The Universe is a strange place.

Matt Klooster and I met through a retreat follow-up meeting in 1997 when we were both at St. Xavier High School.  Matt was a senior; I was a new teacher.

I can remember one conversation we had in the hallway, standing next to a bulletin board in the religion & counseling wings.  The bulletin board was green and very old and usually had page after page of college counseling guidance.  I remember it catching my eye because on it was a piece of artwork — not the usual thing.

Through the wonders of Facebook decades later, I was surprised to discover Matt went on to pursue a passion for creating art, mostly paintings of trees and fields of flowers and bees and all such goodness.  Life.  The living world.

And I’ve been writing about those things too, mostly through poems.

Matt joined us for VITALITY’s pandemic Zooms about Birthing a New Age and we discovered even more that we shared an appreciation for nature and how we humans are nature participating in nature and how knowing this was somehow important and soothing.

And just last summer, Matt and his family moved back to Cincinnati.  And after some hikes, some beers, some meals, we now have a book we’d like to share with you.

We feel it’s an incredible reminder of who we all are and what we can be as all our beloved institutions continue to change, to die, to disappear.   The Universe can be strange, and surely has been the last few years, no?

We seem to be at the end of an age and birthing a new one, being birthed into a new one.  Some in our world are experiencing  the birth-pangs more than others.  I suspect we haven’t seen anything yet….

We hope you’ll consider pre-ordering a copy of our full-color book of paintings and poems.  We have a goal of 100 copies sold by Monday so that we can get this book to press asap.

May the wind be your friend as it has been ours.  There is not much better than feeling the wind on my skin after a hot day, how the temperature in the air around me can change so quickly.  I was reminded of that as Matt and I walked a bit at Sharon Woods tonight to record a little Facebook promo.  Such air and such friends sooth(e) when the world can be challenging.

What can I say, the Universe is a wonderful place.

Brian Shircliff