Soundings

We at Mercy by the Sea have so much we want to share with you:

  • Inspiring and transformational quotes, prayers, poems, videos and books we discover or rediscover
  • Conversations with upcoming  presenters
  • Resources and thoughts on contemplative prayer, spiritual direction, the second half of life, emerging leadership, creativity, our relationship with nature and much more!

You'll find seasonal photos of the grounds — vegetation, trees and winged and four-legged creatures that make their homes here.  We'll capture changes in the light and colors as the seasons change.  So bookmark this page and come back regularly.  Or subscribe to receive an email each time a new blog posts. Just scroll down and type your email address in the field provided then click the SIGN UP button. 

Soil and Spirit: Indigenous Plants and People

I always loved “Columbus Day” Weekend. Most importantly, it was a day off from school. Most predictably, it was usually a glorious fall day. It was warm enough to still play outside without a jacket. Flaunting her freedom, nature, my co-conspirator, was dressed in a bold array of fall colors. Equally pleasing were all the additional flavors and sights of the season; cider, donuts, mums, and pumpkins. These days, I only enjoy the pumpkins. Cider and donuts are too many calories and mums I’ve come to learn are not particularly authentic. Similar to changing Columbus Day to Indigenous People’s Day, I’ve likewise given up chrysanthemums that are from East Asia in exchange for New England Asters. Choosing to only plant natives, I now have a favorite new fall color...deep purple.

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By Jean Golicz, Master Gardener and Board of Trustee Member  | 

Soil and Spirit: Planting fall bulbs upside down and still growing right side up

I have been thinking a lot about death. How could I not with Covid-19 fatalities reported every day. On a personal level, I have lost my father-in-law as well as a friend over the past 6 months. Quietly and privately, we returned their bodily remains to the earth. Despite the complexity of grief during a pandemic, I still feel hopeful as a gardener. During a time of year when the grass is less vibrant and the colors are muted, I continue to see new life. The ritual of planting spring bulbs reminds me that plants have a remarkable ability to grow towards the light. My newly repotted plants that have been brought indoors for the colder months now stretch towards the window to get sunshine. If I mistakenly place one of my tulip bulbs upside down, it will still grow. This orientation towards the light is called phototropism.  Bulbs can even move through the soil.  Several bulbs, like crocus and tulips, have contractile roots which pull a bulb slowly to the most favorable depth in the soil.

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By Jean Golicz, Master Gardener and Board of Trustee Member  | 

The Gift of the Mask

The mask is not what we want, it’s uncomfortable, hot, inhibits seeing the face of another, etc. Yet after directing a retreat with retreatant and directee wearing masks and socially distancing, I had an Aha! moment. 

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By Sue Wieczynski, RSM, Retreat and Spiritual Director  |