Monthly Archives: October 2013

We The People

I just read/watched a post on Facebook from Viralnova. The story is about a young man in Illinois who died recently from cancer. That in itself is sad, hard to imagine life happening right in front of us. That he left two young children and a young wife just makes the tragedy deeper, more sad, more hard to read. But what happened in this young man’s town is blazed across not only Facebook, but every heart that even has a tiny corner of it that still feels, still relates, still opens to the miracle of love.

You see, he was a farmer. In a farming community. One among many farmers. Some might even have been his competition before he got sick. But what happened on the day he was laid to rest in the soil that he plowed and tended and coaxed out its abundance is where the miracle is. Those farmers, every one of them, took a piece of their farm equipment and lined them up on the road where that young man’s funeral procession would pass. His wife and children, as they went that last mile with him, saw the outpouring of the miracle of love from the whole community. Hundreds of them. All with the keys in them. All during harvest time that is so critical in that part of the country.

This is what America is made of. Not of politicians wrangling and pushing each other to the limit. Not of stars tooting the latest big thing for us to hop on the band wagon they are on. Not of Facebook or Twitter. Not of spouting off our oh so important views on any of the electronic media. Not of the media itself as it waltzes down its own road of destruction.

America is made up of people. People who help other people. Not because some bombastic wanting-to-be-elected politician tells us we should. Not because the government tells us we can take care of you if you just keep my party in office. Not because it is the next cool thing deemed so by those who live far above and far removed from real life.

We, the People of this great nation help each other. We come together and put tractors and combines and trucks of all kinds on the road for the young wife and the little ones to see because we are connected to each other. We are the ones who built this country the politicians want so badly. We are the ones who keep it running in spite of those same politicians. We will be here long after the latest flash-in-the-pan podium thumping, baby kissing, glad handing of them has gone home.

We are the United States of America. Not them. We are. Keep that truth in your heart. Keep that vision of the tractor lined road in front of you everyday. And keep being the America we built.

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Fall into time

Oh sweet Lord, I want to fall into Time, as you give it, as you open it to me. I want to sit and just watch the birds at the feeders in the sun room window. I want to walk my dogs and see the neighborhood, really see what I am walking through. The line said “fall into Time”; not work it, push against it but to fall, drift down like the leaves that are letting go of the branches they are attached to and just let the air of Time take me.

To do that means I need to stop concentrating on the hard-fast rules of every Time. I need to let Time’s stone-rules be steps on the water of Time as it flows; not walls where I am confined into a narrow, small, confining canyon. To not build walls with the stones but to build paths strewn with them as I walk this life.

The fear of getting stuck in a place in Time has certainly been a driving force as I move down the tributaries I have drifted upon in this life. I have a wandering spirit I think that keeps getting back into the stream to see what is down there, just around the bend. Inherited from my ancestors for sure. Certainly from my parents, whose “little drives” are part of my lifestyle. When I get feeling stuck, I take a drive. Not to a destination so much, just to see other vistas.

For me it’s not keeping up with Time for right now. It is a smooth sail through Time, letting the babbling brook it creates of possibilities, hopes, fears, wonders, terrors and, most definable, what the heck is around that bend up there take me along with it.

When I came here, to this Ohio place in Time, I stepped out of the block house of Time I had been living. I stepped out of the battering against Time, the need to chip away at it to put it in its place. I stepped out and completely away from where I had been attempting to tame Time, to mold it into my personal belief of what it should look like, feel like, work like, what that finished product of using Time would appear like.

In this place, in this Time, the ticking clock does not rule. Oh it tries at times to push its way to the front with it’s “gotta be this place at this Time” and “gotta get this done by this Time” nudging and shoving. And I do allow some of it’s straining to come through, but only those that have a real true meaning in my heart. There is no more of the frivolous “gotta’s” going on.

It is still a bit foreign to me. I still hear the whispers of “what did you do today”, which translates to “what did you accomplish today”. By accomplish the meaning conveyed is what did you do with your Time that is important to an entity other that yourself.

When the answer to that query is: I walked DaBoys, then we watched the squirrels frolic in the back yard and argue over the bird seed on the ground. Or, we took a drive to see what was down that road over there. The astonishment, the wave of confusion that one can see float over the face of the questioner reveals their still being stuck in the Time battle. It hangs between us like a pristine glass door, they can see through it but they are well aware they are not on the other side of it. And some, I think, are not sure they would like it on the other side.

This moment right now, this Monday morning with the frost on the roofs across the street, sunshine skipping and dancing over the trees dropping their yellow, gold and red leaves–this moment is real, honest, in-your-face Time. This is the “Now” I live in. This is the Time stream I live in.

I just ask, Lord, to be a participant in this Now I. Do not let me sit down and be just an observer of the stream as it flows past. Take my hand, help me navigate through this river of life I have left to sail.

