Offering to the River

Offering our nature mandala from the Festival of Faith event last month to the Willamette River. See previous posts for more photos. May we remember that we are interconnected in the web of creation and care for the living earth upon we all dependent. May we have the vision. May it be so.
A Vision
-Wendell Berry
If we will have the wisdom to survive,
to stand like slow-growing trees
on a ruined place, renewing, enriching it,
if we will make our seasons welcome here,
asking not too much of earth or heaven,
then a long time after we are dead
the lives our lives prepare will live here,
their houses strongly placed  upon the valley sides,
fields and gardens rich in the windows.
The river will run clear, as we will never know it,
and over, birdsong like a canopy.
On the levels of the hills will be green meadows,
stock bells in noon shade.
On the steeps where greed and ignorance cut down
the old forest, an old forest will stand,
its rich leaf-fall drifting on its roots.
The veins of forgotten springs will have opened.
Families will be singing in the fields.
In their voices they will hear a music risen out of the ground.
They will take nothing from the ground they will not return,
whatever the grief at parting.
Memory, native to this valley, will spread over it like a grove,
and memory will grow into legend,
legend into song,
song into sacrament.
The abundance of this place,
the songs of its people and its birds,
will be health and wisdom and indwelling light.
This is no paradisal dream.
Its hardship is it possibility.

A Vote for Beauty

From my November newsletter. Sign up at
Our elections may be over and no matter where we stand on the issues or the candidates, we are all in this river of life together. I’m an idealist and believe in my heart that no matter the color of our skin, our faith, our political affiliation, or sexual preference we are each called to bridge our differences in order to heal and serve the social and ecological challenges of our time. This is why I feel blessed to have participated in two interfaith art events in October. First with Sts Brendan and Bridgid Catholic Mission (Spiritus Abbey) at St. Francis in Wilsonville. At the show, “Something Beautiful for God,” artists from all faith traditions shared work in support of an ecumenical vision around inclusiveness. View photos here.

The second event was the 7th Annual Festival of Faith presented by The Interfaith Council of Greater Portland at Trinity Episcopal. See photos at previous post! From their website:  

Our vision is to be a local organization that is part of a global movement of spiritual enlightenment, social justice, and peaceful coexistence. Each of these objectives is governed by highly ethical behavior – every bit as present in our path to the future as in the future itself. Our diversity will be defined by the recognition of our parallel paths borne out of differing beliefs, ceremonies and symbolism yet in a community bound by a common sense of humanity and appreciation for all life. We will be a learning community capable of suspending our disbelief as we listen with a new found wisdom that is continually evolving. We will be part of the celebration of a new world understanding, and the perpetuators of appreciation and hope while it is coming into being.

This year’s Festival of Faith theme was “Voices of Youth,” and included a panel discussion with youth around peace, music, dance, interactive art exhibits, and information from all religious traditions. If our youth can envision peace, there is indeed hope. It was a joy not only to show my artwork but to facilitate a community nature mandala as shown here in the photos. I deeply appreciated everyone who shared their stories, their hearts, with me. When words fail us, art is a bridge where we discover our “common sense of humanity.” 


It doesn’t have to be
the blue iris, it could be
weeds in a vacant lot, or a few
small stones; just
pay attention, then patch
a few words together and don’t try
to make them elaborate, this isn’t
a contest but the doorway
into thanks, and a silence in which
another voice may speak.
-Mary Oliver

So, at the close of this election season, I vote for art. For beauty. For the earth. For dialogue. I elect to continue serving the healing of our world. Together, we have the power. We have a voice as we witnessed through the act of casting a vote and we each have all the creativity within us to make a difference every day. What does that look like for you? What are you voting for?
For love of the EARTH!       

Festival of Faith: Voices of Youth

Facilitating an interactive nature mandala
Gathering together, we honor all faith traditions.

“Lovers of Creation” and video at the Sacred Art Studio station.

Our youth. Adding their voice for peace, unity, oneness.

Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Indigenous, or Humanist, we add our prayers for peace and healing for the earth to the mandala.


The completed mandala.

Dismantling the mandala. A meditation on impermanence from the Buddhist tradition.

The mandala is gathered up and later offered to the Willamette River to send our prayers to all directions.

I was honored to be part of the 7th Annual Festival of Faith at Trinity Episcopal in NW Portland on October 28th. This year the theme was “Voices of Youth.” If our youth can envision peace, there is hope.