The stripped and shapely
The ghosts of her
The ground is hard,
As hard as stone.
The year is old,
The birds are flown.
And yet the world,
In its distress,
Displays a certain
~John Updike from “A Child’s Calendar”Yea, I have looked, and seen November there; The changeless seal of change it seemed to be, Fair death of things that, living once, were fair; Bright sign of loneliness too great for me, Strange image of the dread eternity, In whose void patience how can these have part, These outstretched feverish hands, this restless heart? ~William Morris, “November”
Even as worn and wrinkly I feel these days,
I know there still is beauty hidden within
as I look into your eyes that remember,
your eyes that saw me young
once so smooth and fresh and soft,
in yielding to fit you before we fall
together, beautifully in bloom.
A Burdock — clawed my Gown — Not Burdock’s — blame — But mine — Who went too near The Burdock’s Den — ~Emily Dickinson
One day in 1948, an amateur Swiss mountaineer and naturalist, George de Mestral, went on a nature walk with his dog through a field of hitchhiking bur plants. He and his dog returned home covered with burs. With an intense curiosity, Mestral went to his microscope and inspected one of the many burs stuck to his pants. He saw numerous small hooks that enabled the seed-bearing bur to cling so tenaciously to the tiny loops in the fabric of his pants. George de Mestral raised his head from the microscope and smiled thinking, “I will design a unique, two-sided fastener, one side with stiff hooks like the burs and the other side with soft loops like the fabric of my pants. I will call my invention Velcro® a combination of the words velour and crochet. It will rival the zipper in it’s ability to fasten.” From: The Mining Company (Feature 09/12/97)
One moment you were just fine running ahead to the barn as I walked leisurely down hill to my chores – then I find you panting and miserable, immobilized on the ground, unable to get up or walk.
What could have happened to you in only a few short minutes?
I bent down expecting to discover the worst: I check your back and neck, your joints, your head for injuries. Instead I discover one front and one back leg glued to your body bound as if tied fast — by dozens of sticky burdock. You had taken a short cut through the weeds and the hooky plants hitchhiked onto your long flowing hair. The more you moved the more bound up your fur became until you had painful prickle masses poking your armpit and groin.
You were only doing your farm dog duties and the burdock seeds were doing what they do: velcroing on to you to be carried to another place to germinate and make more prickles balls.
It took fifteen minutes of you lying upside down, with a barn cat warming herself on your chest to do scissor surgery to your fur to free you of the torture. No longer immobilized, you ran free with your favorite cat in hot pursuit, and I noticed you gave wide berth to the burdock patch in the weeds.
Perhaps we all might be so quickly freed from our prickly immobilizing burdens when we wander too far into the weeds of life.
If only a mere hair cut could trim away all the troubles with which we are afflicted.
I know, in fact, our Rescuer is near at hand and I’m suspect when He needs to, He wears muck boots.
I started writing regularly over ten years ago as a way to explain who I am to people I will never meet. A few have recognized my human voice and shown an interest. Some are just picture people and find the words unnecessary.
The photos as well as the words make up my voice, now preserved in a timeless trove of ever-changing sunrises and sunsets, of trees that bloom and fruit and shed to naked, of a small part of creation that is just like me.
God is in the details of our lives if we only we stop to look and listen. How we meet each other matters as He joins our hands on this journey together.
God empties himself into the earth like a cloud. God takes the substance, contours of a man, and keeps them, dying, rising, walking, and still walking wherever there is motion. Annie Dillard from “Feast Days” in Tickets for a Prayer Wheel
We soon will enter the season of Advent, an opportunity to reflect on a God who “takes the substance, contours of a man”, as He “empties himself into the earth like a cloud.” Like drought-stricken parched ground, we prepare to respond to the drenching of the Spirit, ready to spring up with growth anew.
He walked among us before His dying, and then rising up, He walked among us again, appearing where least expected, sharing a meal, burning our hearts within us, inviting us to touch and know Him.
His invitation remains open-ended.
I think of that every time the clouds open and empty. He freely falls to earth, soaking us completely, through and through and through.
It is a dark fall day. The earth is slightly damp with rain. I hear a jay. The cry is blue. I have found you in the story again. Is there another word for “divine”? I need a song that will keep sky open in my mind. If I think behind me, I might break. If I think forward, I lose now. Forever will be a day like this Strung perfectly on the necklace of days. Slightly overcast Yellow leaves Your jacket hanging in the hallway Next to mine. ~Joy Harjo “Fall Song”
In the string of fall days,
each differs from the one before
and the one that comes after,
a transitional linkage to winter
at once gradual and unrelenting.
If I were to try to stop time,
hold tight a particular moment,
this necklace of days would break and scatter,
as the connection depends
on what was before
what is now
and what is to come.