July, Backyard Holes and the Mystery of Matter


One morning I watched Groundhog lumber along the back fence, and I was curious to learn the destination when suddenly Groundhog disappeared, entering a hole in a wooden slab that had been the floor of a shed in years gone by. I had to imagine the homey burrow underneath and how far it stretched underground. A couple days later Skunk appeared, waddling along the same route, only to disappear in the same place. Soon carpenter ants and chipmunks joined the ranks of hole diggers, creating an abundance of entrances to the

underground all around the yard!


Although not enthused about some of these inhabitants, they did bring to mind a significant shift in perspective I recently encountered during retreat. The presenters challenged us to consider transcendence as a reality found deep within in addition to far out, above or beyond. I felt that these digging beings who love the ground had a message for me, especially during our time of ecological crisis and shifting images of the Divine.

climb into it, seek its core.


Author John Philip Newell, in his book A New Harmony: The Spirit, the Earth, and the Human Soul, joins this perspective by using church spires pointing up to God to share his thinking. He says, “But as long as we allow our spires to give the impression that God is primarily above and beyond the earth, in opposition to what is deepest in creation and in the body of the human mystery, then our spires are going to crumble.” I had to recall the holes Groundhog and friends created in the yard when he called for symbols that point to the within-ness of God. He says, “We need vessels that hold the holy rather than simply pointing away to the Holy. These vessels he says, remind us that the deeper we move into the mystery of matter, the closer we come to the One from whom all things are born…The One who is beyond us is at the same time the very Ground of our being.”


May all beings that burrow, dig, den, and tunnel remind us of the Ground of Being and our own share in the sacred mystery of matter. During July, sink into Being! Photo by Sister Maxine



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