Wonder of All Wonders: Paying Attention As Spiritual Practice

Charlotte Matthews is author of three full length collections: Still Enough to Be Dreaming, Green Stars, and Whistle What Can’t Be Said. Her honors include fellowships from The Chautauqua Institute, The Virginia Foundation for the Humanities and The Virginia Center for Creative Arts. She holds an M.F.A from Warren Wilson College’s Program for Writers and a B.A. from the University of Virginia. She is Associate Professor in The Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies Program at The University of Virginia. She lives in Crozet, Virginia with her husband, two teenage children and a black lab named Linus.

She will visit Chapel in the Pines on Sunday afternoon, June 2, at 4:00 p.m.

Epigraph for the talk:

“Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature — the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter.”

We are all living in a condition of extremity. Is the extremity of environmental times we are in unthinkable? We might want to not think about it. But that is not an option. Rachel Carson foretold the dangers of cruelty of humans to the earth. She wrote of the need for opposition to it. And we all know that she did this intrepidly, audaciously in Silent Spring. I will talk about the energy of that writing, about what made her want to write. And those in church will gain hope, will be offered ways in which each of us can adopt a Carson-like devotion. With her we are in the presence of a mind that is sparked, fueled, not by facts and logic, but by something much more mercurial, something as charged and unstable and risky as intuition. I will offer those present some ways to pay attention as a way to access that intuition. There will be silence embedded within the talk. There will be poetry. There will be prayer.  Everyone is welcome