By Rev. Carol Bodeau
This week, we celebrated our annual Blessing of the Animals. What a fun service! Westsiders brought dogs of all ages, along with photos and stories of so many other beloved companion creatures. Yes, the usual cats and Guinea Pigs were represented. But so were Conures and Sugar Gliders! I have never even heard of Sugar Gliders, but they are adorable! It was such a joy to be outdoors in the lovely autumn weather, meeting some of our furry friends and sharing how much they mean to us.
We also acknowledged the many creatures who inhabit our larger Westside ‘homeland’—the 5 acres that make up our property. There, we see an incredible range of creatures: Great Blue Herons, Red Shouldered Hawks, frogs, salamanders, snakes, songbirds of all sorts, deer, and I’ve even seen a fox on the property. Not to mention all the amazing insects, trees and smaller plants that are part of our little Westside ecosystem. We are truly blessed to have such incredible diversity in our care right outside our congregational door.
Whenever we are together, we can look out our windows and see all of nature. And we can be reminded of two things: First, the incredible gift that is this delicate and fragile, yet strong and resilient world we inhabit with so many other beings. And, second, the ever-present responsibility we have to care for it. We do this not just by taking necessary actions to protect our environment, but maybe even more importantly by noticing that we are always immersed in nature.
As the fall ‘leaf-peeper’ tourist season gets underway, let’s remember that nature isn’t something we visit or cultivate. It is the very air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat, the sounds and smells that greet us when we are walking to the car. Even the insects and other creatures that make us say “ewwww!” play essential roles in our ecosystem. Let’s give thanks for the incredible interdependent web of life, of which we are but one very small but very influential part.
Happy Autumn, everyone.