Earth Mother

The glassy sea outside my window is dimpled only by the rings left behind as scoter ducks duck beneath the surface in search of clams, or their contrails as they swim toward one another. The breeding season is on, and the White-winged Scoter drakes have a jaunty white flip of feathers behind their eyes. The Surf Scoters just look a bit like maritime clowns. Sometimes they tuck their wedge-shaped beaks behind their wings and doze, cradled in the shining water. The clam beds must be rich right off the beach here. The ducks are there every morning and every evening. This morning I’m going on a bird-watching tour, part of the perks of the resort we’re in for our clergy conference. I think I know all the big birds. I’m hoping to get help with the myriad of little scurrying surf birds that play dare-devil with the edge of the water.

It’s all rather mesmerizing. I could actually spend hours tuning my spotting scope, first on one bird, then on another, frustrated when they jump from view just as they come into focus. Call it an addiction, maybe, but getting lost in something so apparently small has deeper dimensions. Diving into the quiet within is life-giving. We’re here for rest and relaxation as well as information and worship. Rest isn’t just a cessation of action. It’s diving into the stillness inside and finding the glassy seas within, speckled with wonders. In those places we don’t ask, “Who made this?” That question belongs to a more superficial, more self-driven part of us. Here, we just float with the ducks. We just know. We just be.

Earth Mother invites us to pray.

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