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Questions of Practice

Old wire hangers have been cut into pieces and driven through tennis balls.  Next the tennis balls have been painted red.  They dry now on a temporary string across the workbench – 20 in the row.

row of apple maggot traps

row of apple maggot traps

Tanglefoot will be applied to each ball and then they will be hung in the apple trees to trap the pesky Apple Maggot before she lays her eggs and ruins the fruit.  I wonder if this trap also works for coddling moth?

It was a good meditation practice for such a beautiful day.   I hummed a tune or two and thought of how many times, how many years I have enjoyed this practice.   Earlier this year than most, I paint; it is cold today but the sun is shining through and allowing the crocus recovery from the rain.

We have hard pruned the trees ourselves.  Hundred year old tree is our study to see if we can figure out a start from the roots.   We are not going to have the trees certified organic, nor have the geranium oil sprayed on by the professionals.  We did not drive the cylinders down into the ground to fertilize. We will do the minimum as our neighbors do nothing and playing defensive positions is not an affordable option.   We will take what comes.

On such a high holy day, as decreed by old men, this practice did not seem enough. This day is ASH Wednesday.  I want to do a 40 day practice of something that simplifies my life and enhances me.  I have not figured out what my practice will be; after a moments panic I believe it will come to me what to do.

For right now I will make bread – my bread, not the Gluten Free bread I make weekly for my family –  Whole wheat and full of seeds and honey.

flax seed whole wheat bread

flax seed whole wheat bread

There is still a great deal of moisture in the air so instead of oven spring I got a dip in the middle – about 2 tablespoons too much water.

It felt good to get my hands kneading and the flow of the mix and rise moving towards the smell of the baking.  This was a good meditation for today, but I am not going to make bread for 40 days as a practice.  What to do?

I said this little prayer:
Be gentle when you touch bread.
Let it not lie, uncared for,
So often bread is taken for granted.
There is such beauty in bread –
Beauty of surf and soil,
Beauty of patient toil.
Wind and rain have caressed it,
Christ often blessed it.
Be gentle when you touch bread.
Celtic Prayer

Should I eat bread for 40 days?  Or fast? Or cook? Or Clean?
I am doing my meditations 2 times a day and eating healing foods.  I write in my journal and read.
Maybe I should just be happy?   Content?   Do nothing?

The moon sliver is rising through the still bare tree limbs – I think smile

Time to go and eat bread and applesauce with my soupy warm supper.

Any suggestions about spiritual practice and hearing the divine?

Some other readings you might enjoy:
6 Apples in Heaven
Food as a Spiritual Practice
How Do You Practice

22 Responses to “Questions of Practice”

  1. Hilary Says:

    Hi Patricia .. I love the idea for the tennis bals – I’ve never heard of that before – I wonder if it does help the coddling moth.

    Good for you working on ways to improve your life – you seem to do an awful lot already! Go well – Hilary
    .-= Hilary´s last blog ..Collop Monday , Shrove Tuesday, Amazing Grace and Ash Crosses =-.

  2. Barb Hartsook Says:

    Hi Patricia — I so enjoyed reading this page from your day.

    About the tennis balls — when I read you had wetted them and they are drying, I felt their heavy sogginess and thought how ruined they were for play. Ha! (I used to play a lot of tennis!. And hated it when one landed in a puddle of wet!) But I love the idea of hanging them as apples to deflect maggots of any sort! (We also have dwarf apple trees and may use this idea.)

    I love the prayer! Bread symbolizes all that is nourishing to our growth and health. Hence, take care how you ‘touch’ it.

    My spiritual practice and hearing the divine? I love the old hymn ‘I Come to the Garden Alone.’ It’s my quiet time to just listen and absorb my portion of daily bread.

    Wonderful post, Patricia! Thank you for it.
    .-= Barb Hartsook´s last blog ..How to Paint a Portrait from a Casual Snapshot – A Tutorial =-.

  3. Dot Says:

    I didh’t know you were Catholic. I have given up on spirituality since my dogs died. It just doesn’t give me the comfort I needed. So I’ll make a humorous suggestion instead — hair shirt for 40 days. 😉
    .-= Dot´s last blog ..Comment on 8 Websites to Defeat Writer’s Block by Hilary =-.

  4. Mark Says:

    I love your prayer and your practice. Sounds to me like all is going very well spiritually. Maybe the next 40 days is a time to practice “being” and rising your awareness another degree. What could you do to do that? What is an area that you would like to increase your level of awareness in?
    .-= Mark´s last blog ..Be The Leader Of Your Band =-.

  5. Mark Says:

    BTW – thanks for the recommendation and the link.
    .-= Mark´s last blog ..Be The Leader Of Your Band =-.

  6. Talon Says:

    Patricia, at first I thought you were making some kind of super-sized garland – lol!

    Your bread looks soooo yummy!

    The Celtic Prayer was lovely. Thanks for sharing.
    .-= Talon´s last blog ..Detached… =-.

  7. J.D. Meier Says:

    Be happy? Do nothing?

    I say do what makes you happy … happy is a process :)
    .-= J.D. Meier´s last blog ..Sites I Follow for Insight and Inspiration =-.

  8. Patricia Says:

    I am hoping it will work on the C. moth too, it is the best I can do right now. With no help the yard is taking up hours of my time, it is good, but it has also been very rainy so I have to put on all that gear and allow more time. I was thinking about an hour of doing nothing…but I would rather be out educating and being a community organizer….ah me!

    We have so many tennis balls which are heavy because of our wet weather! because my daughters were on the tennis team and I had to purchase them by the case. When we had dogs they also benefited :) I am glad you have a practice and thank you for sharing. I am glad you like this post.

