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cathy-manorah-featBy Cathy Hird

This is a season when it can feel as if everything runs short. Town budgets for snow removal have nothing left. Time to accomplish our long list is running out. The store does not have the great gift we wanted or the size of turkey we need. Our supply of energy fizzles.

nativity-featBy Cathy Hird

Most of the cards one gets in this season have peaceful images on them. Snow falls quietly. Horses pull a sleigh across empty fields. A dove sits in a pine tree. Given that December is dark, stormy and frenetic, given how much we long for peace, the cards provide us with a picture of what we desire. Cards that picture the birth of Jesus also give us an image of peace and quiet: in a stable, a mother cradles a sleeping infant with father and animals looking on and a single star in the sky.

view-cathy-feat-longBy Cathy Hird

December gets darker each day until the solstice. It gets colder and stormier beyond that. Still for me, this month is a time to ponder hope. What do we hope for? How do we move toward that vision? In the darkest and stormiest times, what helps us to hold on to hope?

The ancient wise man Isaiah in a dark time in Israel wrote of the mountain of the Lord as an image of hope. He described a hill where the wolf and lamb lie down together, where cow and bear feed side by side, where there is peace.

hand-featBy Cathy Hird

When I started farming, we did our hay in square bales and fed it in long wooden feeders. We tried to make sure there was a space for each ewe's head so they could all eat as soon as the hay was put down. Still, the end of every winter we would find a couple really skinny sheep. These were the ones who got shouldered out of the way so that the big ones could eat more.

cathy-silence-regBy Cathy Hird

Recently, I watched someone play a djimbe style drum and noticed not just the way they made the drum resonate but the way they moved their hands to make spaces between the beats. To create the rhythm, the drummer had to tap with fingers and hand but also had to create silence between the strokes.

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