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19 Jul


fullsizeoutput_1337Today will be spectacular.

For reasons that haven’t even occurred to me
yet, but for one that is especially powerful,
today will be Strawberries and Cream at
Wembledon or the Yellow Jersey at the
Tour de France or Cooper’s Bar-b-que in
Llano, Texas.  Because today, when I’m
occupied with this or that, I will turn
around and there it will be.
A Celestial Slideshow.
A Painting In Progress.
And I will think, “Grab the camera!”
but maybe I’ll just sit down and
watch the artist apply shades of
color, depth and dimension as only
the Artist can do.
I make a motion that we change
the designation of the season from
Monsoon to
Is there a second?




Finding Beauty

16 Jul

There are days when sanity and stable mental health join forces and issue
a declaration:  If you want us to hang around, get off the usual path for a time
and explore, wander, get lost on purpose, put your map away, turn off the
GPS.   When you ask yourself “where am I?”, you are there.

The beauty of wandering off the path is that you discover beauty.

Yesterday I picked up my camera, left the desert path I know so well, and wandered into a rugged showroom of nature’s most astounding features.  The path always tells me where I’m going, that’s its job.  Follow me and I’ll get you there, wherever “there” is.  But climbing the pathless hill, walking along the unmarked ridge line was an experience both thrilling and treacherous.

I have found that abandoning the familiar path in search of beauty almost always pays off.  You find it.  Or, it finds you.  The Vermillion Flycatcher proved my theory yesterday.  She dropped out of the sky, sat on the tree limb in several poses, head this way, left profile then right.  And, as if on cue, this beautiful creature lifted off, circled once and vanished into the afternoon sunlight.

But even the momentary glimpse of the brilliant red and the graceful flight of a small bird is enough to confirm my suspicion.  When you look for beauty in the world, you’ll find it.  It is there.  It is always there.

Look Deep

11 Jul



One of life’s little jokes is getting old and losing the visual clarity of youth.  It’s no joke and I’m not laughing.  I wear trifocal glasses in order to keep the world in focus.  The top part of the lens is for distance, the middle section for reading things at an arm’s length away, and the third is to read the newspaper up close.  Or my electronic device on which I’m typing at this moment.

Sometimes I look like one of those dolls with a wobbly head.  I bob and weave until I get the object in focus.  Stepping off the curb was an adventure when I first got them.  Reading the fine print on a loaf of bread is still a show stopper at the grocery store.

But glasses don’t create the stunning landscape or the mountains that glow in the sunset or the wonder of waves crashing against huge boulders on the Oregon coast.  They make it possible for me to see beauty clearly, but my trifocals and I are merely observers, appreciative travelers.  We are grateful to the Light that shines beauty along the path and paints the yellow flowers and wires together minds that can create trifocal lenses.

One more unsolicited observation.  Look deep.  That’s where the real beauty lives.

Sky Canvas

10 Jul

Most of us who live in the desert can’t wait for the rainy season, Monsoon Season we call it. Then, of course, when the heavy rains come, as they did today, we complain because roads are closed, washes barricaded, trees toppled, and the standing water at intersections gets my car all dirty!  Logically we know that rains are absolutely necessary in this extremely dry climate, and we know that when the Monsoon comes it produces beautiful wildflowers, green mountains, and the needed reserve for drier days.

We can’t have those things unless the rain falls.  But there is something else that I think is extraordinary as the result of downpours.  The bright, clear sky of the desert is lovely through the year, but if you want to see SKY it comes with the rains.  Many times during the year we get to witness wonderful sunsets, but nothing like the spectacular sky show that happens when the giant, puffy clouds during the rainy season are electrified by the evening’s setting sun.  It is breathtaking.  My camera and I love this time of year when dark and light come together, painted with a golden paintbrush, and displayed across the heavens for all to enjoy.

I guess the point I’m making is this…if it weren’t for the dark, stormy days, we would never stand on the corner with our mouths open and gasp with delight when the sun explodes on the cloud canvas in the sky.  You are welcome to draw any other moral or spiritual conclusions you like.  I’m just delighted to welcome the storm for all the good reasons…and then look up and be thoroughly amazed when Light meets cloud.

Just A Reminder

29 Jun

This morning while walking in our local state park,
I thought of good friends for whom each day
is very dark because of serious, lingering illness.
And I thought of others who live temporarily
in the blackness of grief or mourning.  And
then I thought of you, because for you,
all of us, some days seem heavier and
darker than others.  Life is certainly like

So, I want you to see the hope in this
photograph.  Sit with it for a little while,
especially if today is one of those days.
Light does come.  In fact, it never leaves.
Sometimes we just can’t see it, but it’s

Take courage in dark days.  Be grateful
for the Light, the Presence, the Sacred
Holiness.  Name it what you will.  Light
is eternally stronger than the dark. We
are not alone.

My Fickle Friend

23 Jun

The other day my wife asked me “have you posted anything recently on your blog site?”
I thought for a moment.  “Clog bite?  What’s that?”   She repeated the question in a different tone of voice.  I understood.

Well, I haven’t.  Been busy.  Traveling here and there.  Lots on my plate right now.
Did I forget about the site?  Absurd!  Ridiculous!  So I offer this today…

Memory is a fickle friend.
I knew someday we’d part, the end.
But I’m not ready yet to say
“Goodbye, my friend, you go your way
and I will walk my path alone,”
without my friend who’s always known
the answer when my wife inquires
about the length of chicken wire
it take to keep the rabbits out —
“of what?” I asked:  she looked about
and pointed to the garden plot
on which I’d labored quite a lot.
“My garden, dear.  You do recall?
Just yesterday you said:  “By Fall
these plants will bloom and be so tall
unless the rabbits eat them all.”
“Oh, yesterday.  Of course, my dear.
Just got confused, no need to fear.”
Memory is a fickle friend.
I knew someday we’d part, the end.
But, truth be told, I have to say
I won’t remember, anyway.
I’ll change my long-established habits
and blame it all on those damn rabbits!

If the shoe fits….

“The Latest In A Series…”

19 May

She rose early this morning, scanned the
chapter on Roman History one more time
before the second period test, got dressed,
walked slowly to the front door, then
hesitated as if she didn’t want to open it.

Santa Fe, TX
Palmdale, CA

Ocala, FL
Raytown, MD
Gloversville, NY

The blue uniform is neatly pressed, badge in
place, shoes shined.  That’s the way he
was taught at the Police Academy.  As
he walks to his squad car he thinks
about the morning headline.

Lexington Park, MD
Seaside, CA
Mobile, AL
Birmingham, AL
Jackson, MS

Senior English has been her love and her
specialty for twenty years.  She teaches
with passion and deep commitment.  Today
she weeps at her desk before the class arrives.

Mount Pleasant, MI
Norfolk, VA
Itta Bena, MS
Savanah, GA
Parkland, FL

He went to bed angry and got up the same
way.  Being treated unfairly, he said.
Taken advantage of, he claimed.
He sticks the semi-automatic pistol
in his belt, under his shirt, as
he gets into his car.

Nashville, TN
Oxon Hill, MD
Los Angeles, CA
Philadelphia, PA
Benton, KY

The minister addresses the congregation with words
of hope and healing.  Then he prays for an end
to all the violence in the country, especially
violence directed toward innocent children.
“Lord, please do something to stop this.”

Italy, TX
Winston-Salem, NC

Twenty-two school shootings since January 1.
Twenty-two and counting.
“The latest in a series of school shootings…” is the
standard  beginning for the recurring
news cast that terrifies every
parent and family.
And shames us all.

Prayer is good.
Constructive, determined conversation, too.
Action is best.