Thursday, March 24, 2011

like sea sponges

I sat on the boat allowing the wind to jostle my curls and the sun to warm my face. The splashes from the waves flickered on me as a twenty year old National Park volunteer approached me with two sea sponge fossils. She explained that animals are a colony that form one, so if two live sea sponges were to be diced together in a blender and then placed in sea water they would join again into the two original colonies.

Earth, in a way, is like those sea sponges. No matter how many blades cut through her and mangle her the Holy Spirit regenerates and the colony continues. The earthquakes in Haiti, Japan, and Burma, the fighting in Libya and Syria, and radioactive iodine contaminations all seem to disconnect and dismantle life. Yet unfailingly life continues and the same Creator, the same Spirit, regenerates.

With you,

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

from a squirrel

A mother squirrel decided to move into my cousin's apartment about a month ago with her young ones. The matriarch of the new residents, seemingly unconcerned as to whether or not she was discovered, scratched away at the outside wall of the apartment. My cousin's wife, Ivelisse, peeked through the sliding glass door surprised to see the determined mother turn to her unstartled and continued to etch away at the barrier. Ivelisse went back in to her house, continued her conversation with her mother on the phone, in shock as to what she just witnessed.

Days later Ivelisse went to the patio with her basket full of laundry with the intention of placing a load in the washer when she noticed the new tenants moving into her ceiling. The gentle parent placed one new born squirrel in her mouth at a time climbed up a few boxes to the washer from there climbed onto the dryer where she squiggled into the hole which lead to their freshly made nest.

Ivelisse, not too pleased and yet again in disbelief, turned around with her basket still full until the bushy-tailed mover finished transporting her young. The following two weeks little noise was heard on the ceiling of my cousin and Ivelisse's bedroom. By the time the third week came along the rodents ran from one side of the ceiling to the other, sometimes seeming to follow the louder thumps... their food. They would occasionally scratch at the sliding glass door appearing to visit their flatmates, the whole family. By this point Ivelisse tried to assure herself she wasn't imaging this all.

The original tenants of the apartment began to loose sleep over the ruckus, deciding to call pest control to move the nest to another location and inclose the patio with screen in order to avoid more squatters. The team came in, removed the family placing metal sponges on the doorways, discovering more holes and blocking them with different barriers, plastic sheets, plastering up the wall, inclosing the patio and finishing it up by placing four electric irritants that let out an annoying sound inaudible to humans that the squirrels would want to avoid. They left pleased with their work.

Less than an hour after their departure Ivelisse heard faint whining coming from the above. As the hour passed the whining progressed. She called her husband, "They left one up there. She's going to come back for her, we can't let her die up there." By the time my cousin came home from work the resolved mother had broken the newly installed screen found her way to the once opening where she clawed desperately at the materials blocking her from her baby. My cousin set the irritants higher in order to scare her off. She left for a little bit and returned more driven. During the night, the humans heard the desperate whining and the determined mother. Finally the couple couldn't any longer. My cousin turned on the lights went to the patio and began to undo the handy work of the pest control team, assisting the headstrong mother.

He dug through the plaster, pulled out the plastic sheet and the metal sponge and gave way for the mother to find her young. Ivelisse disconnected the irritant and the pair went to sleep. By morning the whining ceased along with the sound of grating plaster.

The human family was left with a screened patio with a hole in it, two plastered areas of the wall, and a deeper hole in one, but with an incredible admiration for the bond between a mother and her offspring, no matter the species.

I went to the park today with a friend and her two daughters. I left with an incredible admiration for the bond between a mother and her offspring.

With you,

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

... and believe.

I left mass with Mami and we sat in the car hearing the raindrops pound on the roof while some seeped through dripping on my jacket. The lightening allowed our eyes to detect the movement of the wind in the trees a few feet away. Vibrations that accompanied the thunder shook the car. Mami's ears rang. The wonder, chaos, and awesome power of the storm resembled my soul the night before.

I sat between Papi and a young lady with red pointed high heels.  The mass ended, we could go in peace to love and serve and at different posts in the aisles people stood with the small dish full of ashes, smudging the dust on foreheads repeating, "Repent and believe... Repent and believe," with each marking.  The lady with the red heels stood up looked at me and asked, "Is it over?" With a smile and a gesture I followed her in procession to dish full of ashes. "Repent and believe," he said. "Amen."

"Repent and believe." I interrupted the flow of the procession and headed back to the pew. I sat there in awe of the words chanted from the lips of the people with the small dishes full of ashes. I believed those words. Those words were being sung and repeated for me. Nothing else needed to be uttered. The night before, the fears, the doubts within... I am to be transformed and to simply believe. I stood up, smirked at God's clarity and precision, and cut through the people in single-filed lines without smudges and headed out to the storm.

Tornado warnings alarmed the county, the turbulence of the wind and rain halted our agendas, and with a smudge on my forehead I believe.

With you,