reflectionFrom the UUMA Board

"In literature it is only the wild that attracts us. Dullness is but another name for tameness. It is the uncivilized free and wild thinking in Hamlet and the Iliad, in all the scriptures and mythologies, not learned in the schools, that delights us. As the wild duck is more s
wift and beautiful than the tame, so is the wild-the mallard-thought, which 'mid falling dews wings its way above the fens. A truly good book is something as natural, and as unexpectedly and
unaccountably fair and perfect, as a wild-flower discovered on the prairies of the West or in the jungles of the East."
--Henry David Thoreau, from his essay, "Walking"
 
Fitfully, and seemingly with great reticence (hail, for crying out loud!) spring is finally arriving at my home here in New England. It has been an odd winter, though perhaps we are consigned to have only odd winters from now on. Yet, though it was odd, it was still winter, nonetheless. Winter is the quiet time of the natural world - not because it is without sound or activity, but because it offers consistently less of each than any other season. But now, spring. The most vibrant act in the drama of the natural world. The time of wild things, and wild thoughts.
 
It is a good season for adventure, for shaking off the ice-coat of New England's February and March, and venturing back out into the world again. These are the days when I spy from my window my next-door-neighbor - an avid fisherman - readying his boat and hooking it up to his truck for one of the first outings of the season. It is rainy and dreary and cold still - yet, it is time. Now is the moment that calls him to return to communion with the wilderness.
 
The printed word is sometimes presented as the opposite of the wild realm, it being the basis for so much of human civilization: the building of roads, the construction of cities, the taming and constraint of the natural world. But our Unitarian ancestor, Henry David Thoreau, argues instead that books have the same range that animals do - from thoroughly domestic to utterly unbound. The great commotion of spring calls us to venture into the wilderness a bit, whether that means traversing forests and mountains and rivers, or wandering the unmarked paths of stories and ideas written down to challenge and surprise us.
 
Through their words recorded in ink or in sound, authors, philosophers and theologians, people whose ideas and expressions capture our minds and imaginations, mold our lives without needing to meet us or even live in our same era. Pressed to think of it, most of us have some book or song or sermon we encountered somewhere along the way that is crucial to how we live in and understand the world. So we find our stories inextricably tangled up with Chuck D or Hosea Ballou, bell hooks or Jorge Louis Borges. They do not know us, and we do not really know them, but some crucial piece of this unknown other has become a crucial piece of ourselves. The wildness of their ideas moving in and amongst our own frees us from the dull passivity of complacent thought.
 
Whether the spring you now are entering is one of the natural world or of the heart and mind - or both - dear colleagues, I wish for you wild-flowers on the landscapes of your homes, and of your hearts.
 
In Faith,
Rev. Kelly Weisman Asprooth-Jackson
UUMA Board Secretary