Sunday, October 19, 2014

I Don’t Go to Church Anymore

This afternoon, Comet C/2013 A1, better know by its thoroughbred sounding name, Siding Spring, raced past our neighbor, the red planet Mars, at 35 miles per second, hurtling towards the sun.
Traveling from a place called the Oort Cloud, which is a swarm of icy objects believed to be debris left over from the birth of our solar system 4.5 billion years ago, this space traveler will eventually turn away from the brightest star in the sky and it’s gravitational pull, returning to whence it came, a million of years ago.

Before I sat down to watch the simulcast (yes, I’m an space geek), I took a long walk in the woods behind my house.  You see; I don’t go church anymore.  Instead I spend time in nature.  I’m usually running along country roads, snowshoeing across fields, swimming in the ocean, or walking in the woods, all with the same destination, home.

This time of year in Maine the woods are spectacular.  Lemon yellow birch leaves explode alongside the amber leaves of beech trees like fireworks on the 4th of July.   The earthly scent of decaying wet sugar maple leaves and needles from the towering white pine decomposing under each step reminded me that winter is not too far off, but the warmish humid air rustling through the stubborn oak leaves, hushed my concerns.  Like Frederick the Mouse from one of my favorite childhood books, I told myself, I can stack wood another day.

Walking quietly along the edge of a field, I heard an unfamiliar song in the wind, and then noticed two small birds fluttering from branch to branch. They reappeared every few seconds, singing a jumbled high pitch call that sounded like the chattering of children. No bigger than a lime, the two chased each other from bush to bush, and then I noticed a flash of red from the top of one of their tiny heads, but with the speed of a comet, the Ruby-crowned Kinglets vanished into thin air.