Reflecting on Monsters….

Warnings abound as Hurricane Sandy approaches landfall, expected to bring heavy rains and gusting winds from Boston to Washington, DC. In the rolling hills of Virginia, we may even see our first snow. Some are calling this the ‘Frankenstorm’, perhaps because the worst weather may arrive on Halloween. So I was drawn to this amazing art by my friend Jeanne. There are so many layers of meaning in this one image that I hardly know where to start. Both the nautilus and the hurricane are spirals, yet she chose to place the big, scary image in the background. The storm is fades like a ghost while the nautilus takes center stage. Bernoulli called the shape of its shell the spira mirabilis, Latin for ‘miraculous spiral’. The nautilus is born with seven chambers, and grows a new chamber every lunar month. The creature rises by filling the chambers with gas and sinks by filling its chambers with water. Although the shell may appear fragile, a nautilus can withstand water pressures to depths of up to 650 meters, or about seven football fields, below the surface. By comparison, scuba divers can safely dive to only about 40 meters. We see this miraculous spiral again and again in nature, in the nerves of the human cornea, the patterns of sunflower seeds, the shape of a hurricane, the arms of a galaxy. Perhaps it is easier to embrace the tiny miracle, the shell we can grasp in our hands. It’s a whole different story when the same miracle reaches across states, or worst yet, across the void of space. We are tempted to turtle in, to succumb to fear, rather than allowing ourselves to be vulnerable and trust in the Author of Creation. We limit ourselves to what we can see and hear alone, rather than considering the greater truth is often found when we work together. Take time today to ponder the miracle of creation. Look for the patterns that repeat again and again, in the most unexpected places. Share what you see with others, allowing them ot see the world through your eyes. Ask for their opinions before offering your own. Make space to sink and rise, to float above the mania that seems to pervade our days. And always remember, even the scariest monster, looming in our closet last night, may simply vanish like a shadow in the light of day. Text by Connie Chintall ©2012, Art entitled ‘Fossilized Nautilus Shell Spawning Hurricane (Chaos Theory)’ by Jeanne Mischo ©2012, to see more of her work, go to


Reflecting on Creation….

It’s a glorious, sunny day, a welcome change from yesterday’s damp, grey weather. So I was drawn to this amazing image by my friend Heidi, part of her ‘Twirls’ series. At first glance, it seems she has warped a simple rainbow, twisting and turning the entire spectrum of color. Yet the longer I looked at her art, the more I thought of the beginning of the universe, the start of all time. Genesis offers the six day version – but what is a day in God’s time? An earth day of 24 hours, or a cosmic day that lasts eons? Science offers the big bang theory, where the entire universe is condensed into a zone called a singularity that infinitely and instantaneously expands. First there is nothing, then there is everything. Both science and religion agree there is a beginning, but we continue to argue over the how, and when, and why. My view is very simple. The singularity is the Holy of Holies, who was, and is and always will be. Our Creator existed before time began, and I imagine the start of our universe looked a lot more like Heidi’s twirls than an explosion. The universe unfolded, like a flower blooming in spring, opening across time and space in infinite and inconceivable beauty. Or to quote my young friend Colin:

Nothing is special, everything is. Another dichotomy of reality, we live in a universe too large to comprehend, specks of matter floating without aim through the domain of galaxies. Yet we are, and we continue to be. We are conscious, thinking beings with the capability to love and to grow and to learn. Both of these realities are important, we are both gears- pre-purposed parts of a universal machine, without the power to cause lasting change- and miracles- beings capable of understanding what is around us, part of the great performance of time and cognizant of its magnificence. Live as a miraculous gear, a cog that knows what time the clock keeps. – Colin Shea-Blymer

Take time today to ponder the miracle of creation. Pause to look at a snowflake, or flower, or the smile of a small child. Look up into the night sky and open your mind to the vastness of God’s universe. And remember to give thanks for each breath, for we receive the gift of life one breath at a time. Art by Heidi Anne Morris, used with her permission, to see more of her work, visit

Reflecting on Frost….

Today is one of those cold, clear days. Even when I left for the gym, there was still frost on the ground. So I was drawn to this amazing photo of ice on a wild grape vine taken by my friend Cecilia. I love how the ice crystals look like tiny snowflakes, delicately poised on the twisted vines. Water in all its forms is one of the most miraculous and beautiful parts of life. As liquid, water finds its own way, flowing here and there, following the path of least resistance. As steam, water creates the electricity that allows my computer and yours to operate. Yet frozen water remains the most amazing and mysterious. Snow has ten times the volume of rain, and ice is even more perplexing. I never cease to be amazed by how ponds and creeks freeze over, or the way light glistens on icicles, or how dew can form early morning frost. I love to hear the ground crunch beneath my feet as I walk the dog. I love to see frost illuminated by the slanting winter sun as I enjoy my second cup of coffee. And I miss how frost formed on the windows of my childhood home, reminding us Christmas was right around the corner. Take time today to look closely at what you often take for granted. Stop to consider how something simple is just a miracle we see every day. Look for vibrant life where others might only see the cold and frozen. And remember we receive the gift of life, one drop, one breath, at a time. Photo by Cecilia Carr

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