On many Sunday mornings, I attend Quaker Meeting. Gathering in the bright, sunny meeting room for an hour of silent worship is incredibly nourishing. In that space and time, stillness settles in and I feel myself one with All That Is. No words necessary. Even if I leave after the rise of Meeting without speaking a word to anyone, I always leave feeling deeply grounded, present to my life as it is unfolding, and thoroughly connected to community. Some days this sense of presence and connection grows into a sense of urgency to respond to the needs of the world. Other days, it blossoms into a sense of being warmly held, not just by the immediate community but by the entire web of life. Always, it feeds my spirit.
This morning, as soon as I woke up, I knew I would not go to Meeting. The sun was shining, a breeze was blowing, and the blueberries on the hill were ripe and ready to be picked. With a steaming cup of coffee in one hand and an empty bowl in the other, I walked into the morning sun to harvest the sweet fruits. As my bowl slowly filled, my mind quieted and my heart was at peace. I was at Meeting after all. Only here, instead of gathering with human family, I was in communal worship with the breeze, the sun, the fruits at my feet, the mosquitoes buzzing in my ears, the muscles in my back and legs, the deer and turkeys who had grazed here earlier this morning, the birds who were singing from the nearby branches, the ancestors who brought me here, and all the humans over time who have gathered their breakfast in warm summer sun…
I went inside just long enough to make blueberry pancakes and brought them outside to eat. As flavors of blueberry, maple, and pancake melted in my mouth, I was overwhelmed by a sense of gratitude. What an amazing gift to be alive to relish this sweetness on my tongue, the sun on my face, and the chorus of birds. Right next to all of the burdens and responsibilities of being alive in this time and place, amidst all of its horrors and the work to be done, there is this — beauty and abundance, peace and presence, community and connection, ready for harvest in my backyard and in my heart.
This week we celebrate Lammas, the harvest festival in Celtic tradition. At the midpoint between the summer solstice and the fall equinox, the days are getting shorter and the harvest is in full swing. Life and death stand side by side: fruits are ripening as stalks are dying. We are called to notice and honor the value of both creation and destruction, disintegration and integration. Holding the paradox can be uncomfortable. It requires stretching, strength, and trusting our own capacity. It requires practice and it requires taking breaks in whatever brings you solace. This morning, I unexpectedly found peace on Blueberry Hill. Where will you find it?