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Annie Turner

Annie Turner
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Monday, August 16, 2010

MARY FLIES SOUTH--OR SOMETHING

The Assumption of Mary strikes in the middle of August and near the end of the summer. As a convert, I've never had the rich experience of May being Mary's month, or of August being the celebration of her bodily assumption into heaven. Whatever we conceive that place to be. My daughter thinks it might well be like Target with better lighting. My grown son isn't sure, but thinks it might entail some really superior drumming. I can barely imagine heaven but am comfortable with this mystery.
It strikes me that putting Mary's Assumption in the middle of what is essentially the last month of summer was a wise and possibly unintended decision. Just look around you. Gardens are being taken over by exuberant zucchini plants, probing through fences, spilling over the beds in a way that makes a mockery of ordinary fertility. As you drive down the road either heading towards your vacation spot or returning from it, there are spots of orange like butterfly wings on the maple trees above. When I sit on our deck overlooking the lush but dry hills of Western Massachusetts, the sky is filled with diving barn swallows, inscribing sharp patterns on the clouds. It looks as if their wings will cut open the clouds to reveal something hidden. Like Mary, on her way to heaven.
What are we to make of this end of summer, this winding-up of a season, all tangled up with our mother Mary on a zip-line to heaven? I think it says to us--slow down, take a breath, look at the astounding beauty about you. Suck it in. Store it up, for the cold months are coming--the months with sky bare of swooping birds with their chittering cries falling like confetti on our outstretched hands.
Take a breath and see if you can catch sight of Mary as she flies by, carrying with her our hopes, our prayers, and our strong conviction that no matter what the ordinary days hold, no matter the disappointments and downright hardships, Mary has been there first. She knows. She's got your number. And she's holding in her hand right now as she ascends.