He Knows A Thing Or Two Because…

7 Nov

 

Some people say he looks lonely,
standing there alone among all
the healthy, young growth.
But, he knows he is surrounded
by vibrant life.  And he is at peace.

Some say he is old and of no value,
but everyday tender voices rise
from the lush new growth around him:
“Grandfather, tell us
again about…”

A hiker commented the other day:
“Look at that ugly thing among all
the lovely green life.”
But just then a hawk detoured
off her early morning hunt to
circle the elegant artistry.
Round and round
she flew and each
time she sang a
song of grateful
wonder.

Once I heard that people planned
to cut him down.  Eyesore.
Doesn’t fit the land anymore.
But Life rose in deliberate
defiance.
“No!” said the yellow wild flowers.
“No!” called out the Mesquites,
long stretches of dry wash sand,
birds that heard the threat,
coyotes, nested owls,
reptiles, rocks still
exposed by recent
torrential rains.
In one clear and certain voice,
Creation said “No!”

The tree of majestic memory, bare
and brittle, swayed gently in
the caressing wind.  He seemed to all
around to shine ever so slightly.

“Time,” he said.  “Time.”

Chrysalis

5 Nov

No chrysalis, by its design,
constrains the power of life.
Contained within that darkened place
away from haste and strife,
a life form slowly finds its way
into the sacred Light.

 

And when the moment finally comes,
cracking sounds are heard
across the wide expanse of time,
the speaking of a Word
that splits the fabric, rolls the stone,
a miracle occurred.

 

A chrysalis, like ancient tombs,
is not a stopping place.
It is a path by which life moves,
evolves and, by God’s grace,
emerges as a radiant being
to bless the human race.

 

Today I sit in wondrous awe.
In this unlikely thing
was once a creature forced to crawl
who now unfolds her wings
and floats into the crystal sky.
O God, the joy she brings!

A Drop of Grace

3 Nov

In the somber evening of this overcast day,
while walking among the ancient sentinels
at the base of a shadow etched canyon,
I felt the touch of a single droplet of
moisture on my arm.  Slight touch.
Gentle touch.

The stately saguaros tuned to watch my reaction.
A gray dove, snuggled in the arms of
a weathered mesquite tree, offered a
deep throated purring sound as a gift
to the moment.  Her audible mummer
resembled what I imagine a smile would
project if it could be heard.

Instead of beading and falling to the
ground, the transparent droplet spread
in shape and size, moving toward my hand
and my shoulder at the same time.
I stopped.  Everything stopped.  The
universe paused.  Creation took a
deep breath and witnessed an extraordinary
encounter.  A single droplet bathed the
moment and me.

One drop from the enormity of universal
Mystery, from a Heart that in the sacred
moment beat in unison with my own,
one minuscule, momentous drop caressed
skin and soul with exuberant awareness,
unsteadiness like the plates of earth shifting,
deep joy, startling  connection.

One small drop of Grace is almost more
that a human being can bear.

The Missing Piece

2 Nov
You just never know who you will meet on an early morning walk. My challenge for this good day is to make sense of one piece of a much larger jig-saw puzzle.  I have one piece because of a random, chance meeting around the corner from my house.  Actually, Maggie made the discovery first, but after sniffing, she concluded that it was nothing to eat and she was ready to move on. But I take this fortuitous meeting as a challenge.  What can I make of this day with only a fraction of the big picture?  I never know for sure what any day will bring, but at least today I have a hint.  At least I know the day is going to be colorful!  So here’s the plan:  I will be extra conscious today of the need for wholeness or completeness in situations I encounter or in the lives of people I meet.  Maybe the missing piece for someone will be attention or appreciation or encouragement or simple friendship.  Maybe this is the missing piece for the next person I meet. Or, in the meetings or conferences I might have today, the missing piece might be solidarity or unity or shared purpose or common vision.  I just need to be watching for people or places that might need my one little piece of the puzzle. Or, maybe this sidewalk gift is meant for me.  Maybe…maybe it’s a word about an empty spot in my own life.  Perhaps it was meant just for my own welfare and blessing.  We all have some empty spots, don’t we? What do you think?  What would you do with only one piece of the puzzle?

Traveler Beware!

30 Oct

Beware the sinister sofa bed!
The pull out, fold down sleeping thing
is one clear way the devil brings
a sense of chaos fear and dread.
Give heed to what I’ve clearly said.

Just yesterday in Baltimore
a man who’d traveled many miles
broke out in such a happy smile
not knowing that the sofa bed,
the cunning thing, was yet unfed.

The paper gave the tragic news.
The hotel said “It’s not our fault.
We told him clearly that he ought
to use the lovely king-sized bed
but he chose otherwise instead.”

It wasn’t a very pretty sight.
I slowly opened the bedroom door,
let out a scream and hit the floor,
for there in unobstructed view
was his baseball cap and one brown shoe.

I hesitate to say the rest.
Just know that pull out sofa beds
can be quite mean until they’re fed.
So take my personal advice:
stick with the King; it’s very nice.

Sorry, Sir. No Elevator.

26 Oct

We had just checked into our lodging at a Navy facility — old retirees are pretty low on the reservation totem pole, but I got lucky this time — requested a room on the top floor, completed all the paperwork, picked up the room key, then thought to ask about the location of the elevator.  “You don’t have an elevator?”

”No, sir.  This is a renovated barracks and we don’t have an elevator.” A moment of existential angst.  Switch to the first floor?  Convenient, less effort, etc.  Or, keep the top floor — which in this case was the third — have a view, less possible room noise.  But no elevator to lift my wife, myself, two suitcases, a camera bag, a briefcase, a small ice cooler, and two bags of our standard traveling miscellaneous.  Don’t say it.  I know.  All of this plus my wife’s replaced knee and my now bad attitude produced ANGST.

But we kept the third floor room, climbed the stairs a few times to get things up there, sat in the room to recover and wondered why we were breathing so heavily, smiled at each other at the same time because we knew the answer without saying it.  Then we drew the curtains back and a better thought swept across us.  Astonishing views are most often seen from lofty heights.

Climbing the steps was the price we paid for seeing the Pacific Ocean in its grandeur.  No view from the first floor.  In the photo above, it’s the same truth for me.  There are 92 steps in this climb in the Catalina Mountains near our home.  The steps are well into the hike and there is an alternative route that avoids the famous 92.  Ah, but.  When I step off number 92 onto the high ridge line, the view is spectacular.  The theory works, also, in the ways we think and communicate with each other.  Too much first grade thinking and we all begin to sound like first graders.  Too much greedy, selfish thinking and some of us begin to hold what we have a little tighter.  Too much angry, condemning, confrontational thinking and many of us grow so anxious that we do the same thing.  Principled, thoughtful, reasoned thinking and communicating come from a higher position of human understanding and insight.  You have to climb some hard steps to get there.  But only there do we find the table of reason around which we can sit to catch visions of what might be…and to exercise the higher principles of humanity.

“No, sir.  We don’t have an elevator.” That’s okay.  We are still able to do it, a bit more slowly perhaps, but we decided that this would be good for us.  Promote better health, more stamina, stuff like that.  But it was the view that sealed the deal.  The “view—point” is the birthplace of dreams for those who climb the hard steps, common dreams for the common good.

Traveling

24 Oct

May all who travel today
be embraced by the
Hospitable Spirit
who lives in all
airways and
avenues
of life.

May the embracing be mutual
and memorable.

In every inch of creation you pass,
there is a smile.
Smile back.
Say hello.

You are being welcomed.  When you
stop for rest, rest in the Presence.
You might even look in the
backseat.

You have a passenger.