A Lot of Gratitude and a Little Poetry

Deer in the woods
A path in the woods with snow and autumn leaves on the ground. A deer is in the distance. Image courtesy of Rachael Keefe.

Thank you for your generosity! This week of solitary retreat is wonderful.


First, thank you all for your generous gift for Pastor Appreciation Month. I love that Living Table is embracing this relatively new thing, not because I benefit so much as it counteracts some of the intent of its founders. When a church like Living Table can make something joyful out of what Focus on the Family started, my hope for the future of the church increases.

Second, thank you for this time away. I am camping at Frontenac State Park this week. It’s a bit colder than I anticipated. However, I’ve been able to hike, rest, paint, and write. I could not ask for a better place for this solitary retreat. (I’ve seen only two other people since Monday.)

Third, here is the poetry to describe my experience of camping here in the snow.

Unexpected Winter

The wind sings of winter today
churning the lake into waves
rivaling ocean tides
while the prairie grasses
echo with lyrics of snow.
Autumn leaves dance intricate
patterns across the fallen snow
skittering across the tracks of deer,
fox, and rabbits who ventured
out between dark and dawn,
hours before I discovered
winter’s early arrival.
This mix of seasons surprises me
with stark beauty
maple trees suddenly dropped their leaves
as if startled by the early snow
russet gowns pooling over their roots.
Golden oak and yellow aspen line my path,
a mosaic tribute to some forgotten god.

About Rachael Keefe

Rev. Dr. Rachael Keefe is the pastor of Living Table United Church of Christ. She was called to Living Table in 2015 after serving in many varied ministry settings since her ordination in 1992. She holds graduate degrees from Princeton Theological Seminary and Andover Newton Seminary at Yale (formerly Andover Newton Theological School). Her ministry and leadership often center around advocacy and accessibility. Her writing has been published by Chalice Press, The Christian Century, Red Letter Christians, Working Preacher, RevGalBlogPals, and others. She is grateful to be in ministry with Living Table today.

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9 thoughts on “A Lot of Gratitude and a Little Poetry”

  1. I’m grateful for all you bring to our community and the world. And that you do a great job with self-care and rejuvenation.

    We are blessed!

  2. Your rest & rejuvenation is actually a gift to us also. Self-care often goes missing in our daily lives. Giving you time for this is a no-brainer!
    Enjoy, stay warm and thanks for the beautiful poetry.


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