19 July 2022

Faith Matters – Cootamundra

Article by Brendan Nicholls

Faith Matters – Cootamundra

The weather has been a significant conversation topic at the College over the last two weeks. It has been so cold and wet that many outdoor activities have been impacted. Last week it was so cold that the demand for electricity caused a black out across the entire western half of the state for a few hours! Even though we spend most of our time rugged up indoors avoiding the rain and the cold at the moment, the extreme nature of the weather draws our attention to what is happening outside.

The key to living at this time of the year is to embrace the climatic excitement that is occurring. Grab a coat, beanie, scarf and some gloves and enjoy! If you go out you will notice so much more than you expect. The birds are everywhere. They are industrious and focussed. For most birds this is nesting season. Just as we notice the ‘nice spring’ days the young chicks will be hatching. Native plants are flowering. The Cootamundra wattle is unmissable a cascade of vibrant yellow covers each tree. The Coastal Tea-tree are budding and will soon flower. Everywhere you look nature is celebrating the end of winter and the promise of spring.

Our Indigenous brothers and sisters live by six seasons. We are now in pre-Spring or Guling. Guling is orchid season and it’s a time of change. The days are getting longer and as the name suggests native orchids are beginning to flower. It’s the wettest and coldest season but it is also very short (late July to September). If you head down the coast you will hear the call of koalas as they assert their territory and seek mate. In the farmlands near the Otways the wombats are active again and are often seen in the early morning enjoying the early morning sun.

Creation is truly awe inspiring. There is an eternal pattern of life in nature. We are connected to it even though we have modified the environment and can control the temperature inside of our houses, offices and classrooms nature has a way of gaining our attention. Experiencing nature nourishes us at a deep level. There is nothing more fulfilling than being in nature as it goes on around us. The environment is so vast that we may feel insignificant. Everything goes on according to plan regardless of our presence. Yet we have the ability to change each habitat or region we inhabit significantly – in a negative or positive way.

As you contemplate this call to get out and experience ‘Guling,’ pause for a moment and consider how our Tradition might enhance this encounter. Jesus’ life shows us how important being connected to nature is. He spent much of his life outdoors. This was not unusual for his time but it was in the wilderness where Jesus felt closest to the Father. St Ignatius also found God to be closest on his pilgrimage and in his time of solitude at Manresa. Encountering the world personally and experiencing the natural rhythm that guides nature can also ground and guide us.

Whether it’s wet, windy, cold or sunny, open the door and encounter the world today. Look for the change that is occurring and the way in which nature embraces the coming of Spring. Enjoy the joy the Cootamundra wattle brings. Find God there.

Yours in Christ,

Brendan Nicholls

Liturgy Coordinator