Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Advent Garden

This Advent our church has designed an Advent Garden in our newly restored, redrained, resodded, and replanted Garth. Walkers enter the spiral one by one, carrying candles that are fixed into apples for holders, 
and stroll at a leisurely pace to the center. They light their candles from the Advent Candle,
turn and walk out,
placing the candles in chosen locations among the pine boughs. This ritual appeals to all ages and brings all five senses into play. The last time we laid out the garden, many years ago now,  a storm came up in the night and blew the boughs around before covering them with a layer of crusty snow; no one walked the Advent Garden that year. This year, however, Advent I was balmy, with a gentle wind that only threatened the flames, but the candles managed to burn on, creating a beautifully quiet, peaceful and holy space. What better way to bring ourselves into Advent and the Garth back into use after four years of rebuilding and reconstruction.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Great New England Halloween Snow Storm (Apparently Known as "Alfred")

Our street
The storm begins!
Gone! No power, no phone, no email, no connections, no cell phone service, no cell phone batteries (low to begin with, gone from trying to connect), no gasoline (pumps run electrically), no streetlights, no radio, no C batteries (who would have guessed), no news, no church, no Sunday paper.

Flickers: Primitive light – candles, flashlights, one market open (it has a generator and very long lines), two hardware stores open with inside darkness and flashlight service (one sold out, the other doing a brisk business in C batteries)

Blessings: Water!! Gas stove and matches for morning coffee and evening supper, gas fireplace in the living room for heat, used candles from church and friends for light, running water and hot water for refreshment, friends with restored power for company and charging computers.

Good star viewing, friendliness on the street, clear and sunny days, daytimes above freezing, nighttimes below freezing and snow to pack around previously electrically refrigerated food, daily news about streets, stores and gas stations where the light has returned. Mail and newspaper delivery (except for the Sunday paper, which has apparently disappeared for good.) and a big friendly dog for happiness, laughter and games.

And a puzzlement: The local radio station (beaming in on a radio powered by recently purchased C batteries found due to gasoline recently acquired at a newly opened gas station) reports local storm news and then blithely sends its listeners (100% without power) to the internet for more information on what's open, what’s happening, and what’s important to know about power restoration.

Conclusion: Just a few hours short of 4 days - we have light! And internet. And now the telephone as well. We are not the last in the town to be back on the grid, and certainly not the last in New England. But 4 days was a long time!
Our street again.