Friday, June 29, 2012

The Beauty of Kaiser

You can find beauty everwhere. This, of course, was on my radar before the appointment. :-)

A Side of Onions, Please

I’ll take that road with a side of onions; and in the desert, if you leave them there long enough, they’ll be fried. :-)

Simple Goals

I had simple goals as a child:
I only wanted to be famous and change the world.
I realize with any and all accomplishments, my real goal should have been to change myself—
or at least place my life in a position to be changed.
What good is a song,
a poem,
a story,
a photograph, even if it gets recognition,
if the singer,
the poet,
the writer,
the photographer
wears the same old shabby faith of yesterday?
I have simple goals as an adult:
I only want to be changed into the child God wants me to be.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

A Feeble Fable

I walked along the twisting path, a steep drop off on my right, a rocky wall on my left. Every step was measured and sure to avoid the rocks and shards of pottery from discarded vessels, which held all manner of useless stuff. I, too, some time back had found it necessary to shift my load and only carry necessary water, food, and the book of directions. The further I had walked the thin, grey road, the more unnecessary certain once vital stores had become.

Common though it was to come upon cast offs, I was a bit surprised when rounding a rather sharp bend, I saw by the side of the path a piece of red flesh, ripe and dripping, pulsing and heaving almost in time with my labored breaths. This was not the useless gems and mementos of the old life down the hill. This seemed alive and perhaps someone’s very necessary tool. Why it would have been discarded, I knew not. Or was it discarded? Perhaps there had been foul play; but that seemed unlikely given the close monitoring of Spirit guardian. . . . Though the way was rough and even treacherous in places. Maybe a dark ne’er-do-well had scaled the cliff side. Maybe the owner had fallen and ripped open a pained chest. But why leave flesh beating on its own in the dust and the falling time?

Though my load was about all I could handle on this steep part of the trek, I couldn’t help but think the owner of this ripe redness would be in peril without it. And I was starting to see the faintest shimmer of the bright citadel where I was headed. So I carefully wrapped it in waxed paper, stowed it in my sac, and continued on my way up the path.

The flesh pulsed in my sac. I had misgivings now and then, but I also sensed a strong presence of Spirit, who in His own strange way assured me I was doing well.

As I rounded a particularly sharp turn in the path, I came upon a young man seated on the edge of the path, legs dangling over the side, legs swinging in the emptiness of the dark space to the right of the path. His hands extended and contracted in rhythmic flights, sometimes arms raised to the sky, other times firmly held in self-embrace. His head was bowed and tears dropped in ones and twos and manys, landing like lead in his empty lap.

“Excuse me, brother. Do you have need?”

Without even glancing in my direction, he said soft and wet, “My needs are too great, the emptiness too big a hole to fill, and I have lost the will to travel on.”

I inched closer. And as I did, I could not help but notice the gaping fissure in his chest. Blood smeared and ragged. Forever-empty and dark. “You have great emptiness, and I think I can help you, brother.”
“It is too hard for me. I thought I could make this trip, but the longer I have walked, the harder and more rugged the path. There have been doubt-demons and storms and tormentors on top of the wall, pelting rocks. I have lost heart and cannot go on.”

“Oh, but I have found your heart. I found it by the side of the road, and I have it here.”

“Here? With you . . . here?”

“Yes. Perhaps I can help you put it back in its place.” With careful hands, I pulled out the pulsing flesh and gently placed it in the hole, but it would not stay fixed. Try as I might, it kept falling into the young man’s lap. “Brother, I am helpless to know how to give you back your heart. All the parts are here, but it won’t be attached.”

“There is too much sorrow. There is too much filth. There is too much loss. And I cannot go on without it.”
We both sat by the road in silence, thinking. The young man’s tears continued—steady fall. I’m not sure how much time went by, and I can’t say that I heard an audible voice; but I felt Spirit speak to me, weighted words, hot healing words in my mind, and in that moment I knew what I must do.

“Rise, brother. We will walk together. I will carry your lost heart here in my sac. I will hold your arm to give you strength, and together we will walk the last few hard places of path. Do you not see the shimmer of light up ahead? We do not have far to go, and I feel certain that together we will finish the journey.”
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. II Corinthians 4:16-18

If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Ecclesiastes 4:10

Grandma Time

Tiny hands, but big hugs;
tiny feet, but many grand places to wander.
With bright thoughts and bright eyes
and a will strong enough to match her energy,
she makes grandma’s heart grow big,
brimming my eyes with love.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Pier Pressure

Bugs and Blossoms

Small, almost lost in the bigness of water and trees and mountains towering.
Insignificant, compared to terror and politics and financial machinations.
But small enough to mend thread bare places in my soul;
insignificant enough to blend together heart-sighs into smiles–
small enough to bring joy.

