I’m writing this on the morning of my 71st Birthday. It’s a little unconventional, I admit. Most people take the day off from work on their birthday, if they have the power to do so. And you have granted me that  power. But these are unconventional times. And writing this monthly letter to you isn’t conventional work.

This letter is usually an invitation for you to reflect on who and where we are together as minister and congregation. Time for that is kind of  gift, so here it is: a gift for myself and you to celebrate the day that was (by the time you see this) my birthday. I would send along cake too but that (by the time you see this) will be gone. My best gift today was that Michele is far enough along in her recovery from knee replacement surgery to make the cake!

Today began as usual with Pan’s morning walk. Although the meadows   remain snow-covered, we are already so far past the Winter Solstice that the Sun has been rising this week over the          Middlebury Gap instead of Moosalamoo Mountain. It’s well up in the sky by the time Pan and I get outside around 7:30 am. But today, a dark gray bank of clouds has appropriated the Eastern horizon. As we look toward that ominous wall, the already risen Sun is just beginning to pierce it’s upper regions. I pause to enjoy the spectacle of this second version of sunrise.

Maybe this is where we are, I thought to myself. The bright day we look forward to is the return to worship and other activities together in our Sanctuary. It can be delayed by clouds of lingering pandemic and so much else we humans do to ourselves individually and collectively. But the Earth will keep turning toward brighter days and we are welcome to join in the ride. There is beauty to be found already in the possibilities we can foresee and joy in our opportunities to explore them.

Meanwhile, let’s follow the lead of our dogs. Day after day, they  insist there is so much to look forward to that we need to get outside of our fears and directly into the flow of Life right now!

Blessed be, Rev. Barnaby