Archive | March, 2014


19 Mar


I drive along LaCholla Road everyday. Painfully, cautiously, and slowly.
Painfully because the major roadway is under construction and there are lots of unexpected bumps and thumps that rattle both the car and me. Cautiously because the safety-cone lined passageway for cars is narrow and twists back and forth as machines create controlled chaos on both sides. And, slowly because there is always a deputy sheriff concealed behind piles of dirt or rocks with a radar gun aimed at anybody who dares to go more than 25 miles an hour. Slowly, please, because construction zone fines can ruin your day.
One redeeming aspect of driving through the mess, though, is an opportunity to see artists at work. Thus the photo above. I watched for weeks as sturdy construction people placed the rocks you see one by one, hand to hand and created a lovely stone mosaic along the route. First the ground was packed hard, then wire mesh was laid, then cement poured and, finally, while the cement was still wet, a single line of construction artists took one stone at a time from a huge pile, passed the stone from one man to the next until the last man in line nestled it into the waiting cement. One at a time. Rock by rock. And, as you can see in the photo, there is a lovely line of white rocks flowing lazily through the many shades of brown. It’s quite beautiful.
But imagine the effort, the painful process of placing one stone and then another and then another, day after day.
Several things occur to me. I’m grateful for artistry all around me, in common things and in unexpected places. Stunning beauty is everywhere. Also, I appreciate the seemingly tedious efforts of people who often do common tasks, jobs that I pass by without a second glance, but who produce creative beauty in subtle ways. The waitress who delivered the colorful salad yesterday…the landscaper who turned my yard into a special place…the house painter next door whose meticulous care for detail shows in every brush stroke…the hummingbird building a penthouse straw by straw in my oak tree.
Perhaps I ought to slow down more often and observe beauty taking shape.
Slowing down is never a bad idea…especially when there’s a radar gun in the neighborhood.


It Only Sleeps

12 Mar

It Only Sleeps

Not very attractive, is it?
It could be, and will be, when it’s shaped up and decides to look like the lovely oak tree that it is. Not wanting to chop on it here and there myself, I sent this same photo to a tree landscape specialist who answered my email in this way: Your tree is obviously dead. For $25 we will consult with you about removing it.
Dead? I don’t think so.
What he could not see at a distance in a photo are all the green shoots covering the barren looking limbs. My oak tree is ready to burst into new bloom. I can see it myself. I can see it because I stood close to it when I snapped the picture. I got close enough to see what’s really happening to my tree.
Too bad, isn’t it, that some of us make judgments at distances without getting close enough to see the green shoots of promise or hope or possibility? Making judgments at arm’s length about people or circumstances so often distorts reality and sends us off on twisted paths of fear or anger.
The budding life of my oak tree was affirmed the day I took this picture by two tiny objects that you cannot see in the picture. The very top of the tree is cropped off in the picture, but sitting on the delicate threads of branches at the top are two finches. They were singing their hearts out in that moment, probably telling the world that something new and wonderful is about to happen. New life is coming back into the old frame. Green shoots in the warm sun are about to unfold as lush, green leaves.
Stand close before you make up your mind. It is not dead…it only sleeps!
Sing on, birds!