Monday, February 21, 2011

When . . .

When does purpose and drive become arrogance?
When does surrender to God’s will bump up against the kind of giving up that breeds hopelessness?
When is faith presumption?
When is humility just feeling a lack of self-worth?
And when does analysis become pure criticism?
To think—to be—such a mix of dark and light, of bristle and silk.
The will wobbles back and forth between leaning in and running away, between giving up and holding tight fists.
Oh God, are we performing empty rituals, cup and bread, songs and sermons, trying to find meaning when there is none,
. . . trying to convince the world and ourselves we have found all the answers?  When we don’t even know all the questions.
If there is meaning,
If there is purpose,
Why are there so many barriers, the path so thorny?  Why the clouds and chaos?
As days flit away, filled up with critiques and commas, baking and brooding, there is a kind of desperation, a deep searching for You.
What a black heart I must have to have journeyed so long
and come only so far.
When does doubt yield to wonder?  Wonder to glory?
~Lilly Green 2-2011

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Everywhere Tall Trees

The stretch to the sun, the stretch to the center of the earth, and the sheltering cool in between.  Secret hidden places for treasures and firm holding branches—houses in the air.  Feathery leaves trap mysteries in my mind and catapult them into the future. 

Rows of stately soldiers guard country roads.  Lonely isolates in flowering meadows stand moody, marking time in aloneness.  Companion trees link arms with knowing glances, intimate breathings—
sharing ground, sharing air.

Everywhere trees.

Solid oaks, assertive with chests puffed, mock gale winds.  Supple birches, evanescent green and whispery white, sway and flex with storms.  Up on the mountain, pines all buffed up bristly, dare intrusion, while maples filled with dripping sweets flaunt green today and fire red with tomorrow’s frost.  Down by the river, willows droop with tears from countless sorrows, long sucking fingers in the dirt.  Vain wooden alders hover close, leaning to the water’s edge to catch a glimpse reflected in dark deeps.

My apple tree offers sweet, sometimes wormy, fruit and a lofty perch.  I retreat to write and meditate,
pleading mother-calls unheeded.  I weave dreams in the branches and trust secrets to the leaves that
no one else would understand.

On hot, steamy days, I hop shadow to shadow to cool my feet and cool my head. 
Barefoot steps quick quick on hot packed dirt, but slow to freeze frame under sheltering tall trees,
the long dance home in desperate darts and lingerings.

Aged elm branches spread a welcome for my childish floors and walls, my odds and ends. 
Barely a whimper—long dagger nails pierce—sacrificial lamb. 
I homestead in crooks and climbs with soda crackers and Jell-O tea—
sweet communion. 

Barked, brawny arms hold the rope that swings my feet to tippy touch the lowest leaves.  Back and forth and back and forth with pumping legs and flagging hair, then jump!  I’m flying!  I land with a thud, all laughter and grass stains.  Then, up again.  I wind and wind and wind.  Branches groan.  I twirl and twirl and twirl,
then stumble as with drunken pleasure.

Everywhere trees.  Leaves pressed brittle, photos captured, admiring peaceful pauses taken in busy days—
I breathe the memory and the now.