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It’s ten thirty and I am still ensconced on the couch with pepper at my fingertips, so relaxed and contentedly satisfied to be touched by me. It has been raining steadily since I woke up at eight. (Eight seems to be my hour to wake up, if I don’t set an alarm for a different time it is eight.) Even Yuri is relaxed and sleepy-eyed as he watches out his guard position on the French desk. Everything is quietly subdued and snugly today.

I guess the need for being productive comes down to me from one of my ancestors. Probably the one who climbed up into that covered wagon and headed out. Busy-ness was believed to be next to same place as cleanliness, right beside God himself.

But today, all I really feel like doing is sitting here under my bright lamp and watch the rain fall; counting the drips as they slide off the roof, listening to the fountain echo the sound of water from the heavens as it softly speaks of thirst being quenched.

This stopping, this soul-quiet contentment to just sit and be, this is a true blessing from God to me his small one. Right now, I am a human just being.

The things I should be doing, the tasks to be accomplished are beginning to raise their voices at me. Stretches to be stretched, lesson plans to be planned, washing to be washed, next chapter on the course to be read…Shhhhhh, It will get done, I will get busy doing in a bit.

Right now, God and I are watching the rain.

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Tap Roots

It’s a bit of a blustery day here, one that makes being inside with a nice cup of hot, sweet tea and healthy slice of Pumpkin Spice Cake just the thing. I have been decadently reading in my Red Chair with puppies sprawled about me. The book of choice today is about the west. It’s called Where the Bluebird Sings to the Lemonade Springs. It is a collection of writings about the author, Wallace Stegner, his growing up in the west and mostly about how it became his place of tap root.

Reading his prose about the west, his west is my Mother’s west too, made me examine my own tap root. I do love the west also, it’s wide openness, it’s “dry clarity and sharpness in the air, it’s earth colors of tan, rusty red and toned white” and especially the wonder of the Pacific Ocean in all it’s majesty and swirling greatness. But, it also made me wonder where my own true deeply planted tap root really is still growing.

I am convinced that the reason God has sent me here to Ohio is to discover where that root that goes through the core of my very being is planted. I am beginning to see that there are some wide spreading roots here, roots that have small tendrils that branch out from the center of the deeper one that truly thrives and are deeply content here. Something passed down from my fraternal grandparents I think. The weather that is always in your face, sort of a constant challenge to you; “so, puny little human, try this bit on for size” as it blasts you with another dramatic offering from its storehouse of true weather. Like today with the gloriously intense sunshine bursting through the deep gray clouds that are pushed along by a bitter wind. This is a place for the truly strong, the truly tough to disregard the latest offering from the storehouse of ugly weather.

Which makes me wonder about myself. I can see the beauty, the majesty of these native plants and animals who just accept this dramatic change is temperature as the norm. The turning of the leaves is truly the most gorgeous color I have ever seen, much more fantastic that any combinations man could devise. I am just not too sure how I will manage this. The point of reference for this place is too far back in my memory, too many dramatic and life-changing events have come between my memory and the ability to do this.

Which brings me back to the tap root question. It makes me travel that circle of my life, it makes me look at the whole in a better more clear sort of light.

I was born in Toledo, my Mom said in the middle of the last blizzard of the season. But, since she was a true Californian, southern one at that, it could have been just a “small snowfall” to the Ohioans. I remember her commenting that she could never get warm in the winter no matter what she did. I must have absorbed that from her while I rested under her heart for I have that same problem no matter where I am.

I really don’t have any memories of living in Ohio as a child. I was four when we moved away from here, not quite old enough to have a point of reference to have a memory. I look at the pictures and nothing is stirred in the deepest part of me. I see a little girl, a bit on the small side, with the trappings of a 1950’s childhood surrounding her; dolls, toys, teddy bears and a frosted window behind her in one, but no memory of them.

My very first childhood memory is a house on Lake Barton Road outside of Orlando. It is small, I remember it as being a kid size sort of place. Nothing about it was too big for even me. And, I remember the soft rain, the sunshine and the coral snake in the tires stacked up in the back yard. There was an older couple who lived next door that seemed like Gramma and Grampa to me. Not so much mine, but like mine enough.

What I do remember about living in Orlando was the settledness I felt, the belonging I lived there. My friends and I all dressed and talked and worshiped and played the same way. We were all a part of each other’s lives and became a huge slice of that childhood memory. The playing baseball out in the street; the learning to skate and ride a bike on the front sidewalk; running through the sprinklers together; going to the lake at the end of the road with the whole neighborhood—all of us living like children did then moment to moment. We all felt that this was the way that everyone lived, we weren’t self-centered we were just growing in our own little lives.

There is a story about a frog who doesn’t want to be in his little pond any more, he feels he is a big frog and wants to be in a big pond. So, he leaves his little pond. He finds that life in the big pond is scary and cold and unsure and very uncomfortable. So, he returns to his little pond a wiser and much, much happier frog.

