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In memory, I return to the first morning of my arrival at East Gloucester, Massachusetts, stretch into the bleached lawn chair next to the ocean, and open my citified world to nature’s expansive healing. Desperate is my need for watering.

October’s brilliance caps hesitant waves with opulence that lap against the base of the monolithic Brace Rock; it resembles a dusky pachyderm snoozing in the morning heat, its humps whitened by decades of excrement. Against luminous skies, crowds of herring gulls honk into fly-space, while others pump their wings, catch columns of wind, gliding in somersaults and pinwheels. Like cobra helicopters, twin ravens pan the boulder-strewn shore until they vanish.

I breathe deeply in my chair, then notice surf-bubbles skittering among handfuls of sandpipers, toeing the grainy sand like princesses. Upon stringy brackish seaweed, mosquitoes crowd like irritable shoppers in check-out lines.

Nearby, splashy quilts of wild grasses, golden rod, and sumac enliven miles of bronzed granite rocks along the coast. A solitary honeybee suns upon the breast of a goldenrod spear. A rare Monarch butterfly collapses its circus wings and alights on the fringed tip of purple loose strife.

A cobalt sky smiles upon this riotous foreplay. Time hangs suspended upon boney and gossamer wings. Within this jeweled kaleidoscope, an unseen power reveals her Soul and invites surrender.

Again, it has been done. I’m washed, clean.

At 3:30 A.M., I awoke with this peaceful dream:

I’m working in a large city with countless others, all in a spirit of harmony and peace. Nowhere is there ill will or discord.

What is unusual about this dream is that it continued throughout the night. I’m glad to have receive it.

In robust health, I’m working, totally involved, energized by multiple projects that enlarge my knowledge of life. I’m delighted to be participating and never tire. Countless others surround me from whom I also learn; and they, from me.

The large city suggests the realm of Twelve Step Recovery, where a minority engage in conscious living that involves selfless care for one another, even through chronic pain and illness unto death. Care for the environment also flows from this awareness of the living God within and in our midst, evidenced by the spirit of harmony and peace. Key to this on-going recovery are the practice of faith, emotional honesty, and willingness.

Another association with the large city is St. Augustine’s philosophic treatise City of God (413-466 CE) in which the believers bolster themselves from malicious attacks by the unbelievers of the Earthly City, a conflict that will continue until the end of time.

In view of our present global conflagration, good versus evil, it’s imperative not to lose hope. Another Power is at work who has brought others through similar perils. Lean into It and do the next right thing, with grace. It’s working out …

This quote from Arundhati Roy, an Indian author, actress, and political activist, prompted me to share it with others:

“What is this thing that has happened to us? It’s a virus, yes. In and of itself, it holds no moral brief. But it is definitely more than a virus.

“It has made the mighty kneel and brought the world to a halt like nothing else could. Our minds are still racing back and forth, longing for a return to normalcy, trying to stitch our future with our past and refusing to acknowledge the rupture. But the rupture exists.

“And in the midst of this terrible despair it offers us a chance to rethink the doomsday machine we have built for ourselves. Nothing could be worse than a return to normalcy. Historically, pandemics have forced humans to break with the past and imagine their world anew.

“This one is no different. It is a porthole, a gateway between one world and the next. We can choose to walk through it, dragging the carcasses of our prejudice and hatred, our avarice, our data banks and dead ideas, our dead rivers and smoking skies behind us.

“Or we can walk through lightly, with little luggage and ready to imagine another world. And ready to fight for it.”

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