it.

Hours later, in the afternoon, I found myself in my true church. I sat on a granite boulder along a flooded woodland pond. The beaver's berm of sticks and mud and stones zig-zagged over to a rocky outcropping that was crowned with maple and beech. The black branches and the leaves of green and yellow and red were twinned with perfect felicity in the blue black mirror of the lake. Invisible minnows below made ripples. And circles that were as sharp and perfect and deep as cut-glass over-wrote the fractal geometry of leaf and branch. I don't think I've ever seen anything more beautiful.

Above the gurgle of the escaping brook I could hear the whistle of an aggrieved duck and the laughter of Kingfishers. A green heron, hunting upon a raft of lily pads was startled by a diving cormorant, and stretched its beak heavenward, bitternish, as though blending itself to an imaginary stand of reeds.