There is a Story
leaves with beauty in their death
carpet the forest floor
layer on layer each year
brilliant reds and oranges
fade to browns
return to the earth
ornament the needles
of a sapling in the woods
there is a story here
of death and new life
an old story retold
the trill of a bird
sweet and short
a soft reminder
of joy in the morning
there is a story here
Today I went for two hikes in the Florida woods. I’m staying at the Lodge at Wakulla Springs State Park for what would have been our 42nd anniversary. Chuck would have enjoyed these hikes -no snakes, beautiful fall weather and lovely colors.
When the so-called pandemic hit, hiking kept me sane. The fresh air and exercise were a balm to my spirit. They still are. Now most of my walks are in the neighborhood with my dog, Ruby. But I can still find beauty there. And it still does me good.
We had so many plans. A trip to New England, concerts, spending time with the grandkids. I am learning now to say “Lord willing” more often when I talk of what I hope/plan to do. It is still a learning process to go it alone. I’m used to hiking alone and taking trips alone, but it’s the eating alone I have to work on. While I’ve been at the lodge I’ve been taking a book with me to the dining room/restaurant. I’m currently reading our book club’s selection, The Secret Diary of Hendrick Groen, 83 1/2 Years Old, which is quite entertaining.
I guess my thoughts have wandered around a bit in this post. The thoughts and words put together here are kind of like a crowded parchment.
This photo popped up in my memories feed on Facebook today. It does, yet doesn’t, seem like three years ago that Claire and the kids stayed with us while Ben went home to weather the storm of Irma. The storm where my brother-in-law lost all he had except for a few handfuls of memorabilia and later some rescued muddy clothes.
I hope E and J always have precious memories of Grandpa. Carrying them on his shoulders, reading to them, playing chess, hiking, praying. I pray that one day they will desire to follow in the footsteps of the one some described as a gentle giant.
Like I said in my last post, God’s Word, poetry, sunshine, and fresh air get me through these uncertain days. Today’s prompt from NaPoWrimo was to write a poem based on a “walking archive”. Those of you who follow me here or on Instagram know I post a lot of pictures of things I find on my walks and hikes, so this one was a natural prompt for me.
I walk for sunshine
I walk for sanity
I walk to remind myself
Of Pippa’s song
God’s in His heaven
All’s right with the world
Even when it feels all wrong
I find a dandelion
And think of Ray Bradbury
And The Avett Brothers
And blow my wishes
to scatter the seeds
I observe moss on the rocks
And dream of the fairies who visit at night
Knowing it’s all pretend
Think of how we used to pretend
Give each other different names
Like Twenty-One Pilots
And I hum the song
Wish we could turn back time
I catch the sun
Filtering through the trees
Making shadows on my arm
While the birds sing
A song I do not know
I see beauty in the wildflowers
Beauty in the ruins
And I walk on
Ruby by my side
Man’s best friend
And mine, too.
August, 1992, was when we moved from Orange Park to Lake Wales, Florida. The second week there our youngest celebrated her third birthday. Then south Florida was hit by Hurricane Andrew. Though it was south of us, it was frightening watching it unfold on the news, tracking its path, just in case. Which is what we always do in Florida.
“Except for that pesky hurricane, Andrew, the summer of 1992 was magic.” – Rick Bragg
Today we are once again watching a story unfold that is bigger in scope than the hurricane. It sometimes seems distant, this coronavirus, but not for long. Most times it seems like it’s at our doorstep. But, we couldn’t stop the hurricane, or all the other hurricanes, so we just prepared the best we could. Same as today.
In 2004, we hunkered down with our newlywed son and his bride when Charley came barreling toward us. This time it was one day before that youngest daughter’s birthday. And the same day our older daughter arrived home from overseas, landing in Orlando in the midst of the chaos.
That was the year that three hurricanes crossed over our home in Winter Haven. Charley – Frances – Jeanne. Ivan also hit Florida north of us.
I don’t really know what point I’m making here except that I am grateful God has brought us through all these storms. I am praying he will bring my family safely through this current storm. I want to be able say, like Rick Bragg, that except for that pesky virus, the spring of 2020 was magic.
I am so sad about a bird. I don’t know his name, but he has been diligently building a nest under the roof that hangs over our front door. It is a very muddy, messy undertaking.
A few days ago we had our house pressure washed in preparation for putting it on the market. The guy who washed that area told me he knocked down a nest and that there were no eggs in it. I didn’t even know it was there; I thought it was a mess that had been made by dirt-daubers.
The bird began rebuilding. My husband knocked it down again and sprayed a lubricant to try to discourage the bird. But, he was back again yesterday Again, hubby cleaned it off and put a foam roller piece there to discourage the bird, but he’s back again today building on top of the foam . . I am sad about having to get rid of the home he is building. If circumstances were different I would leave it there.
I don’t think it is a sparrow, it looks like a bigger bird. I had to read up on sparrows. Turns out they are quite social. The article I read said there is a lot of communal chirping before and after the birds settle in the roost in the evening. Sounds just like my grandchildren!!
