Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Holy Spirit, Ocean Breath

Holy Spirit, Ocean Breath

Take a deep breath.  And then say thank you to this beautiful spiral.  It’s a microscopic, one-celled ocean plankton, and just now, in the last five seconds, it kept you alive.

We’ve long known that trees and other land plants produce oxygen; if we want to breathe  But at least half the oxygen we breathe, some say 70%, comes from ocean plants. So care about ocean health also.  Whether you live in Monterey or Montana, this ocean dinoflagellate, a kind of plant plankton, inspires you, literally is in your spirit, your breath.
, we should keep planting trees.

“Plankton” simply means “drifter” (the Greeks thought the “planets” drifted through the universe, same word.)  There are plant plankton (phytoplankton) and animal plankton (zooplankton.)  Some animal plankton drift only as babies and then “settle” (crabs, clams, teenagers.)  Some drift their whole lives (jellies, hydromedusae, Jack Kerouac.) 

Plant plankton are all drifters, floating in the upper part of the water for precious sunlight so they can photosynthesize and give off oxygen.  One of my favorite stations as a volunteer guide at the Monterey Bay Aquarium is the fancy powerful microscope with a camera in it so you can see these drifters close up.  We used to call it the “Plankton Lab.”  Now it’s called “Tiny Drifters.”

At my recent retreat in France on the Holy Spirit the nun professor said the French word  should be “saint soufflé” holy breath, not esprit.

A woman on the deck at the Aquarium told me she was there on doctor’s orders; the air in her Central Valley hometown was too polluted; with her respiratory condition she needed ocean air. 

Come on retreat with us at the Blue Theology Mission Station at the Pacific Grove Christian Church, and breath in some good ocean air, God’s ocean spirit.
______________ for info on retreats, service trips, renewal time.  I also post these Wednesday reflections on ocean stewardship and spirituality at

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