A nice, quiet Monday morning. The sun woke me up earlier than I would have liked, but that happens in the summer. But it is a nice, slow awakening as the sunshine slowly creeps in. The wind is blowing, so it is chilly to be outside. I’ve been watching my new bird feeder I set up in the front yard. I have attracted some American goldfinch. They have not visited my feeders before so that is a treat. It is amazing, even the little bit I feed the birds, how fussy they are and won’t come unless the food and conditions are just right. Currently the starlings are chasing the smaller birds away but after awhile a new wave will come through.
It is definitely Spring. My tulips I planted last fall are all up, but the colder weather hasn’t cooperated in giving them some help. They look a little worn out, but they are trying. My iris and daffodils are still struggling, but it will happen. I love the lime green of the trees as they get their new foliage. As I was traveling last week in Minnesota and South Dakota the prairies were so green and pretty. I saw lots of new calves and antelope babies throughout the countryside. And deer, oh, my, yes!
Last week-end I traveled with a group of ladies, young and older, to Broadus for a women’s church gathering. We had perfect weather. No wind—-. Sunshine and high spirits. It was such fun to travel with a couple gals in their late 30s. We who are older can really learn from their world and how they see the things to which we have grown oblivious. I couldn’t have been more delighted with my traveling companions that day.
I am winding down on my work at Savage. Since starting in Baker the end of October I have been once again immersed in the life of the church. It is such good work with people who are compassionate and who care deeply about the world in which they live. I just find my energy level has shifted down and I am ready to return to retirement and the occasional pulpit supply. It was a challenge, occasionally an adventure, and a joy to immerse myself in the Word of God on a regular basis.
Small town living is something else which focuses my attention on many and various issues and concerns. Early in the year the State legislature decided to cut back on funding for our little community college perhaps leading to closing it and combining it with another community college. It was a blow and many folks stepped up to the plate to travel to Helena, write letters and speak on behalf of this institution which has served our community since the 1940s. Both Greg and I took a year of junior college before we headed out to a four-year school. That issue is not settled yet even though the legislature has ended. We don’t get a lot of support from Western Montana. They are very parochial and don’t travel our direction very often and think about our needs even less. Geography does make a difference.
(Had to go out and chase the squirrel away from one of the bird feeders. We have this meeting on a daily basis. I yell at him. He runs through the fence to the yard next door and then after I am gone he comes back! He has me well-trained.) Then the Burlington Northern Santa Fe laid off 55 workers from the roundhouse. One of the spokesmen said it was the downturn in oil and coal production in this area. Someone here said Warren Buffet, who owns the company, is tired of playing with his trains. I think we sense the despair something like this sends through the community — school population funding, mill levies for schools, price of homes and just the general attitude of folks wondering what could possibly happen next. It reminds me of some of the stories we hear from the places where car manufacturing plants closed and closed steel mills and coal mines are part of the picture in the lives of folks. It is a difficult place to be. Those still in the wage-earning years find it particularly hard. A person begins to realize how very little control we have over anything in our lives.
So life continues and one learns it is the small things that make up our lives — the little acts of kindness that come are way or the things we can do to improve the life on our neighbor. God is good, all the time and certainly God’s grace is enough.