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.