Sunday, January 23, 2005


I spent the weekend at a retreat at the Convent of St. Helena on prayer and healing. Several years ago I went to a workshop on healing that came more out of the charismatic wing of the Episcopal Church, and they were much more confident of what they were about. This one was more scattered, but there was a lot to think about. An interesting place to be when I am in a time of inner change (and physical change).

This week is the third anniversary of the death of my friend Ruth Farrell. She needed the support of the church, and her church couldn't cope. I'm looking into giving the convent a squirrel feeder in her memory. Sister Clare, who is 97, loves watching the squirrels.

In May 2000 Ruth wrote:

Out of something like despair -- also frustration trying to fit the things I made for B. into the refrigerator -- I mixed up a mud-pie mess from some of the special (and pricey) flours I bought when Dr. S. told me she wasn't eating wheat anymore...before she told me she was, in fact, eating only quinoa flour. I threw in some caraway and sesame seeds that I suspect might be stale. And I'm baking this mess up for the squirrels, who I hope will eat it.

A few hours later she wrote:

They haven't touched it yet. But that may just mean they haven't found it. I don't put food out regularly -- the occasional burnt cookies or fallen cake -- so they don't hang out, though they mostly find what I've left.

Several days later she wrote:
I have, this morning, made another squirrel cake, with a bag of expensive, mail-ordered chick pea flour. This shelf-full of alternative grains that she rejected almost as soon as they arrived is seeming to represent all that I wish for from her and can't ever get or count on... The squirrels like it fine.

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