October 2017

“Across the land a faint blue veil of mist

Seems hung; the woods wear yet arrayment sober

Till frost make them flame: silent and whist

The drooping cherry orchards of October

Like mournful pennons hang their shrivelling leaves

Russet and orange: all things now decay;

Long since ye garnered in your autumn sheaves,

and sad the robins pipe at set of day.....”

  From “October “ by Siegfried Sassoon


The seasons have changed a great deal

during the last few years.

We have not yet had any frost.

Leaves are still green on trees and bushes

with only delicate touches of yellow and russet.

Some bushes have produced more flowers.

Today, the 8th October, the weather is overcast.

Rain fell in the afternoon.

The newspapers

in dental and medical surgeries

reveal how much the world has changed

since our childhood.

Papers which were, in our young days,

mainly columns of information

now contain photographs of recent atrocities.

Respect for the private lives of others

seems also - to a large extent - to have disappeared.

Sometimes it is a relief to be older

and to remember a different past ....

12th October

I have been reading an article in the


“The Composer of Silence “

by Nathaniel Peters.

He was writing about Arvo Paert’s compositions.

A noted conductor, Paul Hillier,

described his music as “sounding icons”.

Peters wrote:

“ The significance of icons in Christian worship

lies not so much in what they depict

as in the effect they have on the viewer.

Icons are more liturgy than art.

They not only work; they also work on you.

Consider the famous depiction of Christ

from the monastery of St Catherine on Mount Sinai,

with half Christ’s face

in judgment and half in mercy.

The eye in judgment confronts its viewer ...”


Our magnolia tree has,

for the first time as far as we know,

some few pods opening and revealing seeds.

A History of Magnolias

informed us that magnolias have a long history

and are among the first flowering plants

known to mankind.

Magnolias emerged before the bees existed

and their blooms were pollinated by beetles...

Is that also true in the present day?

14th October

I have only just read a prayer by Bishop Ken Unterner

of Saginaw, which he later used to mark the martyrdom of

the Blessed Oscar Romero of El Salvador.


“ This is what we are about.

We plant the seeds that one day will grow.

We water the seeds already planted, knowing

that they hold future promise.

We lay foundations that will need

further development.

We provide yeast that produces far

beyond our capacities.

...It is a beginning, a step along the way,

an opportunity for the Lord’s grace to

enter and do the rest.

We may never see the end results,

but we are workers, not master builders;

ministers, not messiahs.

We are prophets of a future not our own.


 The Sower

 by Paula Fairlie OSB


16th October

The tall trees are swaying as the wind buffets them

while fallen leaves fly in the currents of the strong wind.

It is now early afternoon: the hurricane has reached Chester.

Shortly after midday the sun assumed a strange appearance.

A BBC weather presenter later said that the change came through

Hurricane Ophelia dragging in tropical air and dust

from the Sahara.



Later on Brunie came out for a short walk

 while I scattered food for the birds.

We did not remain outside for long...

Crows tried to balance on the branches of strong trees

but it was difficult for them to do so .....

We can only pray that fallen trees

will not injure the wildlife

or the people still walking in the streets.

The sun is shining while the wind roars.


22nd October

We began reading from a book entitled


a short time ago.

Today’s reflection has the title

Personal Interaction.

One quotation comes from John Bunyan:


In prayer it is better to have a heart without words

than words without a heart.


This was followed by a quotation from an

anonymous author

recounting the story of a traveller in China

who visited a temple on a feast day.

Many pilgrims gathered around a shrine.

He noticed that several of them were  pulling out

strips of paper,

rolling them in mud, and tossing them at the idol.

When he asked what they were doing,

he was told that the pieces of paper were written prayers.

They believed that if the mud-wrapped paper

stuck to the idol, it would serve as a promise

that the prayer would be answered.

If it fell off, it meant the prayer was rejected.


There is no easy way to know how God would respond

to our prayers.

But would we really want there to be ?

God is listening. And if we pay attention,

we will hear him speak back,

even if our prayers are not immediately answered.


Praying Hands