The grass is freckled with fallen leaves.
A crow attacked a magpie on the lawn
but by banging on a window
I became the herald of peace ...!
known for its waxy white flowers.
It is a gift from friends who first met us at Talacre Abbey,
and now come to Chester in the autumn.
It is strange how inspiration comes and goes
while the distant cars on busy roads
still sound like the surf on the sea-shore ...
The leaves continue to fall,
patterning both paths and flower-beds and grass
with the warmth of autumnal colours.
Yet all inspiration has vanished
and I sit at the keyboard not knowing what to write.
We celebrated a Memorial Office today
for all our deceased relatives and benefactors.
This was a day late as the 5th fell on a Sunday.
Guy Fawkes was being remembered
on several previous evenings
with fireworks and loud explosions
in which we, as Catholics, do not participate,
although we enjoy the fireworks !
At least one Sister saw the display
of lights coming from the Roodee.
I wonder how many people now know
that Guy Fawkes was a Catholic
in a century when Catholics were being persecuted?
But then he and his associates wanted to
destroy the Houses of Parliament and the Protestants in it.
They were executed at the stake, hence the
subsequent Guys on bonfires....
A later depiction of Guy Fawkes
The wind is howling and the trees sway,
shaking off their leaves.
The Welsh hills in the west are invisible
but our tall trees shine in the sunshine,
with every single branch dancing to a
different rhythm ....
I think we human beings are like that:
we have the same roots and trunk
but retain our own identity.
Life in a religious community echoes this -
we are clothed in similar garments
but our movements and our thoughts
remain our own.
Our garden is full of different plants and shrubs.
A few days ago our gardener Dave
showed me a plant he had never seen before.
A Sister researched it and found out its name:
it is called a thorn apple.
(Its name in Latin is Datura stramonium.)
Changes in our climate have altered many aspects
of nature and in our area
autumn itself has not yet fully begun.
This plant is classified as a weed ......
Leaves from trees have been falling steadily
and Dave has been gathering them up.
He spent yesterday morning
conveying them to a local tipping-site.
Some bushes have been gently flowering
even though their leaves had been cast off.....
It was too wet for the cats to go out,
although Brunie came out in the afternoon
when the rain had ceased,
and Cornflake had been out before it began !
It is the season of gulls again.
They perch on our guest-house roof waiting for food
to be scattered on the grass within our monastic enclosure.
They wait patiently and quietly for a long time.
When I emerge from the door to scatter bread,
return indoors, their raucous chatter
proclaims the time to descend.
While still in flight, skimming over the grass
they snatch some food -
only to be briefly replaced by some companions
who are equally hungry.
It takes about five minutes before peace returns.
This is not quite the same as the poor
feeding from the remains left under the rich mans table
but the need of gulls for food seems to be as great ......
When the trees their summer splendour
Change to raiment red and gold,
When the summer moon turns mellow,
And the nights are getting cold;
When squirrels hide their acorns,
When the woodchucks disappear;
Then we know that it is autumn,
Loveliest season of the year.
Carol L. Riser
Periodically, when we are at prayer together
in our lovely Chapel, certain words suddenly enlighten me -
but then they slip away like running water.
Why is it that our minds cannot always
retain the loveliness and profundity of thought ?
Perhaps it is better that we only have fleeting glimpses
before the clouds gather once more.
In childhood I loved seeing the suns rays
appearing from behind the clouds.....
Today the weather is dull but golden leaves
still enlighten my mind
as fallen leaves shine on the grass and flower-beds....
Mandala Autumn Glory
It was another of those bright, rather wistful days when,
what with the wind and the rain
and the piercing November sunshine,
every tree and bush and sapling in the woods
seemed thinner and lonelier;
leafy branches no longer touching warmly,
but only the tips of twigs,
almost unleafed, touching with a little restrained gesture
of farewell, until the spring sap should rise
and leaf-buds spread out,
bringing them all together again.
Advent will begin again quite soon
making the circle of the year into a veritable round.
When I was young an artist told me that all Nature
is a circle ..... the branches of trees
and natural growth - even our own bodies.
It is a strange wonder - but when we look
at our hands and fingers, our legs and our arms,
we can glimpse something of that truth .....
A circle is a symbol of wholeness,
and we are part of it.