Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Is it really Ash Wednesday already?

I've been away from a computer for four days, at the annual meeting of the Living Stones partnership, this year in Spokane. And now suddenly it is Ash Wednesday.

Around the edges of intense conversations about local ministry development there was opportunity for some conversations about food. I'm sure people get tired of me when they sit with me for a meal, since I am capable of offering commentary and reviews on several levels about the food at hand.

I was struck by the responsiveness of the hotel where we met to the various dietary patterns, restrictions and allergies of those who were there. But I was also struck by all the out of season fruit those of us who don't eat meat were offered - and how flat it tasted. I would have been quite happy with the apples which grow in abundance nearby, many varieties of which keep into winter quite well.

I picked up some thoughts and tips on resources about food security in Canada, which I'll follow up on and share later. On the other hand, sometimes you have to go to a distant meeting to learn things closer to home, and one of the joys of this trip was learning more about the composting, gardening and cooking adventures of John Vafis, from Colusa in my own diocese. And we all had some time with Sisters Catherine Grace and Helena Mary, Community of the Holy Spirit, whose activities and spirituality are so inspiring.

A learning that was reaffirmed: the development of agriculture 10,000+ years ago is one of the things that drew humanity away from the rest of creation; but it is also through our experiences of food that anyone can return to an intimacy with earth, can reconnect with the rest of life.

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