Mushrooms and Water

08-11-2013 | Lindsay

It has rained a lot this summer, steadily, or in brief showers, or sudden downpours, or misty sprinkles; all day, or only for a minute or two; out of stern, gray skies, or pearly clouds. All this generosity has had an effect. Seed potatoes and strawberries planted in April have flourished. In fact the whole 1300 acres of Rolling Ridge has burst forth in a riot of green growth. Looking out my kitchen window, I could swear that the walnut tree at the corner of the field near Homestead is several feet taller than it was the day before. Bamboo down by Deer Spring Creek has reached out and over the foot bridge. Grass seems to spring up fully grown behind every sweep of the mower; tomatoes and wineberries ripen minute-by-minute in the garden.

John O'Donohue, in his small book of reflections on nature called Four Elements says of rain, "While rivers, streams, wells and oceans may remain distant from the human, rain does not. Rain is a water shape that falls on us from above…The patience of the earth is striking in the manner in which it expects and waits for the rains. Then, with the moisturing of the rains, it grows everything in its own time and rhythm."

Earlier this summer my friend Pat and I went for a walk, winding by the Memorial Grove and then over toward Friends Trail. We must have seen more than ten different mushrooms each dressed in its own style…some slender and creamy white, with round thin tops. Some had tops that curled fancifully round the edges. Others were painted in swirls of blue. Some were bright red-orange beacons on the forest floor. Near the old cemetery of Christ Church we passed that most magical of mushrooms, a toadstool, cheerily red with the classic white spots. I half expected a gnome to peep out from around the next tree.

Then one evening recently, Scot called and told us to step out onto our porch and listen to the frogs in the pond at Woodhaven, which is at least a 100 yards away from our house. What a torrent of sound flowed on the night air…a thousand froggy voices singing in peeps and grunts and gurgles and clacks, an intricate and magnificent choral symphony.

Amidst this watery exuberance, we are welcoming the fifth annual Pilgrimage of Peace to Rolling Ridge. How notable that the poem we received in the first night of this two plus week journey into song, silence, chant, study, shared-work and presence began "Don't say, don't say there is no water."

While the Pilgrimage of Peace has always been a time to explore the contours of sung prayer, gathered silence, and open-hearted conversation, at its most tender core, the pilgrimage is about, as the flyer states, “the sprouting of a spontaneous, ecumenical community". The present membership of this community changes almost daily as people come and go from here, but the spirit of “the community of the day" remains, creating a haven for hospitality, vulnerability, resilience and healing. Now, through the invisible tendrils of the internet, this sprouting community can be woven to one another even when some of us are not physically together.

In this season of water falling from above, much is growing in its own time and rhythm on this small wilderness mountain. Come and get wet with us.