trail

Walk with me?

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It’s morning and there’s a day’s journey ahead. The trail is damp with evening’s dew. My feet are eager to move.

I snap twigs underfoot and spook two white-tailed doe deeper into the woods. They are elegant and swift creatures, and I’m reminded of my namesake — gazelle. I’ve a bounding heart, too. I have kept myself illusive at times, and just out of reach of all. Yet, I’m the hunted and there is no real sanctuary other than the one He is. 

Every hundred feet or so I’m walking through a spiderweb between trees. I’m the first to break the plane of the trail this morn. They serve as mile-markers, and I tear through the ribboned web with my body as I trek. With each one I tell myself it’s simply qualification — breaking through and taking ground. Keep going. 

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There’s a gnarly tree trunk uprooted and exposed. It’s left there for every sojourner to see. Now I’m thinking of all the turned over trunks in my own heart, and how we can walk through the ruins of certain rooms and survey the wreckage. But maybe it’s an installment — like art — and it’s meant as a symbol, as we walk past. I keep moving. 

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I find a brilliant beam of sunlight peering through a small clearing. It speaks hope to me and illuminates a spiderweb that resembles a bullseye. Some poor prey will be caught dead center in it. But not me — I’m staying on the trail. 

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This winding and weaving can sure dizzy up a girl. I assure myself that I’m  marching somewhere, not just circling ‘round. About that time I spot a cairn. Thank you, forerunners, for marking time and space; for going first and leaving a sign for me. I’ll keep keeping on. 

My breathing is a bit labored the higher I climb. I feel a new breeze up high, though. The kind I didn’t feel in the valley. It’s refreshing me and bidding me along. I assume it is my second wind.

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Just as soon as I’m at peak altitude, I’m descending again. It was just a second of a summit. I pause a moment to recompose and prepare to go back down into the deep shade. I admire a web that looks like a diamond in a bark setting. What a stunning ring the Creator has presented me. I whisper, “I do.”

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Deep in the valley there’s a bridge over a dry bed. Imagine with heavy rains it begins to move below. I stand in the center of the suspended state because I can, and consider the bridges that have have been forged for me. So many extending graces and mercies… So let the rains come; I’ve got a way across. So I do; I cross. 

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I’m scaling down towards the descent of the trail. I can finally see the highway and lake and hear signs of life. I know right where I’m at, which reassures me. I’m almost there. 

I shuffle back to the trail head, and feel a little limp in my legs, but it’s a good limp. There’s a good lean that comes after walking an unknown path. I’ve journeyed through the emotions of the morning and I’ve come out on the other side. I’m so glad I didn’t quit. 

 

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stream

67B5D367-BEA4-4A44-AFBD-8630795238C7Have you ever listened closely to a trickling stream? It’s like a far off conversation between lovers: hushed voices careening together, composing an intimate whisper. It tells the secret pleasures and agonies of love. 

Every rock and pocket produce the sound of perseverance. The lullaby of carrying on — moving on through. Obstacles only make it sing louder and clearer. It’s mission: find the lowest place, as water always does — as love always does. A race to the bottom, undeterred by all that lies in its path. And the falls are breathtaking, as it abandons itself to rush to love’s end. Yet, that’s really just the beginning of it all — the pooling of what’s poured out. 

Maybe the drifting leaves are simply confetti — a show of support and cheer. Maybe they just want to be in it, this flow and show of devotion. They are often carried away, deposited along the banks of the story. Maybe they’re giving up themselves, too, just to be a witness to. Maybe they’ve fallen in love with love. It’s easy to understand how, with its hypnotic lull. Don’t we all want to give ourselves to the sweeping notions of love? My morning meandering would suggest so for me. 

misty

There’s the faintest of droplets spritzing from above. It’s a moody misty morning and I’m happy as a lark about it. The cooler the temps, the warmer my heart. 

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A garden spider spun a doily in the picture window, as if it had intended on captivating us. It looks like a swath of beaded lace with the collected raindrops. The youngest children perched on the window seat and marveled while enjoying their Saturday donuts. I watched it all from outside as I pulled vines with one hand, and drank hot coffee with the other.

Goldfinches are still gleaning. They are well fed this time of year, but I can sense a shift in their foraging: less play and more business. I reckon their internal clocks are alerting them the time to gather is growing shorter. 

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The moisture has pooled perfectly over every uncovered thing. This is the season of browning and bowing for much of the garden. Most of what started as seed, is returning to seed. I pinch open dry pods or buds, then either collect, or scatter onto surrounding soil. 

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I’m real curious about seeds. I examine nearly every flower and fruit in hopes to discover its beginning. I want to understand how things grow. How does one thing become another? How does something so minuscule transform into something so mighty? It never ceases to amaze me…

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The husband played me a sappy song this dreary morning that ended up playing me. I think he’d give me the world, with every whimsical fancy I’ve ever had, if I asked for it. He’s an understated madman, I tell you. I never knew how much so until we both went a little crazy. Yet, I feel perfectly normal this melancholy morning and within these melodramatic musings. I’m perfectly OK today, and that’s quite enough. 

courage, dear heart

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I don’t think there is an instance when I feel more brave than when I’m writing. It’s quite a juxtaposition as it’s also the place I am most exposed. I wonder if there is some sort of divine intention to that? Perhaps. Yet, I have found that whenever I choose to use my voice, it requires insurmountable courage. 

