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The long green season

The long green season

By Kathy Staudt

Having been on an academic schedule my whole life, I find that when summer comes it has a liturgical feel. For academic professionals, summer is the time when we’re not teaching and meeting — the time when we are free to do “our own work” of writing and creativity — for many of us, the work that called us into academe to begin with. Sometimes it’s pressured, but ideally it’s at least in part “fallow time,” with space for contemplation. This year, with Pentecost so late, the feel of the summer season coincides quite well with the church year — and I am sinking into it happily now, spending the early mornings on my patio, before the heat sets in, finding a little more “butt-in-the-chair” time for writing projects, getting in touch with the places in myself from which the best things come — perhaps even with what Evelyn Underhill called “that deep place where the soul is at home with God.”

It has been a lush, green summer in Washington so far, and so I find the world around me, on my patio-mornings, in harmony with the green season at church — the season after Pentecost which used to be called, quite appropriately I think — “ordinary time” — the longest season, and perhaps the most instructive, when we’re learning to live more deeply into the faith whose stories we’ve told from Advent through Pentecost.

Here’s a poem that came, one morning on the patio. It reflects how litiurgically “right” this “green season” is for me this year. Hoping these words may help some of you also rejoice in the riches of this season.

Here on my patio

This July morning

After drenching, cleansing

Storms in the night,

I rest amid birdsong,

Surrounded in green

Green of the long growing season

After-Pentecost at church

The season to put out more leaves

Take in sunlight and nourishment

Put down deep roots

Bear maturing fruit

Grow, receive, give back

The long green growing season

Of ordinary time.

Dr. Kathleen Henderson Staudt keeps the blog poetproph, works as a teacher, poet, spiritual director and retreat leader in the Washington DC area. She is the author of two books: At the Turn of a Civilisation: David Jones and Modern Poetics and Annunciations: Poems out of Scripture.


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Kathy Staudt

Friends – part of the risk of putting up a “fresh” poem is that it hasn’t had quite enough time to ripen, and so need tweaking later on — at least that’s how my process worked. I’ve revised & pruned this one a bit in the version of this post I now have on my blog in case anyone is interested.

Donald Schell


It helps to notice the liturgical rhythm in work and temporal season. For the summer I’ve added a two day a Sunday and one week-day sabbatical coverage of a friend’s congregation nearby to my regular work. I’m very, very grateful for this summer’s atypically sunny, balmy (for San Francisco) weather. Sunshine a good breezes are keeping my energy up. Meanwhile, my wife is in Malawi for her annual programs review trip with GAIA, the AIDS organization she works with, so she’s south of the equator and in winter. Your poem gives another feel and the other responses give texture to the days we share in our church’s wide network of friends and overlapping work. And I love what you’ve done bringing ‘ordinary time’ to life in its lush green glory.

EH Culver

In Texas we’d be more likely to write a poem to a sparkling blue swimming pool. It and air conditioning make it possible to survive the heat.

Ann Fontaine

Thanks – yes to fallow time. btw – as I read I thought – hmm Washington is always lush and green – then remembered you live in or near Washington DC

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