land of rest

Land of Rest is a blog of Peter Jenks. Poems, quotes and photos are by Peter Jenks (unless otherwise noted or I miss noting an older post's photo) and are copyrighted, you are free to use these if you acknowledge their source.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Our daily bread

I remember my grandmother making bread when I was little, it is a deep memory and the smell can bring me back in a heartbeat. But most of my life I have eaten my bread from the big grocery stores with long aisles and brought home with jammed bags that I hope won't completely flatten the bread substance. But over the last couple of decades I have slowly been awakened to the joy of good bread. The arrival of Bodacious, now Borealis Bread was like fresh air coming in the house after a long closed up winter. Now we also have Atlantic Bakery and other local bakeries. It shouldn't be a surprise to rediscover what human have had for millions of years, but it just kind of got lost in the wake of the supermarket machinery of modern convenience. But buying bread from the baker is now one of my local delights. Seeing the people covered in flour in the bake room and the various loaves on display is such a rich addition to life here. The convenience of one stop
shopping to get everything I need is not as valuable to me anymore as taking a bit longer and adding another stop to get some bread or now even think of shopping as a process, with many visits. It all seems so basic, so primal and somehow it seems to connect me more with my food and where I am living. Eating fresh bread is one of my great delights and I thank heartily those local bakers who make my life so much richer here.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Radio Show

For several months now I have been praying and thinking about doing a weekly radio show at our local low frequency station. At the beginning of my sabbatical I was interviewed at the station and found it to be facinating. Then later around Christmas time I read “A Child's Christmas in Wales” with the great local story teller-dramatist Erika Pfander on the station. And then one morning I was listening to Garrison Keiler's morning show at 9 am where he reads and talks about various literary figures and reads a poem. I am always left wanting more. So I thought it would be an interesting idea to do a show where I start out reading prayers, texts to hymns and psalms and bring up what went on this day in history literary and artistically, and read poems, recipes and short stories.
I do need sponsors, though. They want people, businesses, or groups to sponsor shows at 30 dollars a month. If anyone would be interested let me know - I would also find it great to work with others and to read poems and works people have written, and or your favorites. The station is WRFRlp in Rockland, they stream it on the internet as well, check them out. I want to do a morning show, perhaps Thursday.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

No News is Good News

In the process of having a sabbatical one has time to look within, to deal with things that have been put off for other more pressing concerns or because one does not want to deal with them.
In these last weeks of my sabbatical I have found that there are two aspects of my life that have been an issue for me and yet never urgent enough to be immediately addressed. One is my daily reading of the news and another is my daily coffee. Neither of which I would put into an evil force, in fact both help me feel connected with others and the world about me, as I drink coffee with others and chat about the events in the world about us. Yet coffee is still a substance that a colleague has referred to as “Christian speed”. My daily cups of coffee can seem justified, but also can be seen as a habit an unnecessary stimulant and something to look at in my life. Within Buddhist tradition it is seen as a forbidden or harmful element. Getting off coffee, or at least cutting it down to the point where I will only have an occasional cup was in fact hard at first. There was a caffeine need, ever so subtle, that was pulling at me. I have moved to the occasional cup and found it refreshing.
The other issue that has come up in the last days of my sabbatical is my daily reading of the news. It always seemed like a good thing for me to be connected to what is going on in the world. But with computer news it can suck up great amounts of time. And I have found that news generally only confirms what I already believe. I may be gathering new bits of information but only reinforcing already held positions. And in fact these positions only get more entrenched with the more news I read. Books are my new friend, again. And it is keeping me off the computer which has kept me from updating my blog. I am also taking time to read poetry every day instead of the news. It is giving me a much more enhanced view of my immediate world. In a time of great change I find it hard to actually embrace the change for myself. It is easy to see what is happening around me and to fight or take sides. But as a Christian, I find that the hope of redemption and forgiveness always leads me back to that wonderful and freeing cleansing of repentance. So instead of getting angry with the news pundits who I wish would repent and gain some intelligence I simply look within and repent from the news, with my herbal tea and book of poetry.
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