I’m going to put this Bible verse here just because I can:
“I lie awake and am like a sparrow on the housetop.” – Psalm 102:7
I wonder if the Psalmist was talking to his wife, or if he had thoughts in his head and was talking to himself. I imagine many of us are lying awake talking to ourselves at night these days.
In the middle of a very rainy winter, when it seems like spring will never come, I welcome the sunshine. I head to Red Mountain Park and am never disappointed. There, amidst the lifeless flora, I can always find some green. Sometimes a flower, even though considered a weed, peeps out below my feet to remind me that spring will come.
I find the abandoned railroad tracks where trees have grown up in the middle.
When my mind is burdened with thoughts and decisions that need to be made, I can find a calm. Though I return home with those decisions still unmade, the burden seems less. I not only have the assurance of spring, but the assurance that my future is in God’s hands, just like spring.
See, you can only live one day at a time
Only drive one hot rod at a time
Only say one word at a time
And only think one thought at a time
And every soul is alone when the day becomes night
And there in the dark if you can try to see the light
In the most pitch black shape of the loneliest shadow
Well then you ought to sleep well
‘Cause there’s hope for sure
High Steppin’/The Avett Brothers
“I asked the sea and the deeps, and the living, creeping things,
and they answered, ’We are not your God, seek above us.’….
I asked the sun, moon, stars, ‘Nor are we the God whom you seek.’
And I replied…’You have told me of my God, that you are not He; tell me something of Him.’ and they cried with a loud voice, ‘He made us.’” – Confessions of St. Augustine
This week I was confronted with such diverse thoughts concerning God’s creation. At school yesterday, I showed a PBS video called “The Whale Detective” that made me once again marvel at the way God, in His infinite wisdom, created animals with such variety and with marvelous features.
Psalm 93:4 – The Lord on high is mightier Than the noise of many waters, Than the mighty waves of the sea.
Later, in another class, I talked to a girl about an article she had to read about Greta Thunberg. It was very hard not to give her my full opinion. I don’t want to sound like I have my head in the sand, but I know whatever climate change is actually going on is ordained by God. I don’t plan to be wasteful or foolish, but I just don’t understand how sane people can vote this screaming, obvious emotionally impaired young girl as Person of the Year.
“Your grandma always had a terrible sense of direction. She could get lost on an escalator.” – – from And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer by Fredrik Backman
It’s funny that this could describe me and my mother, yet it never stopped her and doesn’t stop me from having adventures. Mom would pack her pistol for protection and her machete for whacking away grass and weeds in the cemeteries she visited and she’d hit the road for Georgia. She would get her sisters and they would visit court houses and cemeteries and woods in search of long lost ancestors. This was all without GPS and, in the beginning, without internet. Finally, the last time she visited my Aunt Betty, when Mom was 81 or 82, she got lost because Aunt Betty had moved to a new place. She decided then that she would not go back again alone. But she was never able to go back again at all after that, anyway. I know my Aunt misses her and her visits terribly.
I , however, have the technological benefits and I still get turned around. I’ve taken much longer then intended hikes and made many an unnecessary U-Turn because I second guessed myself. I am not afraid, usually. but there was this one time when I got a little panicky because night was coming on and my daughter and I were out in a kayak and heading in the wrong direction. We passed some fishermen on a boat who looked familiar (we’d passed them once already) and shouted out to them. They pointed us in the right direction and we paddled like mad to get back before dark and before the kayak rental place closed. We made it, but just barely.
So, even without a sense of direction, my sense of adventure is still intact. And for that I’m glad.
Yesterday I got off work early and was able to hike around at Moss Rock Preserve with Ruby before the sun set. At 4:51 pm. Blasted Daylight Savings Time. The fall colors were absolutely magnificent. The weather was perfect. The company was amicable.
I came across two brothers who were rock climbing while their mom took pictures and video. I watched a minute from the top of a boulder opposite the activity. The older boy was hoisting the younger one up with a rope and pulley system of some sort. My path crossed theirs a little later and they were still having fun.
As I approached the waterfall area I came across a man, younger than me I think, helping an elderly couple in their seventies to get down the rocky path along the waterfall. Which could hardly be called a waterfall, more a water trickle But, I digress. I could tell from the snatches of conversation I heard these people didn’t know each other. Just one person giving a helping hand.
After I wandered around above the “falls” and crossed over, I sat a few minutes to just enjoy the scenery and let Ruby lap up some water. She started a little low growling as a man approached from behind, taking pictures. When he came into my sightline I saw he was wearing a Georgia Bulldogs shirt. I told Ruby he was not the enemy and then I told him I liked his shirt. That opened the door for a little conversation. He graduated from the University of Georgia ten years ago. We talked about different places to hike in the area and then I went on my way.
I came up on the elderly couple again and slowed my pace to stay behind them. Which was pretty slow since my pace is already slow. The man turned to me and began a conversation. His name is Bo, hers is Joan. He asked me where I go to church, then proceeded to tell me all about his.
Ruby and I then tried to get ahead of them by taking a different path but ended up right behind them again. No matter, we were almost back to the entrance.
Usually when I hike it’s pretty quiet. I hardly ever engage in a lot of conversation. But you never know. I’d much rather run into someone who wants to talk than to run into another copperhead snake.