Speaking up is no simple thing. In fact, it can be the most costly thing, as there is a price tag attached to our words. I’ve spoken things that have cost me a great deal — whether it was lashing out, or confrontational truths, or careless words — they all keep a running tab in the hearts of the hearer. 

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Having said that, I’m still convinced that I’m my truest self when my mouth is open, inhaling the complexities into me, then exhaling a living narrative. If I am not a voice, what am I? If I’m not meant to inquire and declare, what do I do? If I can’t sing out, I’ll surely die inside. I cannot fathom my life apart from these means. So, I suppose I’ll take the risk that comes with being utterly true and entirely me, because it is more costly to not. 

And how about the audacity to be unapologetically whom you were meant to be? Do you believe the world needs you to be whom you were fearfully and wonderfully designed to be, more than what it thinks you should be? Can you imagine the freedom to become, much like the Velveteen Rabbit? 

Consider now, the realest you, no matter if slapdash or falling apart. The storyline suggests that the journey to becoming real consists of growing more rag-tagged and used up — seemingly. But it begs us to consider what it truly means to become authentically alive. Perhaps all these nose-dive risks and skinned knees simply qualify us. And what measure of fortitude is required to believe against all odds,  that all of this wear is worth it, to be truly truly real? 

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I feel this dynamic translates uniquely for artists, as they are intended to be vessels: used up like paint, and notes, and every other medium. Then, to display the innermost dealings and feelings before all. Could this be any more courageously transparent: playing melodies birthed from pain and pleasure; brushing canvases with colors that run through their veins; reciting prose that tells of heaven, and hell, and the travels in between? 

It’s mad valor to show another what’s inside. Gruesome or lovely: it doesn’t matter, long as it’s authentically you.

It’s settled: I’m bravest right here and right now. 

24 hours

The past 24 hours have been eventful, to say the least. You just never know what a day will hold, and if you’re even able to hold it. Because let’s face it: sometimes it’s a game of High and Low on steroids.

Sometimes, a day can spill into your lap like hot coffee on the drive to school, while already running late, after hollering and hurrying (I prefer motivating) kids out the door like a drill sergeant, as a swear word slurs out of your mouth in slow (annunciated) motion, whilst you attempt to curtail it to a PG word without success. Yeah. Sometimes it’s like that. Because piping hot coffee — on any (especially private) parts — burns.

Side note: This is actually an almost-not-funny memory from last year, where I was SO ANGRY, but one of my teens had the gall to snicker, though clearly trying to hold it in, but was unable to refrain. This, in turn, caused another to giggle, then another… then eventually me, but more like a crazy-lady cackle on my end. Pretty sure my curse word was buried under all the nervous laughter after that.

OR…you get a frantic phone call at bedtime, then rush to the scene where emergency workers and police officers are tending to a collision your child, and friends (and 3 cars total) were involved in. And now there are no swears, but only thanks, and wide eyes, and vigilant care throughout the wee hours of the night in the emergency room. Thank you, Lord, for keeping power. And, I’m sorry I’m cranky and slightly delirious from sleep deprivation and nearly 6 hours in the hospital.

Side note: We all made the most of it.

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AND THEN, with only three hours of sleep under your eyelids, you are summoned to shop with your Homecoming maid for the ideal dress for court. But you love your humble woman-child and you want everything perfectly perfect, at any cost. And you find it really is perfect. The dress, that is. As well as the loveliness that is this one, whom will polish off her grade school career this spring with all the other Seniors.

Un. Believable.

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Disclaimer: dress shown here is not THEE dress. I would be fileted for that.

I’m completely spent, and turning this 24 hours in for a new one.

And so sorry for all the run-on sentences…

Goodnight.

 

 

 

 

sunday

Life is cyclical.

Seed. Seedling. Plant. Bloom. Fruit. Seed.

Over and over again.

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And each time is a new opportunity to grow better. Wiser. Fuller. More beautiful.

waltz

9E6F9704-EDF8-4C51-ACB0-AEF4583B5A2E.jpegThe 5 am moon is still hanging; stars still pitched in the black onyx sky. Soon it’ll fade out to a drab silver, then into a powder blue. Morning will sweep aside specks of light, like dusting a tabletop. And that luminous crescent will dangle seemingly too long into the dawn, until the sun outshines it. Then it’ll bow out, back to its shadow to await the next summoning. 

The sun and moon perform a celestial waltz of sorts: stepping in, then stepping out; twirls, on and off the dappled dance floor. And for a sliver of time, they curtsy one another, from east to west, and we behold the divine tension that is darkness and light. 