I may be related to that frog.

I was ten and a half when my life was altered forever. My Mother, my two brothers and I moved to California after my parents divorce. I was like that frog, completely in the most uncomfortable pond I had ever been in. To the kids at school I dressed funny, talked funny, played funny, worshiped funny and my home life was funny—my Mom was divorced! For the first time in my life I was on the outside looking in.

When I think of that time, the changes and the wrenching away of things familiar, I found a revelation. My yearly bouts of depression started that October. We arrived on the 3rd, two weeks later I started at a strange Lutheran school with decidedly unchristian children who excluded me and made fun of me for two years. Now they call it bullying, then it was just a fact of childhood. It was that experience from those children, my Mother’s sinking into her own personal Hell, my brothers moving into their own lives which left me utterly and completely alone that triggered the depression. It was a natural, human reaction to such traumatic happenings. I was only ten, I had no means of understanding or coping with any of those.

So, the root question has to have a lot to do with the feeling of belonging, the feeling of being a part of and accepted as me. My cousin Angie made an observation when we drove to Georgia and Florida this summer. She said when I crossed the Florida state line my whole body language changed. She said my face was lighter, more relaxed, more open. Those memories from that time in my life when I was truly a part of the place triggered that. It could be that Florida, or some place like that is where my tap root is still growing.

The west was my Mother’s place. She was withering away when she was gone from it. My Dad would have to drive her back from Ohio every so often because she just couldn’t stand to be away from it. Drive her back when there were only two lane roads, tiny little motels, hot, dry desert to cross with your own water bag and make sure you have tires too sort of a drive. Her tap root was in Escondido.

I think truly mine is in the south somewhere. Maybe Florida, maybe Georgia with its deep red earth, maybe the Carolina’s with the strong southern root of their own. Or maybe another of the deep south’s hidden places I have not quite found yet.

As much as I have loved the west, as much as I miss my family and friends there; it is not where my tap root is. If it was I would have never even entertained the idea of packing up my flock of boxes, my dogs and my memories and headed to the beginning of my life circle.

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View from the French Desk

I am sitting at the little French desk in the living room window watching the squirrels frolic across the front lawn.  It has been raining here since yesterday, but it just doesn’t bother the Furry Tailed population. Maybe they are playing Hide’n’Seek in the too long grass? Or just reveling in the fact that they are able to frolic across the nice just-long-enough-to-hide-in-if-I-scrunch-down grass.

Interesting little creatures squirrels. They are a bit like the grasshopper in the tale of him and the ant. They do sort of tuck away nice big tidbits they find, but right now all they seem to want to do  is race around, flicking their tails at each other, getting into squabbles over that flicked tail and generally taking each day as it comes. There are lots of different hues of them, some brownish grey, some brown of all shades and the striking black ones.

DaBoys are pleasantly oblivious to the antics played out in front of me. They do dislike the squirrel population that runs and dips and charges across their backyard. Yuri took extreme umbrage to them the very first time he encountered one of them in Cousin Gibbs the Lab’s back yard. It seems all the dogs around Gibbs’ house are squirrel-haters of the first water.  Seems to be a face saving attitude for them all. After all the pesky things race up the tree, their tree mind you, and then have the audacity to chatter at them! I do wonder if the chatter is spiced with canine derisive words. It certainly does seem so from the reaction of those same canines at the base of that tree.

Pepper is not as aggressively active at chasing them, but he does give them a piece of his mind! He will stand in the center of the yard, feet planted solidly apart, (so he doesn’t loose his balance while putting all his energy into it), barking his displeasure at their very existence in the world. He finds them highly annoying when he is in the mood to peruse his yard, enjoy the grass and sunshine and sniff the scents wafting through.  Them dang squirrels sit on the wires and chatter!! Totally Rude! And it just ruins the mood!

But today, with the stiff breeze blowing and the seemingly constant rain, DaBoys would rather be inside snoozing under the desk by Mom than outside in the elements. They are, after all, house dogs. Born and bred to be inside with their people. Adapted to couches and beds and carpet (need to learn fast what not to do on that) and just what their special person needs that they are their to give.

Later today they will take a short ride over to ST. G’s with Mom, get a nice St Francis blessing from the Father’s there and maybe, just maybe,  get to visit with Gibbs and Daisy for a bit. It is a very good Sunday for two small, totally content and very, very perfectly special dogs.

The silvery fall sun is doing its Cloud Dance right now, peaking in and out from the heavy laden rain clouds. Might be time for a quick jaunt down the block and back for these precious house puppies of mine. It might even be prudent for the behavior at the blessing later.

As for these two so relaxed beside me, they have chosen to ignore the irritating rodents with the fuzzy tails out side. Today they are irrelevant to DaBoys happy lives.

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