an adventure in the everglades

2012 was an unusual and awesome year in our lives.

Thank you for being part of it through

Our new year’s blessing for you continues the theme of this webpage:

May 2013 be for you, a year of vibrancy, beauty, tears, and grace.



In today’s paper, Frank Bruni’s editorial, “This New Year, seek peace with your body, avoid promises,” included his final paragraph:

We’re so much more than these wretched vessels that we sprint or swagger or lurch or limp around in, some of them sturdy, some of them not, some of them objects of ardor, some of them magnets for pity.  We should make peace with them and remain conscious of that, especially at this particular hinge of the calendar, when we compose a litany of promises about the better selves ahead, foolishly defining those selves in terms of what’s measurable from the outside, instead of what glimmers within.”

May your vibrancy be enhanced as you make peace with your body and define yourself by what glimmers within.

Our St. Andrew Church sign today reads:

2013, May it be a year of Light.

May it be so.



On Friday afternoon, I drove over to Miami to visit a person in jail.  I saw him in the morning on Sat.  He looks and sounds well and hopes to be released in the spring.  That afternoon, I came back to Sarasota via Tamiami Trail, Hwy 41.  What a magnificent ride.  It took me through Big Cypress National Preserve.  It is deep in the Everglades.  It is an area verdant with birds and gators, water and sky, trees and air plants.  It is lively and lovely.

Among the pictures I took are the following ones of an egret near the end of a boardwalk nature trail at Kirby Storter Roadside Park.  I’ve named the series:  reflection.

To see beauty, and hear it, I encourage you to look at the images, then play Yukino Kano’s, Reflection in the Water, by Debussy, then look at the images again:



Egret looking, Big Cypress National Preserve, the Everglades
Egret looking, Big Cypress National Preserve, the Everglades
Egret seeing
Egret seeing
Egret, a closer view
Egret knowing
same picture, upside down
same picture, upside down
egret tasting, portrait
egret tasting, portrait
egret tasting, sideways
egret tasting, sideways
egret, the other way
egret, the other way
egret, taking flight
egret, taking flight


Beauty abounds.

Right-side up, upside down, sideways.

Beauty abounds.

May you encounter beauty often in 2013, and be surprised each time.



In earlier posts I have written about the stinging tears of loss, the compassionate tears of justice, the resilient tears of doing what you have to do even when it is ever so hard.

My hope for you in 2013, is that you will see more clearly, hear more compassionately, touch with greater care, and act with greater courage because you have wept these kinds of tears.

But I also hope you will experience tears of awe.

Poetry is one doorway to such tears.

Mary Oliver is an artisan of awe.  Here she is reading three of her poems:



May you, in 2013 become an artisan of awe.



Brian and Helen, of St. Andrew, attended a Celtic Christmas Eve service at Scottsdale Congregational United Church of Christ in Arizona.  Within the bulletin for the service, right before the congregation sang “Silent Night, Holy Night” by the light of their candles, the story of Brigid’s Cloak was told by a man born in Wales named John Good.  Can you hear the lilt in his voice?  I don’t know the version of the story he told, but it probably contained some of these elements:


The story is told, St. Brigid went to the king of Leinster to tell him she needed land upon which to build a covent.

“You do, do you?” replied the king.  “How much do you need?”

“We need only the land my cloak will cover – no more,” answered Brigid.

“Well if that’s all!” said the amused king, “you shall have it.  That can be settled easily.”

On hearing that, Brigid removed her cloak and laid it on the ground.  Then to the absolute amazement and astonishment of everyone watching, the cloak began to grow and grow.  It stretched all round at once, stretching itself out and rapidly gaining speed.  Startled the king jumped back, the cloak was like a living thing.

Finally it stopped.  Brigid looked around her.  In every direction her cloak stretched.  It covered acre upon acre of rich, green, pastureland. With twinkling eyes, she said, “Thanks be to God.”


And as I imagine being in that church on Christmas Eve, I can see the twinkle in John Good’s eye and hear it in his voice, too.

His retelling was followed by a prayer for Christmas Eve.

I have adapted the prayer as Patricia’s and my blessing of grace for you on this New Year’s eve:


Our lives are thin tonight, O God.

Break through to us so we may glimmer from within by the light of Christ.

Our world is thin tonight, O God.

By your Spirit cross the threshold and midwife peace among us.

Our hearts are thin tonight, O God.

Warm us at the hearth of Christ’s turf-fire love.  

We are thin tonight, O God.

Through your Spirit infuse our humanity with your divinity.

Be beneath, within, above, behind, beside, before us as we step ever so carefully from two thousand and twelve to two thousand and thirteen.

Allow us to see, hear, smell, taste, and feel you in our thinness tonight.

Let it be, and let it be so.


Happy New Year!

Published by philandpatricia

we live in Northport, MI

8 thoughts on “an adventure in the everglades

  1. You are an amazing photographer. Beautiful shots, beautiful words. As a dear friend has frequently said to me and many others, “Thank you for being you.”

    Happy New Year!!

  2. Phil,Those pictures of the egret are spectacular!! You are really  an artist beside being a poet. You could make these day jobs if you didn’t already have one.Happy new year to you and Patricia and I thank God every day for your presence with usHugs,Fau

  3. Thanks for the new years blessings! I love you! (PS and also add:health. I drank 2 big glasses of fresh-squeezed Florida OJ with the last of our navels yesterday and seem to have dodged the cold everyone around me has. Gratitude!)

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