    No I am not Catholic….and did not grow up Catholic. Scottish Presbyterian rigors and United Church of Canada – One of my Grandmother’s was Jewish….I joined the Congregational Church in my youth and then switched to the United Church of Christ – more socially active in their faith in Graduate School. The group I belong to now is Interfaith and Exploring. I study them all…and truly do not participate in any religion at the present time. I just practice that which serves to help me be a more complete person – whole, but I find I need a daily practice and to set aside some time for more of a purposeful time – so I chose the 40 days of Lent as my desert experience of practice…Hair shirt WOW that is a great and fun suggestion!

    I was wondering on my walk this morning if I could just “be” I am such a doer. I have such trouble being inactive…I thought I might succeed if I added an adjective…such has ” be happy”…
    You are welcome for the referral. Thank you for you suggestion.

    It was a pleasure to share this – I wish I could have shared the smell of the bread…and it tastes better than it looks!

    This morning I am thinking about just putting happy as the adjective in front of each practice I am doing already and say it out loud….Happy journaling, happy meditation, happy eating.
    Thanks for your good comments.

  9. vered | blogger for hire Says:

    You know so much about bread. Your bread looks great – I’m sure it smells amazing while it is baking.
    .-= vered | blogger for hire´s last blog ..Spring =-.

  10. Patricia Says:

    Hi Vered,
    This load was not a pretty as some I have made, but I wanted to make a yeast bread first in this season. It is yummy yummy – I hope the traps will make the apples not so yummy :)

  11. Patricia Says:

    Lovely post today and pictures…another beauty

  12. Dot Says:

    I thought you had mentioned being Jewish, which is why I was a bit surprised about Lent. Now i see that the story’s much more complex. I grew up surrounded by Catholics, but we were unpracticing Protestants.

  13. Patricia Says:

    Yes I think my spiritual journey has been a complex experience, I just practice those things that assist me now in my connections to the Divine. I enjoy yoga and Sufi Dances (aka Dances of Universal peace) as my group practices right now.

  14. Davina Says:

    What a difference 2 tbsp of water makes eh Patricia? Unbelievable.

    “The moon sliver is rising through the still bare tree limbs…” say more about that :-)
    .-= Davina´s last blog ..Life Coach for the Knobs =-.

  15. Chris Edgar Says:

    Hi Patricia — the dip in the middle gave it a homemade charm for me — I knew that wasn’t a store-bought loaf the moment I saw it. I think the bread also looks delicious. You can tell I’m hungry. :)

  16. Kay Lilland Says:

    40 days will be the right amount of time for pondering each of Lynn Toler’s (from Divorce Court) 43 Rules for becoming an emotional genius.

    Rule #1 The Smith and Wesson Test. Thinking “I can’t?” If someone put a gun to my head, would I be able to do it?”

    Rule #2 Work on emotions like a job. Practice. Do the right thing when it feels all wrong. (In AA, it is said Fake it till you make it.)


  17. Jannie Funster Says:

    That Celtic prayer is just so beautiful. I read it three times through. There is such beauty and life in bread, yes. Sometimes to have nothing but 2 slices of bread for my lunch. Bread and water, literally. And I feel so blessed.

    Blessing to you and your much-beloved tree. I send prayers and hope for the best always.

    (I thought the above red balls were Christmas ornaments until I read what you said about them, and noticed the unmistakable tennis ball lines on them too. )

    P.S. I have given up pastry for Lent. (But not beer.)


  18. Patricia Says:

    I am just attempting to be in the moment with the moon comment and say it is now dark and late and I need to go eat my supper! It is like a cup to fill up.
    I thought since the day was sunny I would need more water…but we were still in recovery from so much heavy rain…the bread did not! I was not focused enough to feel it with my hands.

    Nearly every week for 32 years I have made Gluten Free Bread for my family. I used to have a mill to grind the hard wheat I got from Canada. Sometimes with GF bread you work all day and end up with a brick….They now have kits which are almost no fail.
    Since I am the only one who eats wheat at home, I just make whole wheat or seed bread for the pure joy of it now…I love kneading it. Oh the smell made me very hungry :)

    I think working on emotions is crucial work and I have written about it several times. I am very anti guns so I shiver at the Smith and Wesson test.. Thanks for your comments.

    I just love that prayer. I learned it from the Grandmother who took care of me every Friday morning so my mum could have some time for herself and grocery shop alone. She made bread and cinnamon rolls every Friday morning for her family.
    Will you have a withdrawal from the donuts?????Glad you are keeping the beer…both would have been too much !!

  19. Barbara Swafford Says:

    Hi Patricia,

    I thought the red balls were Christmas ornaments, too.

    Your bread does delicious. It made me want to get my hands into some dough and knead away my cares.

    I remember my Grandmother saying she liked making bread because in the process of kneading, she could get rid of her frustrations.

    For 40 days? Just be. :)
    .-= Barbara Swafford´s last blog ..Say It Ain’t So =-.

  20. Patricia Says:

    Hi Barbara,
    Thank you for dropping by – yep kneading bread is very relaxing for me – along with chewing!
    It started raining today after a week of precious sunshine…and the computer is not working correctly. I decided to journal off line and just read a wonderful book….feels great to just be in the moment. I might just go nuts trying to just be for 40 days…and maybe that is the best message?
    .-= Patricia´s last blog ..Questions of Practice =-.

  21. Tony Single Says:

    That Celtic Prayer is so beautiful to me. And I couldn’t agree more: “Be gentle when you touch bread.” A person’s soul is like that… needing to be gently kneaded, not roughly handled.

    It’s good to be back here. Thanks for having me. :)
    .-= Tony Single´s last blog ..The Other Man =-.

  22. patricia Says:

    Tony Single,
    So very nice to be back in touch and yes one must be gentle with bread and practice.