Friday, September 04, 2015


for Robb

If I were outside I'd be glad of the snow that melts on my face,
the heavy, wet snow.
my tears would be hidden in snowmelt.
Perhaps then the flood that is held back by the weakening dam of my resolve could be released.

Old sheets,
mismatched dishes,
shelves of books,
lawn tools and electronics,
lamps and chairs,
old cassettes and Christmas lights,
pots and pans and army blankets.

These strangers
going through his things
cannot comprehend.

They are going through your house,
selling off your plates, your linens.
Strangers are pawing through your things,
Not knowing or caring who you were.
All of your books gone in one transaction,
The many things that made up your life.

Hands have grasped things and stolen,
the wine you meant for me,
The poem you read to me on the phone that day,
just an empty spot on the wall now.
Whose hands were greedy? Who took what was yours?
How has it come that what is left is the detritus,
like a shipwreck tossed onshore?

I hate them all in this moment,
Their clutching hands, their beady eyes,
The slobbering faces trying to hide,
the avarice, the hunger I despise.

I hate them for tossing aside the things
that once were yours,
like so much trash, they sniff and snort,
their disdainful laughing,
the eyerolls, the gasps.

I hate even more that you aren't here.
that you will never read another book,
will never light that lamp.
You'll never give me that special look...
where love and affection and amusement
all sparkled in your eyes, and a chortle on your lips.
You'll never rush with paper towels to wipe my windshield clean

Oh, dear God, you're gone!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

No Mistake

Heading through the woods, I was determined to come in behind some flowering trees I had seen from the road. Everywhere I looked there where small flowers taking up residence along the sides of paths, on trees, along the river bank…and among these small wonders, these delicate beauties, were leaves of all shapes and sizes. Just look at all the wonders! The wild garlic unfurls it’s slender stalks, reaching curling fingers to the skies as it’s gentle fragrance teases the senses. I was reminded as I looked at all the splendid variety that I often bemoan the fact that I am the way that I am. I’m short and…er…stocky. I long to be tall and thin.

I kept walking around, snapping pictures of so much beauty and variety I was filled with delight. I heard the voice, “Do you really want to be tall and thin?” No sense lying, of course I want to be tall and thin. I looked around, now conscious of the presence of God. What if everyone was tall and thin? What if I only made one kind of plant? The amazing variety just in this little corner of the world is before me, behind me, beside me, above me, bearing witness to the creativity and variety of the creator. If I had what I wanted, every plant in the forest would be those slender garlic sprouts. If everyone looked like Angelina Jolie, wouldn’t we long for something different? Don’t we long for the variety? Don’t we appreciate the differences in people? Yet I long to be something other than what God has made me.

Which plant would I do without? The slender tree covered in small purple-pink flowers? The fragrant garlic? The Jack-in-the-Pulpit? Viola? The vines which wind themselves around trees and shrubs in a wooden lacework that is beautiful and mind-boggling? Which would I give up?

I am reminded that God made me the way he wanted. He made me short. He gave me a peasant build. I am one of the creations in his human forest. Every one of us is different from the next, individual, beautiful, special, and unique. I suppose that I am rather arrogant to presume that the Creator made a mistake with me.

Do you see? I hear him say. “I make beauty out of disease, decay, even out of death.” Everywhere I looked there was evidence of that. Fungii were reclaiming fallen limbs, hues of seafoam green, aqua, orange, salmon, and white painted on the forest floor. Today’s leaves were growing out of the forest floor covered in decomposing leaves from seasons past. Dead trees were bearing signs of bird nests, insect life, and retained an amazing beauty in their death. I make all things beautiful in my time. I reclaim, rebuild, restore. I bring life, renewal, beauty. Can you see it?

Yes I can. Today I hope that as you look at the photos that I’m attaching, that you will see a portion of what I have seen and that you will look in the mirror and understand that you were made in your own special way and have your own special beauty. Is it small, delicate and hidden or is it wild and gloriously gaudy? No matter. You bear the mark of the Creator. He has not made a mistake.

A Night Walk in Virginia

The cicadas' song in the heat of the day is slowly fading into the nighttime crickets' melody. Somewhere the fireflies are putting on a show, though they aren't performing near me lately. The magnolia tree has put out two or three sad flowers that seem to have no aroma. Although I find the aroma of magnolias overwhelming, it wounds me to smell nothing, to see that magnolia and recognize a brokenness there.

Why is the magnolia lacking in fragrance? This niggles at me, but then I am quickly attentive to other things because the dog is moving on, sniffing trails I can't smell, doing her little SniffBook social media thing, learning, I assume, who's been by, who's pregnant, and what other critters have been traveling through.

The dark of night is slowly settling in, wrapping around us in a warm embrace. Something flies by me, disliking my proximity. A cicada, I assume. This year's batch seems more skittish. I stare at the sky, wishing I lived somewhere where I could get away from city lights and see the stars. How I long for a clear starry night. I know they're out there, and my memory fills in the gaps of a celestial light show, before the dog and I go inside for the night.