Opening Words

Rev. Jennifer Brooks


I take deep pleasure in quiet moments
When in the distance I hear the mournful calling
Of ship’s horns. My childhood was framed with
early-morning and late-night sounding
train whistles, low and long in the silence.
Ever since, in each place I’ve lived, there have been trains to sing
their slow songs like whales crooning in the deep.
But here there are no trains; here it is boats that haunt the night
with extended exhalation. It might be a law of physics:
humans must hear long low calling in the dark.
Do boats and trains evoke the wind moaning
through canyons, when the Anastazi waked at night
to listen and wonder? The storms sweeping across the
Serengeti? The groaning and cracking of the earth, the organ pipes
of deep caverns playing their songs long before
humanity waked to paint pictures on their walls?
Far from trains and boats and whalesong there is a
deeper, longer song the universe sings to itself. We all
are in it. If we listen with our hearts we can hear it,
the voice of Life and the longing of all living things.
“Calling” in For All That Is Our Life
 (Meditation Anthology, Skinner House Books 2005)


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“Ministry is ministry ‘with’ for Jennifer. She identifies the spirituality in people and people’s passion. It is part of understanding true community.”


—Rev. Ginger Luke, retired Minister of Congregational Life, River Road UU Congregation, Bethesda MD