Tuesday, February 20 2018

This ancient snapping turtle (Chelydra Serpentina) roams the deep Algonquin waters of Papineau Lake, near Mattawa, Ontario.  The official status of snappers is that of “Special Concern” which means the species lives in the wild in Ontario, is not endangered or threatened, but may become so due to a combination of biological characteristics and identified threats, including human beings.

There is a reason we added this vow to the Baptism liturgy in 2013, taken from the fifth Mark of Mission:  “Will you strive to safeguard the integrity of God’s creation, and respect, sustain and renew the life of the Earth?” “I will, with God’s help.”

Disinterested generally in the activities of human beings, the character who posed for the photograph was less than impressed by our excitement at her presence.  I named her, Sophia, Wisdom (though she could just as easily be a he, I didn’t get that close!), in honour of our understanding of Wisdom as ageless and holy.  In the New Testament, Wisdom is incarnate in Christ… “the power and the wisdom of God” 1 Corinthians 1:24. But She is also embraced within Christian spirituality as the feminine Breath of God,  creator, teacher, truth teller, comforter and joy giver.

“Who comes from God, as Word and Breath? Holy Wisdom.
Who holds the keys of life and death? Mighty Wisdom:
Crafter and Creator too, eldest, she make all things new; she completes what God would do.
Wisest one, radiant one, welcome holy Wisdom!”
Who Comes from God by Patrick Michaels (#392 Common Praise)

Recipe: Winter, or Summer, Couscous Salad Serve cold or at room temperature as a salad or side dish, or warm it as a protein-rich carb or main course paired with a green salad. Travels and keeps beautifully, even at the Lake! 

½ cup of cooked couscous(any kind)
½ can of chickpeas(or buy dried chickpeas, soak them and simmer until soft)
1/2 onion, chopped or green onions
1 Tablespoon(more or less) of curry powder

Sliced or slivered almonds, if desired(toast lightly, stirring gently, in a non-stick frying pan; don’t move away from the stove while doing this or you’ll have burnt almonds!) It’s worth the effort but add just before serving or they will get soggy.

Add a little olive oil to a small pan, add the curry powder and cook gently for a couple of minutes(this ‘softens’ the curry sharpness); add the onion and then the chickpeas; add mixture to the couscous with the following: chopped red pepper; a handful of dried cranberries; parsley, basil, chives, salt, pepper to taste; stir; add a few tablespoons of prepared vinaigrette or make your own with 2 Tablespoons olive oil and 1 Tablespoon of lemon juice; top with almonds.