Sunday, December 25, 2011

Our community of monks at Hazelbrand

   the scholarly man 
           who has come to live in our community 
has a heart like fragrant rice.

                                      Merry Christmas Chaz!

to the one who keeps us balanced with humor and grace!
Margaret, Merry Christmas!


10 bales of straw
10 bags of leaves from Atlanta
1 bag greensand
3 wheelbarrows of composted horse manure
laid out t-tape and tubing for drip irrigation - had on hand
priced submersible pump for river
Jason exploring a possible used greenhouse

the coolest 2-foot shovel ever!
new Felco pruners
great garden gloves

Why God Loves Dirt

Advent 4B 2011 Attar of the Lord Krishna
The Rev. Cynthia Hizer
Episcopal Church of the Epiphany, Atlanta, GA

You will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and he will be great.”                       

Last week, when the Bishop visited, he asked us “what would your neighborhood
miss, if your church closed?”
and I also wonder, this week, this fourth week of Advent,what would we miss if we didn’t have the story of Mary, the mother of Jesus.
What would we miss, without the womb of Mary?
I wait for this Sunday, the fourth and final Sunday of Advent, all year long.
I finally get to talk about Mary!

During Advent, until today, we get the apocalypse; we get John the Baptist,
the voice crying out in the wilderness, locusts and wild honey, watchfulness
and waiting. But we don’t get Mary.
So today I come crawling, parched and thirsty for a little feminine divine. 

What would we miss if we didn’t have the story of Mary? When we come crawling, limping, thirsty for the earthiness of Mary, I want that which we have been waiting for, that our parched throats and worn-out hearts are longing for,
a drop of rain on parched earth.

I want the manger and the straw and the sheep and the shepherds, I want a home birth with no medical professionals or birth certificate,
but mostly I want the dark, moist, earthy, loamy material, the medicine, the material life force, the matter – the mother - essence of the universe welling up from the clay of which we are formed, the part of the incarnation that Mary gave to Jesus. 

“You will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and he will be great”

Why does Jesus, our savior, need to be conceived in a womb, made of clay,
made of earth?
Zeus didn’t need a womb – he gave birth to Athena through his head.
Jupiter did the same thing. Why is it that the thing that will end our thirst
and heal our hearts, and truly save us, Jesus, is made of the same clay as us, as Mary?

We have Mary not as a symbol of obedient or devout women.

We have Mary, we need Mary, for the womb, the belly in the solar plexus,
the part of our bodies that knows truth, smells justice, knows mercy, instinctively. Jesus had to come from this part of her body, not her head, not her rib, but her gut.
We don’t get the Song of Mary, the song of justice,
 the Magnificat, we don’t get that greatness, from the head.

We get it from the heart, from the gut. We get healing and salvation and a
longing for justice from the belly, from the womb.

This justice is intoxicating, scattering the proud from their conceit, lifting up the
lowly, filling the hungry with good things.
Intoxicating, like the first drop of rain on parched ground.

In India, there is a group of perfumes called At-tars. They are the finest perfumes in the world, made with great labor. The flowers – rose, champa, jasmine, blue lotus - are infused into a base of sandalwood.

So their fragrance is deep and resinous and intense.
But there is one At-tar, the most sacred of them all,
called Mitti. It is the At-tar of the Lord Krishna.

The Mitti is a distillation not of flowers, but of earth.
To make it the perfumers take big mounds of mud and dry them into flat,
parched cakes and stack them in the distiller.

Then they add steam.
And the moment the first drop of moisture hits the hot, dry parched cakes
of mud, the aroma that is emitted is the same fragrance
as the first drop of rain on the hot, parched earth of India at the beginning
of the monsoon season.

This is an electric moment when the heat is still intense but anticipation is in the air, it is the most intoxicating scent for the people,
knowing rain is coming,
that the earth will live again, that they will live.
This fragrance stands for salvation.

We know this smell.
It is the fragrance of the garden on our hands.
It is the fragrance we know in our gut, in our belly,
Because it is the fragrance that God loves.
We know that God loves us because God loves dirt.
we know God loves dirt because God loves justice.
God loves justice and God loves dirt enough to make us from it, and make justice from it and make Jesus from it.

Korea has a love story about a beautiful woman named
Choon-Hyang - spring fragrance,
this beautiful woman is named for the first rain on dry soil.
And for her, Choon-Hyang, it also means the fragrance of justice. Her story is one of justice for the women of Korea.

Lord Krishna says, “I am the fragrance of the earth.”
Choon-Hyang says “I am the fragrance of justice.”
Could this be our Lord Jesus born of clay, born of the womb of Mary, destined to be great?


winter solstice fire 2011

kept vigil in the garden.
laid on the ground to feel the earth pulse and rhythm.
felt the well being.
prayed for peace.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


straw for mulching: check
wearing orange to protect from hunters: check
collards luxuriating in cool misty weather: check
garden ready to nap for a couple of months: check