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One of the search terms that was used four times today (presumably by the same person) that led them to my blog was ancient art depicting snake eating a bird. That’s not that odd a thing to put into a search box, but why my blog would pop up beat me. I gave up after 2 seconds’ pondering and tried it myself. The searcher was sent to this entry of mine, and this one, both from two years ago, about our week in Mexico City:

Thoughts on religion, art, books, politics, philosophy, and life in general …. to be eaten by the giant snakes (the counterpart to the giant snake in the amor, toda para nada” (“House for birds, nest for love, all for nothing”). …. On Monday, we traveled 35 km out of the city to the ancient site of Teotihuacán.

It’s surprising that they clicked on it, considering that it clearly was not what they were looking for, but I guess they were intrigued. I hope they found their ancient art depicting a snake eating a bird somewhere.

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“The UU Occupier,” who describes himself as “a Green, an anarcho-pacifist, a secular humanist, and a Scot,” and is a member of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Palo Alto, has begun a blog called “I Am a UU Occupier.” It’s great to have an addition to the UU and economic justice blogospheres. Check him out!

He also has a passion for prison reform, and blogs at Angolathree and is raising money for The Innocence Project here. UU Occupier, how about a leading a study group with me on The New Jim Crow?

Twenty-seven months after the first post, this blog has reached the milestone of 25,000 views! The monthly hits have been rising and the average is now over 1,000. (One month in 2011 had the peak number of views by far, almost 8,000, due to a March post’s being Freshly Pressed.) One hundred people follow it–thank you!–and it’s a lot of fun writing it and reading your comments.

The quote from which I take this blog’s title is from As You Like It, and I usually edit it to read like this:

And this our life . . .
Finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks,
Sermons in stones, and good in everything.

The speaker is an exiled duke, and because he is wandering the forest instead of presiding over his dukedom, he actually says:

And this our life, exempt from public haunt,
Finds tongues in trees, etc.

I usually take out those words because I’m very much established in public haunt.  But I soon will be exempt, thanks to the generous and wise practice of granting Unitarian Universalist ministers a sabbatical, one month for each year of full-time service to the congregation.  My first sabbatical begins a week from today, and for several months I will be free to find sermons in stones without actually jotting them down to turn into Sunday sermons, in that devilish way of ministers.  I will be devoting my sabbatical time to making art.

I’m not going to commit to blogging during this time.  This may be a great art journal, but it’s also public, and many of my ideas may need time just to be my ideas, without having to turn into anything interesting to anyone else.  And I will keep comments shut off for the sabbatical period, so that I can tell the members of my congregation about this blog without our continuing to chat all through this time that is supposed to be Away.  They are very interesting people and it would be irresistible.

I have other blogs for keeping in touch with friends and for informing a network of my daughter’s fans what she’s up to.  This space is for theological, spiritual, philosophical, and artistic musings, and as I was musing this morning I knew it was time to wake up the blog and post my first post.

I was thinking that when I start drawing, next week, I want to draw leaves that are eaten away to a skeleton.

Vein skeleton of a leaf

And that got me thinking about the beauty in decay.  Leaves are beautiful that way.  So are cliffs eroded so that you can see the striation of the rock.  And human faces?  Sure.  The very word “decay” implies that the peak, even the normal, state is in the past and that this new state is inferior.  But is that true of the leaf?  Is it less beautiful this way than when it had all its skin?

Is it true of us, that our best time is when we are at our peak of health and strength?  Some elements of our selves grow, not only while other elements decay, but because they decay.  Certainly many of my strengths come directly from loss and the wearing-away of things that used to be essential to me.  I think a series of pieces on this might be one of the projects of the next few months.

The image came to my mind, and only then the idea.  And that, in a nutshell, is what I treasure about the activity my daughter calls “arting.”  What other revelations will my “sabbatical of art” bring?  I’m breathless with wondering.  The only way to find out is to get arting.

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