Perfection is hard to live with . . .

“When a maaayan loves a woman,
down deep in his soul,
she can bring him such misery . . .”
I wonder why I can’t keep a girlfriend when I sing the blues so good.  Maybe it be my grammar.

The Jackson 5

Okay, I know I’ve milked the music theme a lot, but hey, we were at Jackson Lake, and there were 5 ducklings, so . . . :-)   (Thanks to the Birding Bunch who verified it really is a coot.  That’s a hoot!  No, I mean coot!)
Actually, at first I thought it was a coot.  I was shooting from the road above the lake before we went down to lakeside.  The mama was swimming out from the reeds, and as I shot 1, now 2, 3, 4, 5 babies swam out.  So cute! (or coot!)  :-)
If anyone can tell me what kind of a duck this is, I’d appreciate it.  I think my bird book is useless!  (True, my bird book is rather useless.  Their picture is nothing like this mama.)

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Rockin’ Finch, Tweet, Tweet, Tweet

Sing along: ”He rocks in the tree tops all day long,
Hoppin’ and a-boppin’ and singing his song;
All the little birdies on Jaybird Street
Love to hear the robin go tweet tweet tweet.
Rockin’ robin, tweet tweet tweet,
Rockin’ robin’ tweet tweetly-tweet,
Blow, rockin’ robin,
‘Cause we’re really gonna rock tonight.”

“Hey, don’t you have any sparrow or finch songs.”
“Not really. Finch doesn’t rhyme as easily.”

“Pinch. Inch. Lynch.”
“Very funny!”


Robbin’ Robin, Tweet, Tweet, Tweet

Someone has been robbin’ my robin song, so I’m stuck with this depressing one:
“Listen to my bluebird laugh. She can’t tell you why.
Deep within her heart, you see, she knows only crying. Just crying.
There she sits, aloft at perch. Strangest color blue.
Flying is forgotten now. Thinks only of you. Just you. Oh yeah…”

Groovy. I get to sing the blues–me with the best duds in the group.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

The Last Image

The image is starting to fade a bit—
the toothless gape, the three breaths for every one of mine,
the curved spine, frozen by arthritis and osteoporosis,
the starving frame—long, thick bones, draped in sagging flesh.
So unlike the strong shelter I knew.
The image is starting to fade of the sometimes vacant eyes,
the silken white hair, the all but soundless ears, receiving songs
and whispers in long night vigils,
the velvet fingers so unlike the rough, blackened hands I knew.
The feeling is starting to fade of the warm life
stealing from my fingertips, replaced by creeping cold stillness—
so unlike the pulsing strength I knew.
Are you happy now?
Are you strong again?
Are you satisfied that you lived your life well?
Did He say a “well done”?
The silhouette of a sweeping curve, a lifeless spine in your hospital bed
is most of what is left in my mind’s eye.
But the pictures I’ve been thumbing through are replacing the pain of those last moments,
replacing them with what you have left me—strength, loyalty, truth, faithfulness, godliness, fervent affection, endurance . . .
Happy Fathers Day, Daddy.
Sept. 5, 1921 – Jan. 15, 2008

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The Ins and Outs of Birding (Wed.’s blog in some time zone)

Make way, make way, I’m coming innnnnnnnnnn!  Whew.  I’m getting pretty good at this flying stuff, huh, Dad?
Except that you wiped out your baby brother, you’re doing great, son.  Go easy on the brakes on lift off, but feel free to use them when landing!
Sure, Dad!  Whoa, this cruising is awesome.  Hey, watch me dive for that sunflower seed and do a touch and go with it hanging off my tongue.
What did I tell you about choking.  Stand still and chew your food or the boogey lady will get you.
She doesn’t seem too scary to me, Dad.  Are you sure she’s so dangerous?
That is where all bad birds go.  They get swallowed up by her black clicky thingy and are trapped forever.  Your Aunt Alice got sucked in there, and we never saw her again . . . but that could have been the hawk.  No one really knows for sure.  But better safe than sorry.
. . . Will you watch what you’re doing.  Hover means above the target not plough into it.  Now go round again, and this time get it right.  Good grief!  Next time your mom gets to take you out on maneuvers.