image: “Scars Self-portrait” by Run Jane Fox. Used with permission via Creative Commons.
What happens in this eco-fantasy happens in reality: women stand up for their sanity and autonomy (with help or without it);…
D. Ellis Phelps
From page one of Corvus Rising, I was enchanted, its pages calling me into the world of dreams & of wildness and justice reclaimed. As I read, I wondered how much of the story was autobiography written as engaging fiction and whether or not the strong social commentary I was reading was aligned with the author’s own opinion. So, I wrote my questions down as I read and corresponded with Ms. Simmons regarding an interview. She graciously agreed.
I anticipated a juicy dialogue and I am not disappointed. I will be posting our interview in parts over the next few days. I hope you enjoy getting to know Mary C. Simmons as much as I have. Read on…
D: Are you a “woman of faith?” If so, would you describe your faith? If not, can you describe your cosmology?
Mary: I am a woman of faith.
But I am not a woman of religion, in spite of my upbringing in catholic schools and church. My mother’s catholic family emigrated from Northern Ireland, and my father’s from Poland—there is no country on Earth more catholic than Poland….my father’s sister was a nun, could speak fluent Polish, had a PhD in theology and was Pope John Paul’s liaison to the US for a while.
I don’t go to church, but have all kinds of time for the teachings of Jesus.
While I was in geology graduate school, I was fortunate enough to be a crew member on a river trip in the Grand Canyon, which mostly amounted to cooking for a group of twenty-two men from an organization called Young Life, which is a Christian group that outreaches to youth.
image: “Sunrise at Grand Canyon.” Used with permission of the artist, Florian F. via Creative Commons.
I learned that you can cook just about anything in a Dutch Oven, when the captain of my boat baked me a birthday cake in one. Eight coals in the top is all it takes.
Food is a big deal in the Grand Canyon. For five days you’re hundreds of feet below the known surface, a long way from anywhere in any direction. Food service, then is huge. Breakfast, lunch, snacks in between, and dinner.
Enchiladas, Beef Stroganoff, Lasagna.
We geologists thought these twenty-two men were pretty weird with their noses stuck in Bibles after dinner rather than gazing in awe and wonder at the five hundred million years of time towering above us, pygmies as we were in the scale of a half billion years of rocks.
image: “Stargazin” by Zach Dischner. Used with permission via Creative Commons.
I had a few discussions with the two younger men on the trip, and one of them said: “Jesus gave but one commandment for us: Love One Another. There is nothing in the Bible about excepting anyone from that love…”
As a person who has studied geology, I cannot make a distinction between the Creator and the Creation. I love the Earth, the animals and plants, the rocks and water, landscape and sky. This is my temple.
This is my faith, my religion, and in this Creation, I too speak the language of God.
image: “Wonders Will Never Cease” by Brian Wolfe. Used with permission via Creative Commons.
Look for the rest of Mary’s interview with me, appearing in parts over the next few days. In the meantime, I wonder: Where do you speak “the language of God?”