Saturday, May 30, 2009


For the next two weeks this Hudson River Birder, with my brothers John and Dan, will visit Ireland. The main part of the trip will be to visit the family of our maternal grandfather in Mountcharles, Glencough, Co. Donegal in Ireland. In 1991, when I had celebrated the previous year my first 25 years as a Redemptorist priest, I went to visit our Irish relatives. What I most remember on the "natural/spiritual level" was a very spontaneous, free, silly moment in Co. Galway. It was, as it mostly is there in Ireland, a cold, cloudy, windy day. I has asked my cousins to stop by a pasture that was full of an enormous flock of hugely wooly sheep. I then proceeded to "run after the sheep". I am sure that next week my cousin Eileen will delight the family recalling that moment when...."Father Tom oft and ran with the sheep".
Back at Esopus there are no sheep. We just have groundhogs, possums, coyotes, wild turkeys, deer, our new family of American Bald Eagles, and the many birds that are our visitors each spring and our year round residents.
----I am trying to put together a new retreat at The Mount. I am thinking of calling it: "Running with the Sheep--Strengthening our Bond with the Natural World".
I truly, truly believe that most of God's important messages and blessings are right here before us in the Natural World. The other day I was reading Rusty Johnson's most interesting book called "Twilight of the Natural World". Now I, like many aging persons, have memory problems. And so his data on the Clarke's Nutcracker really got my attention. The Clarke's Nutcracker is an inhabitant of the southwest. It feeds on pine cones which it gathers and buries in various spots so as to find them and enjoy them in winter time. This bird has the mental capacity to remember up to 20,000 distinct hiding places!!! I thought, Might not the secret of reducing demential or at least increasing our power of recall be found in the brain chemistry and structure of this humble little bird.
Anyway, during the next few weeks I will have two or three pictures of beautiful places and maybe animals in Ireland. Check in!

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