May 29, 2022
Thank you, God, for these massive maple trees
Surrounding with shade in ninety some odd degrees.
Open windows offer delight of an ever~ so~ slight breeze
Carrying a sweet scent of lilacs, one of God's specialties.
Branches swaying gracefully to and fro with ease.
It's too early for air conditioning, no need to freeze.
Reflecting with gratitude many childhood memories...
Growing up before homes had noisy a/cs.
During summers of the nineteen fifties and sixties,
About the only place "air cooled" was at the movies.
Children played outdoors for hours in dusty dungarees,
Exploring and discovering nature on hands and knees.
Oak trees held swings and club houses without keys.
Neighbors sat out on back stoops snapping peas
And gathered on porches for pinochle parties,
Chatting in person, before texts and selfies.
Evenings spent watching sunsets, before big screen TVs,
With glowing lightning bugs and stars and God's mysteries.
May Day wallpaper cones held violets and posies,
School books covered with paper bags from groceries,
Milk delivered in glass bottles, notes in recycled empties.
Cardboard fans in pews kept away flies and fleas.
Lawns mowed by hand, blades whooshed in harmonies.
Watches wound by hand without batteries.
Flowering green hedges neatly edging properties
Long before tall fences made of plastics and PVCs.
Laundry hung outdoors smelling fresh as daisies.
On kitchen counters were oranges and lemons to squeeze
For cool beverages, no packaging, deposits or fees.
Snacks of freshly picked tomatoes and red raspberries.
What remains the same? Violence and wars and travesties,
Nuclear bombs and missiles and torn up treaties.
Racism and trafficking and economic inequalities,
Brutality by bullies and gender inequities,
Deportation, migration and mistreated refugees,
Persons wrongly incarcerated and death penalties.
What else remains the same? God's tender mercies
Woven through all across mountains, valleys and seas.
Easter's new life in Christ with forgiveness that frees,
Whispers of the Holy Spirit to guide gently and appease.
Each spring, perennials rise up in colorful sprees,
Whippoorwills and cardinals sing joyful jubilees.
Pope Francis shared heartfelt Laudato Si' decrees:
Everything is connected in God's loving energies.
As Sisters of St. Francis lead, grow native prairies,
Plant pollinators for birds and butterflies and bees.
Learn to care for creation and each other, please.
May peace prevail on earth in all societies.
Lanie Lass serves as archivist, associate, and member of the Laudato Si' Planning Group of the Sisters of St. Francis, Clinton, Iowa. She spent seven summers as a camp counselor living simply in a tent in the woods and sleeping out under the stars and enjoyed sharing the beauty of creation with campers. Lanie is a member of the Justice and Peace Commission and Evangelization Commission at Jesus Christ, Prince of Peace Catholic Church, and volunteers with community organizations in Clinton.