As Good As Ever

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One day, something very old
happened again. The green
came back to the branches,
settling like leafy birds
on the highest twigs;
the ground broke open
as dark as coffee beans.

The clouds took up their
positions in the deep stadium
of the sky, gloving the
bright orb of the sun
before they pitched it
over the horizon.

It was as good as ever:
the air was filled
with the scent of lilacs
and cherry blossoms

sounded their long
whistle down the track

It was some glad morning.
~Joyce Sutphen “Some Glad Morning”

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Amazing that it happens yet again each May:

the ground yields up a rich
and blinding verdancy,
the clouds strewn and boiling over on the horizon.

It is enough to overwhelm and enchant us
into waking up yet another day
just to see what lies in store.

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Throwing Off the Covers

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Why do we bother with the rest of the day,
the swale of the afternoon,
the sudden dip into evening,
then night with his notorious perfumes,
his many-pointed stars?
This is the best—
throwing off the light covers,
feet on the cold floor,
and buzzing around the house on espresso—
maybe a splash of water on the face,
a palmful of vitamins—
but mostly buzzing around the house on espresso,
dictionary and atlas open on the rug,
the typewriter waiting for the key of the head,
a cello on the radio,
and, if necessary, the windows—
trees fifty, a hundred years old
out there,
heavy clouds on the way
and the lawn steaming like a horse
in the early morning.
~Billy Collins “Morning”

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This is the best~~
heading with dogs and camera up the hill
on an early spring morning,
with nothing more than the hope
I can bring this magic back to the house
and preserve it long after the foglight evaporates,
the day moves on and distracted by life,
I’ve forgotten all about how
this is the best~~

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Preparing the Heart: The Day-Star Waking

Venus & Mercury

I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star.
~Revelation 22:16

When they saw the star, they were overjoyed.
Matthew 2: 10

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.
An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.
Luke 2: 8-9

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photo by Nate Gibson

There are a few moments between the blackness of a long dark night–something we have plenty of this time of year–and the renewal of the sunrise splash of color that spreads across the sky like spilled paint jars of pink and orange. Illuminated in those few moments is a transitional dawn-light or daybreak equivalent to the evening transition of twilight.

That is when the morning “stars” of Mercury and Venus become most visible. They don’t “twinkle” or appear effervescent like the night stars. They are solid radiant globes heralding the Sun to come.

The “star” guides and leads, breaking apart the darkest night.  It points to home, illuminates the birth of God come to earth as man, and presages the New Day to come. We are witnesses only if we arise early enough, peering through the clouds of everyday troubles, and prepare, ready for the dawning to come.

We must run, not walk, to meet the Redeemer.  This is what it was like for the shepherds and the magi.  This is what it is still like for us.  Our Day-Star awakens and we, our senses stolen by glory,  are overjoyed.

1. Whence is the goodly fragrance flowing,
Stealing our senses all away,
never the like did come a-blowing,
Shepherds, in flow’ry fields of May,
Whence is that goodly fragrance flowing,
Stealing our senses all away.

2. What is that light so brilliant,
breaking Here in the night across our eyes.
Never so bright, the day-star waking,
Started to climb the morning skies!
What is that light so brilliant, breaking,
Here in the night across our eyes.

3. Bethlehem! there in manger lying,
Find your Redeemer haste away,
Run ye with eager footsteps vieing!
Worship the Saviour born today.
Bethlehem! there in manger lying,
Find your Redeemer haste away.
~ Traditional French Carol

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Spending My Days Grazing

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Just past dawn, the sun stands
with its heavy red head
in a black stanchion of trees,
waiting for someone to come
with his bucket
for the foamy white light,
and then a long day in the pasture.
I too spend my days grazing,
feasting on every green moment
till darkness calls,
and with the others
I walk away into the night,
swinging the little tin bell
of my name.
~Ted Kooser “A Birthday Poem”

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I usually go in to work on my birthday,
just a regular day most summers~
instead today decided to catch up
on weeding, reading and needing
a day of quiet:

To notice each blade of grass while grazing through the hours,
transformed by something so simple,
to be called as the time comes
to return to the barn
in fullness,
ready to give all I have until empty.

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Morning Settles

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Perhaps she came down for the apples,
or was flushed out by the saws powering
the far woods, or was simply lost,

or was crossing one open space for another.

She was a figure approaching, a presence
outside a kitchen window, framed
by the leafless apple trees, the stiff blueberry bushes,

the after-harvest corn, the just-before-rain sky,

a shape only narrow bones could hold,

turning its full face upward, head tilted to one side, as if to speak.

I want my life back.

Morning settles around her like a silver coat.
Rustling branches, hooves in flight.
~Philip Terman “Deer Descending”
Who among us does not feel this?

Everything around me changes faster than I can adapt,
trees topple
marriages shatter
illness overwhelms

I am lost
trying to find my way out
trying to find my way back.

I look for Who will take a moment to listen.
I need Refuge where I may rest safe.
I seek Sanctuary where I may settle in peace,
like a new morning.
I want my life back.
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Breathless

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All this he saw, for one moment breathless and intense, vivid on the morning sky; and still, as he looked, he lived; and still, as he lived, he wondered.
~Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows

 

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Every time I open my eyes to a new day, I need to be reminded how precious is each moment, how wondrous each breath and each heartbeat.

We are created for this — to not forget.

To never forget.

 

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Between Midnight and Dawn: The Unseen Seen

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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.
2 Corinthinians 4: 18

 

I believe I will never quite know.
Though I play at the edges of knowing,
truly I know
our part is not knowing,
but looking, and touching, and loving,
which is the way I walked on,
softly,
through the pale-pink morning light.
~Mary Oliver from Bone

 

It is in the early morning hour that the unseen is seen,
and that the far-off beauty and glory,
vanquishing all their vagueness,
move down upon us till they stand
clear as crystal close over against the soul.

~Sarah Smiley

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In the moments before dawn
when glow gently pink-tints
the inside of horizon’s eyelids,
the black of midnight
waxes to mere shadow:

that old faded midnight
That frightened but an hour. (from Emily Dickinson)

Gloaming dusk
fades into gleaming dawn,
a backlit silhouette stark
as the darkening earth
slowly opens her eyes
to greet in rebirth
a new and glorious morn.

 

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During this Lenten season, I will be drawing inspiration from the new devotional collection edited by Sarah Arthur —Between Midnight and Dawn