Autumn is in the air once again even here in this land of perpetual light and heat and Spanish moss bedecked Northern Florida landscape. It’s beautiful to watch the seasons change no matter where one is, but especially after one has set down roots and taken the time to stand still long enough to get to know a place and its character. I’ve been here since 2003 and feel like I’ve been here long enough to really notice the subtleties of the passing seasons not unlike someone who consistently prays some form of the breviary over time gets to really know the rhythm of the liturgical year, the saints and feasts and customs that mark the passing of time and somehow bring a bit of the eternal world into ones own.
As I sit here I can look outside my window at a freshly trimmed Sabal Palm swaying gently in the late October breeze, it’s fingered fronds catching the waning light of the feast of St. Longinus and splashing shadowed green at me in ways that could only happen right here at this time of the year, or perhaps at this time at all. Even the sky has a melancholic pastel blue that’s foreign to the summer months in these parts, and the crows caw overhead in their metallic song as only they do here in the darker and cooler months.
While these days I’m on the verge of officially following Hieromonk Gabriel Bunge into Orthodoxy in a formal way, I’m still very much influenced by the Benedictine Way that this blog was named after, and this business of rootedness and stability that I’ve been opining on these last few paragraphs. When a man becomes a monk he is asked to become rooted in one place and learn to live by its seasons and the seasons of his own heart, allowing Gods grace to transfigure him from within while remaining in the place of his profession.
Us laymen can ponder this business of stability and rootedness in our own lives as well, and see if it works for us or if we can find any wisdom in it. I know that both intuitively and in my own life I have found a lot of wisdom in it. We are asked to stand our ground somewhere, to sit still, to allow the business of growth to happen right where we are. Psalm 1 is about this if you’re interested in reading and pondering it.
Do you stick with your daily times of prayer or the contents? Do you keep practicing some hobby or discipline no matter what, returning to it if you backslide a bit? These are just questions to ponder as you think about rootedness and stability.