Set Down Bewildered

sparklingsunset

 

rhodieblack

Why are we reading, if not in hope of beauty laid bare, life heightened and its deepest mystery probed?

Can the writer isolate and vivify all in experience that most deeply engages our intellects and our hearts?

Why are we reading, if not in hope that the writer will magnify and dramatize our days, will illuminate and inspire us with wisdom, courage and the hope of meaningfulness, and press upon our minds the deepest mysteries, so we may feel again their majesty and power?

What do we ever know that is higher than that power which, from time to time, seizes our lives, and which reveals us startlingly to ourselves as creatures set down here bewildered?

Why does death so catch us by surprise, and why love?

We still and always want waking.
~Annie Dillard from “Write Till You Drop”

eveningrose1

 

yellowpoppy2

It’s true.

I am bewildered by life most of the time. Anyone looking at these online pages can see the struggle as I wake each day to seek out what I’m called to and how to make this sad and suffering world a better place.

I have so little wisdom to offer a reader other than my own wrestling match with the mysteries we all face.

When a light does shine out through darkness,  I am not surprised.  It was there all the time, but I needed the eyes to see such beauty laid bare.

 

farmlane

 

picnictablesunset

 

 

 

A Special Mention

shuksan1021613

Thank you,  Ann Voskamp,  for linking to this Barnstorming blog over the past two years,  sharing my photographs of our farm and the surrounding scenery of Whatcom County with thousands of your readers around the world. Just this past weekend over 2000 of your special people came to visit Barnstorming in our little corner of the web, and many of them have stayed on to chat on our farm porch as well as yours.

If you have not visited Ann’s blog before, you must.  Look for “Only the Good Stuff: Multivitamins for your Weekend” every Saturday on  “A Holy Experience” and look for her stories during the week, along with news about her upcoming book.

Ann has transformed many lives through her open-hearted witness of her own transformation. As one of those broken people aching for gospel glue to pull my pieces together, I am indebted to her remarkable wisdom and grace.

Blessed by all who visit here and by Ann who led you here,

Emily from Barnstorming

Only the Good Stuff: Multivitamins for Your Weekend [10.15.16]

 

shuksan1021611

Finding the Sacred in Anything

slugcanoodle

 

…anything can be written about. Not because nothing is sacred, but because everything is.
~Billy Coffey

Too much on the internet is “anything goes” because nothing is considered too sacred to be dissected, illustrated, exploited and promoted in as public a way as possible.   Most of it is so cringe-worthy that it feels very risky to click on any unfamiliar link as it may take the viewer into such a dark corner of the web that it feels impossible to escape.  Once an image is seen, it is difficult to erase from the mind’s eye, even this picture of slugs “canoodling” (sorry, but I’ve tried to figure out for over a year how to use this photo on my blog).

My little corner of the web is meant to be a path into the light, instead of a portal into the dark.

Over the years I’ve written about many things that are personal, whether it is mistakes I’ve made, overblown worries, my childhood family’s struggles, my parents’ dissolving marriage, my obsession with garden gnomes, health care controversies, forgiveness, and surprisingly, the page that for years gathered the most visits on my blog: my horse’s bodily functions.

Even horse poop can be seen as sacred…I guess.  At least someone must think so.

Still, some things remain too sacred to be written down, and because I hold them close in my heart, they will stay that way.

 

januarygnomie

 

Whispers Made of Thunder

webdesign7

webdesign2

A poem is a spider web
Spun with words of wonder,
Woven lace held in place
By whispers made of thunder.
~Charles Ghigna

 

As I wander my yard
studying the complexities of web design,
marveling at a tiny creature’s creation
of connection by the slenderest thread.

Through words and pictures I whisper
from my own corner of the web,
waiting patiently for the shimmer of connection:
my rumbling thunder has been seen.
~EPG

webdesign15

webdesign10

webdesign4

The Pebble’s Splash

photo by Josh Scholten

The least movement is of importance to all nature. The entire ocean is affected by a pebble.
~Blaise Pascal

Most days I’m the ocean rocked by the most minute ripples.  The building waves created by forces beyond my control feel tsunami-like though they probably started out small.  I can do nothing but let them flow over, around and beneath me, riding them up and down, trying not to get submerged for long and not get sea-sick.  Lately it feels like a barrage: instead of letting up, the billows roll larger and mightier, at times relentlessly powerful, changing everything in their path.

Instead of being the rippled, I hope some time to become the rippler in a way that can move oceans or mountains or most amazing of all, another soul, just once.  In some tiny way, I hope I can say or do or write something that makes a positive difference in someone’s life, and that person forwards the ripple, spreading the wave a little further, a little broader, a little deeper to affect others.  Traveling far beyond the original thrown pebble, it can never to be pulled back once it is let loose.

I know what it is like for a blog post to go viral, becoming an ocean in churning turmoil, not a mere pebble starting with a least movement.  Instead, I hope to be the most insignificant of change agents, barely there, just moving enough of another heart and soul to start something that will grow and spread by itself, wild and wonderful.

I don’t know what it might be or how I might do it.  Perhaps it is as simple as skipping rocks, choosing the best flattest pebble, rubbing the smooth sides between my fingers, and with a momentary regret at giving it up to the ocean, I’ll haul back and just let it go.  It will skip once, twice, three four five even six times and then disappear below. The surface of the water will never be the same again.

Nor will I.

photo by Josh Scholten

This Twittering World

photo by Josh Scholten

Distracted from distraction by distraction
Filled with fancies and empty of meaning…

…Not here
Not here the darkness, in this twittering world.
from Burnt Norton (1936) part of Four Quartets by T.S. Eliot

Eliot didn’t have birds or future tweets of the 21st century in mind when he wrote Burnt Norton in 1936.  He was far more concerned about the concept of time and redemption, using the analogies of a garden, a graveyard, and most disturbingly, a subway train of empty-souled people traveling under London in the dark.  Only the present matters as the past cannot be changed and the future remains unknown, trusting the reassurance and salvation of Logos, the source of  the natural and creative order of all things.   Only God Himself remains outside of the constraints of time and place.

Perhaps Eliot had predicted the unknowable future.  It now is a “twittering world” in a way that Eliot, critical of dehumanizing technology of his time,  somehow was prescient enough to foresee.

When birdsong begins on our farm in early June at 4 AM in the apple, cherry, chestnut, and walnut trees outside our bedroom windows, I am brought face to face, eyes and ears wide open, with the immediate present, distracted from the distraction of my dreams by the distraction of awakening to music of the creative order among the branches,  amidst cool morning air.

Once the birds settle into routine conversation after twenty minutes of their loudly tweeted greetings of the day,  I sit down bleary-eyed at my computer to enter the twittering world of technology, too often filled with fancies and empty of meaning.

Yet, I’m determined.  Not here the darkness, if I can keep it at bay.

No darkness here.

photo by Josh Scholten