The peaceful spaces that Quaker meetings are, are disappearing. The rooms, mostly small, are being reclaimed by the roots of the trees beside them, by the Winter winds, by the Spring rains, and by the invasive species that grow unchecked after being planted innocently enough.
The humble cemeteries are being worn down by ice and heat and by lichen and mold.
The names vanishing into silenced memories. The same silence and light in which they sat praying and and waiting for ministry from light.
In 1650, the Religious Society of Friends were ridiculed with the name "Quakers" by Gervase Bennet, a magistrate who summoned George Fox, a founder, charged with religious blasphemy. Fox "bade them tremble at the word of the Lord" and Bennet called them "Quakers". Despite the antagonism from some Anglicans and Puritans, Fox was respected by convert William Penn and by the Lord Protector, Oliver Cromwell.
My degree in religion was seeded in my interests in culture, history, humanity, places, artifacts, and my sense of awe in the Universe. An awe and curiosity that has always beckoned me forth into books, conversations, films, paintings... you know, the visible spectrum of all that we are.