Mary Ann Welter

November 2022 (Vol. XXXV, No. 10)

Dear Friends ~ Two challenging, yet inviting, questions have plagued me over the past month. We see escalating wars across the globe, natural disasters made worse by climate change, and an ever-evolving world virus situation. Covid’s ever-changing variants force scientists to remain vigilant with new vaccines to counter them, while some tackle monkeypox and other virulent viruses. As I write, we in the United States have entered the harvest season, preparing for the feast of Thanksgiving. Other countries and cultures mark the Harvest in other seasons, all with myriad meals and festivities.

No matter where we are in the world or what tangible crops we gather in, let us ponder together what we each, personally, harvest from these times in which we live. Perhaps another way to look at it is to consider what we bring to nourish and diversify this table of plenty.

June 2022 (Vol. XXXV, No. 6)

Dear Friends ~ Honoring fathers, parents, nurturers all, we find ourselves ushered into the month of graduations and weddings. Times of celebration! Perhaps as children, you, like me, could not wait for summer and the freedom it promised. Yet, amidst the joys of the summer season, we are cognizant this June of the struggles of war, devastation in places around the world, wildfires, floods, illness and loss. Lest we despair, look up into June's bright, azure sky, and deep into its starry nights alive with fireflies. Look to the light, burn candles for peace, huddle with loved ones, yes, even strangers, and persevere, dear friends. ~ Mary Ann 

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February 2022 (Vol. XXXV, No. 2)

Dear Friends ~ Last year I reconnected with Rick Ruggles, a former neighbor and a photographer of what he calls "found hearts". Some years back, he teamed up with Steve Godwin, a poet-friend who often visited Still Point (the home of Friends of Silence in the woods of West Virginia). Together they connected their photographic and poetic heart-work, creating a tiny book called FINDING HEART. I'm grateful both agreed to allow me to share a snippet of their work here to warm our hearts this month.

In the crystal cold of February, the commemoration of St. Valentine, and the cacophony of shifting scenes and specters of our world, what does it mean to "take heart" for each of us, dear readers, especially as our earth heats up, and the pandemic continues around us?

September 2021 (Vol. XXXIV, No. 8)

Dear Friends ~ Summer brought a small respite from covid restrictions and many were able to visit family and friends, relishing once again seeing our loved ones in person. While planning a get-together with a group of long-cherished women friends, an idea percolated to invite a group of contemporary and historic women to share nuggets of women’s wisdom with you, dear readers, male and female. All are welcome. Come in. Pour a cup of tea or glass of wine, put extra sugar in September lemonade just this once, extend your summer travels and welcome visitors old and new. Pour a libation and toast our inspiring sisters. ~ Mary Ann

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April 2021 (Vol. XXXIV, No. 4)

Dear Friends ~ Here in the Northern Hemisphere it is Spring. The earth re-covers herself in the iridescent greens of emerging grasses. Bulbs push their stems to light. Carpets of tiny, illusive flowers herald the season. There are hints of recovery in both local and global news as Covid vaccines become more available. Questions abound: Will our children recover from learning lost? Will lost livelihoods ever be found? Will we ever recover from losing loved ones, over 500,000 in the U.S alone, my 93-year-old mother among them?

December 2020 (Vol. XXXIII, No. 11)

Dear Friends ~ Advent themes swirl in my mind, each an Advent wreath candle: Hope, Faith, Joy, Peace. Regardless of location, languages, ethnicities, or skin tones we humans celebrate these age-old notions in diverse ways. Yet we know their challenging opposites: Hate, Fear, Despair, and Conflict haunt us.

In the Christian Advent story, young, pregnant Mary and her husband travel to fulfill a census requirement. Although angels reassured her, I can’t help but feel Mary’s fear on this long journey, realizing her baby is coming in a strange place, sharing "emergency housing" with barnyard animals. Yet Mary maintains hope. Her joy spreads to shepherds and kings. Mary’s faith proclaims all will be well. Her tiny child comes heralding peace.

July/August 2020 (Vol. XXXIII, No. 7)

Dear Friends ~ Years ago, a friend made us a gift, a calligraphed beginning of a prayer attributed to Pierre Teilhard de Jardin: "Above all, trust in the slow work of God." From a central spot in our dining room, these words reached out to me often while raising a large family and working with kids. The prayer calls to me now as the heat of July and August arrives on the tails of righteous anger, fires of social unrest, and the terrible toll and world-wide anxiety surrounding Covid-19. What can we parents, grandparents, educators, pastors, ordinary humans do for our world's children?

April 2020 (Vol. XXXIII, No. 4)

Dear Friends ~ Spring has arrived in all its glory. As I walk the labyrinth at Still Point, the Friends of Silence retreat house where Nan Merrill's library lives, I'm reminded time and again that "This is Holy Ground," both secretly and brazenly transforming itself in all seasons. Winter was mild in West Virginia with crocuses up early by the front step. March brought hints of the transformation to come. Shadowed by the dark clouds of Corona Virus spreading through the world, daffodils bloomed in profusion down by the pond and at the woods' edge.

Resurrection

Stump dead with rot, sprouts
Single moss spore, emerald green
Resurrection sings.

~ Mary Ann Welter, "Resurrection"
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