The Artist mixes the pigments in the palette sky, and creates a heavenly heather as they box step around each dawn and dusk. It’s nearly impossible to see where one begins and ends, here in the hazy horizon. Yet, the gradient subtly slides across the firmament, and smeared clouds appear as the hues saturate with gleaming color. All the brushstrokes of morning are revealed now. And the dancers respectfully give way to one another, that each could shine as soloist and masterpiece. 

summer’s end

I can barely stand how overgrown the garden is at present. August is typically trial by fire month for my little patch of heaven. With such a wet and mild end to summer, I’ve inherited a surplus of weeds and overgrowth. 

My green beans took forever to produce this year. I planted a vine variety instead of my usual bush. It took much longer and a lot more space before putting on. They’ve climbed the stalks of the neighboring sunflowers, like tendrils wrapped around. I poked my head in yesterday during lunch break and saw beans at least 8” long, hanging. It feels like missing a “first” of the infant stage — like finding full-grown teeth protruding from gummy smiles. I feel bad that I’ve been oblivious to their baby steps, and that they are now full grown. I’ve just left them to raise themselves this month. 

I tossed at least a cup worth of raspberries into my mouth, as dessert. I managed to get two rounds of berries from my bushes this year, and the latter is a decent one. It was a lovely surprise to find them rising to the occasion, as a last hoorah to summer. 

We did receive rain last night, so the bed will be tender enough to weed with ease. I appreciate being able to pull up roots without straining. I enjoy weeding after the rain — it does half the work for me. And I get good and muddy. I sure do love playing in the dirt. 

There’s an abundance of moss and fern growing on the north side of the house. They love these damp conditions. With the dampness comes mold, though. I’m still struggling to breathe through it. 

We had some moisture inside our home last night, too — the kind that falls from eyes. But like every morning, new mercy greets us and kisses it better. I’m convinced, now more than ever, that grace is the remedy for every ailment. It’s not just a band aid: it’s the ointment that heals. It’s a lot like the rain, and makes tender the soil of our soul. It’s beneficial to soak it up and allow it to soften. It sure makes the weeding a lot easier, too. 

trails

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I squint at swaying treetops and wish I could volley overhead like the wind does. Or scamper from branch to bowing branch like the squirrels do. They remind me of restless children bounding on beds, waking every sleepyhead. 

The hawks hover. They barely pump their wings; they just harness the air like a sail, and veer back and forth. Their movements remind me of kites in an indigo sky. 

I wish I was a better whistler; I’d call to the birds and try to join their banter. I’ve attempted to talk to many an animal by mimicking their call. I assume they are not fooled, as such keen connoisseurs of sound and pitch. But I still find my grownup self trying to tap into their high society. How very Cinderella of me. 

I kick a few loose rocks and startle a salamander. I feel like an ogre disrupting such tranquility; yet I, too, am scurrying along this zig-zag path in search of such. Or, will this just lead me around in circles? I’ve made enough rings around empty space to rival Saturn. I have to believe I’m headed somewhere. If not somewhere, then perhaps unto something…or someone.

Today, I’d be content with a breadcrumb trail that bids me the way to go. I’m privy to this much: it’s most likely onward and upward, as all worthwhile destinations are. 

Those boomerangs for birds share secrets like this, I bet. If they instinctively know to fly south with every cold snap, then surely they know the way through less than tolerable seasons. Too bad I never have figured out their vernacular…

paradise found

Open your eyes. Look closely. Deeply. Do you see it?

It’s there. It’s right there.

Like a wardrobe, or maybe a rabbit hole. Perhaps it’s a portal, but it leads to an inconceivable reality where all things are possible, and nothing is impossible. Where what the mind is able to fathom, can materialize with perfect meaning and sense.

The most potent creative capacity dwells here. Everything is alive with wonder and purpose. It all matters. The nonsensical or haphazard is prohibited. Only intentional, meticulous, calculated redemption: living, breathing, pulsing, heaving, bleeding.

Here, every pattern is a puzzle; every texture, a rhyme. Every puncture oozes with purpose; every scar is an oil painting. Every fallen tear nourishes the garden below; every ache and throb, the rhythm to a hymn.

All the questions, a symphony of strings, weeping with inquisition. Every gale, whispering antiphonally, the coveted answers. Sweeping peace, like a dragnet over all – nothing untouched or neglected- all thoughtfully attended to. 

Here, where the breath you draw, draws murals on your lungs, and sets ships on voyage when you exhale. Such fierce, creative virtue in every automated function. The vault of heaven burst open with the same. Gaping mouth, like a womb, giving way to splendor. Birthing, establishing, and placing value within it all. The incorruptible seed of glory: making all things transcendent. They float. They hover just above our heads with such incarnation. A world so existent, we question our own as mere flesh and blood. 

It is more alive and well than we could ever comprehend. This greater-than, higher-than world of reality. I want to step through the mirror to the other side. Escape to what’s surpassing all the lesser things. Find all the lost hopes, moments, treasures…

It’s all there. Waiting for me.