The Secret of the Buried Seed

The secret of the buried seed
is to accept the darkness as a gift,
to trust the finger that presses us down
into what we fear will be a grave.

We have always feared facing death.
We have always feared being poured out
of our colourful packaging with its sunny promises,
and into that terrifying mystery called 
germination.

We fear the hiddenness.
We fear the silence.
We fear the change, perhaps, more than anything.

But perhaps it is a grace
that this breaking of our protective shells
takes place in concealment,
and if we stop grasping so tightly to our fragile skins
we may feel the embrace of the soil,
and hear its comforting whispers that
yes, yes, life comes from death,
and this breaking is indeed a new beginning.

It is good to be small.
It is grace to be buried.

In this we return to the earth from which we were formed.
In this we are reminded we are earth – humus.
We learn humility.
We become human.

And all this is not an end, oh no.
All this pressing and breaking
is actually a movement of love,
love that pours downward,
love that has pierced this dark path before,
love that invites us to follow past the fear
and into the deepest mystery of existence:

What is broken is multiplied,
What is dead is raised to life,
What is surrendered may finally grow,
And what love accomplishes, no other power can unmake.

It is just as human to be hidden and quiet.
And all waiting is an invitation to trust,
and these deaths are an opening to life bright and beautiful beyond – 

This is the way of love,
And love is the only way.

* It is Madeleine L’Engle to whom I owe the connection between humus, humility, and human, from her book Walking on Water (pg. 69). 

~LG

S.D.G.

Unruffled

There are two geese on the river, gliding through the fog, tenderly close to each other. A mallard and his mate hug the grassy riverbank while bobbing for food. All the while, mixed precipitation pelts from a grey sky. These birds are not ruffled by an unsettled April beginning. 

They know the peace of the river.

~ LG

S. D. G.

Stay Home

I thought this poem by Wendell Berry was especially apt for this moment in time. In moments of stillness, may we find new peace.

Stay Home

I will wait here in the fields
to see how well the rain
brings on the grass.
In the labor of the fields
longer than a man’s life
I am at home. Don’t come with me.
You stay home too.

I will be standing in the woods
where the old trees
move only with the wind
and then with gravity.
In the stillness of the trees
I am at home. Don’t come with me.
You stay home too.

~ Wendell Berry

Love is a battered work coat

A meditation on 1 Corinthians 13:4 ~ “Love is patient”

Love is a battered work coat.

It is long-suffering, built to last.

It carries the marks of its patient protection – 
oil spots, wood chips, paint blobs, 
ground-in dirt, a small tear,
the smell of manure and chainsaw exhaust,
edges frayed from many days’ friction.

These stains are the beauty marks of love,
Love in action for the other,
Loved exposed to the elements,
Love for all seasons. 

Love is not a gossamer dress,
put on for special occasions 
or when the mood strikes.
Love is a strike-anywhere match. 

Love shoulders the burden of for better or worse,
in marriages, in families, in communities.

Love has no shape until it is put on,
and takes the form of those it embraces.

Its primary virtue is its ruggedness,
a dogged determination to weather the weather,
and find warmth within,
together. 

~ Lindsey Gallant

S. D. G.

Book List 2019

Illustration from Who Has Seen the Wind
W. K. Kurelik

The List

Fiction

The Blythes Are Quoted – L. M. Montgomery 
Who Has Seen The Wind – W. O. Mitchell 
Middlemarch – George Eliot 
Emma – Jane Austen
Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy 
Marilla of Green Gables – Sarah McCoy
Anne of Green Gables – L. M. Montgomery 
The Daughter of Time – Josephine Tey
Sophie’s World – Jostein Gaarder
The Snow Goose – Paul Gallico 

Study Group

Excerpts from:
The Rule of Saint Benedict – St. Benedict
Wars of Justinian – Procopius
History of the Franks – Gregory of Tours
Book of Pastoral Rule & The Dialogues – Gregory the Great
Ecclesiastical History of the English People – Bede

The Confession of St. Patrick  – St. Patrick
The Life of St. Columba – Adomnan of Iona
The Voyage of Brendan 
Beowulf – translated by Seamus Heany 

Read-Alouds

Cartier Sails the St. Lawrence – Esther Averill 
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl
The Secret Garden – Fracnes Hodgson Burnett
The Hobbit – J.R.R. Tolkien 
Homer Price – Robert McCloskey
The Family Under the Bridge – Natalie Savage Carlson
& Many picture books!

