In the past few weeks, the garden started giving up the host. Blistering heat, a rich crop, the passage of time, all conspired so now the plants have officially declared, “I. am. so. over. it.” Yesterday I prepared what I suspect will be my last batch of peach jam. When I get up, and for the first few hours each morning, there is a dryness my skin now recognizes, a tiny tinge of coolness that announces there will soon be a new season. I am 11 days into what feels like “in the meantime”—no longer working for ECF, aware of the contours of what life will now look like, lingering and savoring these days while the lines are still blurred in the hot summer haze.
The chickens continue to be their delightful selves. There is a definite ‘flock mentality’ amongst them so now that one has discovered the pleasures of perching on my shoulder, everyone wants to follow suit. The first time that happened, I had an eye-blink glimpse of Hitchcock’s The Birds. I am a little more assertive and everyone has to take turns and play nice if they want to hang out on me.
In a year when I found myself revisiting the training and development work I had done at FedEx so many years ago through ECF, I am now involved in a project that digs even deeper into my past. One of the places in which my friend Joe Duggan and I have found common ground has been around a keen awareness of structures of power and how they play out in the Church. Joe is the founder of a group called Postcolonial Networks. The work of PN helps me understand much about the experiences that shaped my life as a Colombian woman. I had wanted to find a way to collaborate with them and have now started a translation project for them. Way back, at the very beginning of my career and vocational life in this country, I worked as a translator, even got certified by the American Translator’s Association.
I am loving being back in that groove, if only temporarily. The content of the book is intellectually stimulating and rich, especially in the way it engages liberation theology. Moving back and forth between the two languages over a few hours each day challenges and stretches some “mind muscle” I hadn’t used for a while. It isn’t enough to simply provide a word for word, accurate translation. You have to breathe life into the words you use to make a text in one language available to another. Elsewhere in this blog, I have talked about the theological notion of disponibilité proposed by Gabriel Marcel, a French, 20th century theologian. When I am translating, especially when I am translating something I am really interested in, I find that I have to “make myself available”, or really “give myself over” first to one and then to the other language—and all the rest of what it means to be fluent in each language. A phrase may spark a memory or conjure up a time and place from the very different worlds I have been so blessed to inhabit. The way a concept was presented may deepen my appreciation for a word or notion in Spanish. It is draining and joyful work–just marvelously rich.
All the while, I continue to preach almost every week, either at the Ascension or St. Paul’s, I have done everything from a funeral to several pastoral visits to premarital counseling and am now in the middle of finalizing the plans and preparations to lead a half-day retreat in a couple of weeks. And because indeed, time passes, today, I will make my first batch of pear cardamom jam. Pears are all about the coming Autumn with its different light and shade. I am ready…