Education 

Pocketful of Pinecones – Karen Andreola
Parents and Children – Charlotte Mason (ongoing)

Non-Fiction

The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning – Margareta Magnusson
The Alpine Path – L. M. Montgomery

Spiritual

You Set My Spirit Free – St. John of the Cross
Reunion: The Good New of Jesus for Seekers, Saints and Sinners – Bruxy Cavey
Emotionally Healthy Spirituality – Pete Scazzero

Humour

Is This “One of Those Days” Daddy? (For Better or For Worse) – Lynn Johnston
It Must Be Nice to Be Little (For Better of For Worse) – Lynn Johnston
Strange Planet – Nathan W. Pyle


Thoughts . . .

Favourites:

Who Has Seen the Wind – This was a heart book for me, and an unexpected favourite. Mitchell drew me right into Saskatchewan and right into the small-town world of Brian. (I lived in Saskatchewan for a year as a child.) The part about the Christmas skates brought me to tears. I also loved that it is Canadian!

Beowulf – What can I say? This was epic. I understand now why this is foundational to English literature. And where Tolkien got Smaug from!

Emma – I just love Jane Austen. Though Emma is not my favourite of her heroines, I enjoyed the storytelling, wit, and insight into human nature which makes Austen such a beloved author.

Anything read with others – My book club and study group continue to be a highlight of my literary life! I’ve loved reading through some of the more challenging classic literature with friends, and learning more about the medieval mindset from the writings of that time.

Most impressive:

Middlemarch – George Eliot was a genius. This book was a huge banquet of ideas from so many different streams of thought. Well drawn characters. Masterfully done. However, it didn’t resonate with me on a “kindred spirit” level, and I think this speaks to Eliot’s own worldview.

Most fun:

The Hobbit – I read this with the kids over the winter. I had fond memories of my dad reading it to us as kids, with Gollum’s voice and all, and reading aloud with my own children did not disappoint. They loved the story and the way it was told. There were lots of giggles over Tolkien’s language, and that was a joy to experience together. They are on the edge of their seats and now want more Middle Earth!

Most influential:

You Set My Spirit Free – This was a book God used to speak to my spirit in 2019. Thanks to a tip off from a friend as we discussed the idea of a “dark night of the soul,” I found it on my shelves and it became a kind of companion. I read it slowly. I read some passages over and over. I journaled them, prayed them. This helped give me a frame of reference for what I was experiencing in this season of life.

Reading Goals for 2020

I don’t usually like to plan too much of my reading in advance, preferring to make choices that are more in the moment. However, I do have a sizeable stack of books I started reading last year, or have been on my to-read list for awhile, that I would like to finish!

To Finish:

Consider This – Karen Glass
Beauty in the Word – Stratford Caldecott
Joy and Human Flourishing – essays edited by Miroslav Volf
The Adventure of English – Melvyn Bragg
Evangelical, Sacramental & Pentecostal – Gordon T. Smith

The Lake District

A fellow homeschool mom and I are headed to a conference in the Lake District this spring!! I am beyond excited. Here is what I am planning to read in preparation for the trip.

Swallows and Amazons – Arthur Ransome (current read-aloud with the kids)
Lyrical Ballads – Wordsworth and Coleridge
How the Heather Looks – Joan Badger
In Vital Harmony – Karen Glass

Happy Reading in 2020!

~ Lindsey

S. D. G.