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
“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.
In anticipation of The Avett Brothers concert on October 25th, I am writing a series of blog posts connecting some of their lyrics to words of some of my favorite authors.
“The sound of the sea is the most time-effacing sound there is.” E.B. White
I grew up minutes from the beach in Jacksonville, Florida. White is right. The sound of the sea brings me a peace that takes me back to childhood. There is nothing like the salty air blowing your hair, the ebb and flow of the tide, the calling of the gulls to each other.
At the Beach is one of my favorite Avett Brothers songs.
Now they’re under, under, underneath a big umbrella
Summer, summer, summer time to help us forget, nine to fives
We have got to leave all that behind
So I bragged on facebook about my winning poems. This is the first time I’ve ever won anything for my poetry, so I’m pretty encouraged. I joined the ASPS – Alabama State Poetry Society and submitted about 15 poems in different categories/contests, and three were chosen.
Category 9: Thelassic Poem – 3rd Honorable Mention
that July morning
at Siesta Key
a delegation of starfish
drew us all together
as we dipped our toes
in the warm gulf waters
beachgoers laughing and squealing
pointing and talking to each other
splashing and swimming
among the starfish that day
we formed a temporary friendship
over the joy of the ocean’s offerings
years later across the land
“Remember when” will be heard
and tales of the starfish
will be told
Category 2: The Mary (Mickey) Cleverdon Memorial Award – 3rd Place
Music of Creation
The music of the woods
Is not just the song of the bird
But the beat of the brook
The harmony of wind and leaf
A twig, a scamper, layers
The music of the ocean
Is not just the cry of the gulls
But the crash of the waves
The melody of wind and water
A splash, a scrape, laughter
The music of the snow
Is not just the hoot of the owl
But the patter of flakes
The rhythm of wind and white
A crunch, a frost, whispers
The music of the world
Is not just a song, a cry, a hoot
It’s beating, crashing, pattering
It’s harmony, melody and rhythm
A symphonious creation
Category 3: A Spiritual Journey – 1st Place
Are there only ten instructions?
I can do that
I believe in God
You know, GOD
I don’t have any statues in my house
Football trophies don’t count, right?
OMG- that’s not really saying it, right?
Yes, I call myself a Christian
I go to the early service
(Doesn’t interfere with the game)
Yes, sir/No, sir
That’s so old fashioned
Murder in my heart? My thoughts count?
Honestly, I only buy it for the articles
It’s not plagiarism if I change a couple words
Little white lies don’t hurt anyone
Who in the world are Ananias and Sapphira? A rock band?
No, I don’t want my neighbor’s truck
I want my own
What? I thought you said ten
There are only really two?
Why didn’t you say so?
With ALL my heart, soul, and mind?
That’s a tough one
I like my neighbors – I always wave
I even put money in that kettle every December
Love them as much as I love me?
I’ll get back to you
Mr. Kohlah (after losing an eye) said that was all right. “One eye is sufficient for the hings I am looking forward to seeing,” he smiled, touching his wife’s swollen belly. Whereas, he added, the ugliness of the world would now trouble him only half as much – from A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry
I am thankful for the two eyes I had to take in the beauty of the redwoods. Pictures just can’t do justice to the sheer hugeness of these gentle giants.
We drove back north a ways to begin the day at Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park. Here we got upclose and personal with the big guys.
I always love when I stumble upon something someone else has made or left behind, such as a cairn.
After enjoying the redwoods, we headed for Crescent City. Although we were able to find some pockets of beauty, this little town was a disappointment as far as my expectations went. Perhaps it would be better to visit this area in the summer.
The lighthouse I was hoping to explore was unreachable. I should have read this:
“Visits to the Battery Point Lighthouse and Island are only possible at low tides. Extreme care and caution should be used when crossing the two hundred feet between the mainland and island anytime wave action may cover the crossing area. Sneaker waves at any time can threaten visitors standing on or near the rocks and the shore of Battery Point Island. ”
I did read more about it after the trip and there is a fascinating story HERE about the time Crescent City was hit by a tsunami in 1964.
We still had fun exploring a bit …
and I spotted Sasquatch near the lighthouse!
We also went to The Trees of Mystery, but I’ll save that for another post.
The PAD prompt for Day 14 was the word “report”. Here’s mine.
April in the South
Canceled plans for the day
Checked radios and batteries
All day long the weatherman predicts
But no one really knows
Just when and where
In the backyard cardinals gather
Do they understand?
Where will they shelter when the storms arrive?
A breeze belies what is to come
A brief reprieve in the heavy air
Pressing all around
A pale haze under darkening skies
Last year I wrote a poem a day for PAD, Writer’s Digest’s Poem A Day challenge: the prompt for day 23 was “footwear”. I instantly thought about the excitement of my first winter in Birmingham when I got to wear boots day after day. And then I thought of 2015 when I was hiking in Montana. After a hard trek to Iceberg Lake, I took off my hiking boots and plunged my feet into the water that was about 40 degrees. Needless to say, I barely lasted 15 seconds.
Once again it’s boot weather here in Alabama and I still love the look and comfort of all my boots!
I was so pleased to move
to a place
where I could buy boots
and actually wear them
That first boot winter
was so much fashion fun
Those boots gave me
warmth and style
Gray, brown, black –
I loved them all
But by month six
My Florida feet were
longing to be set free
A Walk in the Woods
there in pieces of sunlight
through pieces of shadowlight
cardinal swoops down, takes flight
filtered memories alight
anchored by sound and by sight
lifted by a breeze so light
scamper of chittering squirrel
dreams unfurled are not finite
This poem was written in response to a Wednesday Prompt , pieces, by Robert Brewer, using the Cyrch a Chwta poem form. Cyrch a Chwta is a Welsh poetic form which involves both end rhyme and internal (or cross) rhymes.
You may also enjoy this “pieces” poem by Sarah Lea: The First Mr. DeWinter .
Way back in 1954, E.B. White had this to say when speaking of Henry David Thoreau:
“In our uneasy season, when all men unconsciously seek a retreat from a world that has got almost completely out of hand, his house in the Concord woods is a haven. In our culture of gadgetry and the multiplicity of conveniences his cry, ‘Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity!’ has the insistence of a fire alarm.”
Oh, if Thoreau could only see us now! Talk about a culture of gadgetry! Yesterday, one of my students told me he was tired because he was up late.
“Homework?” I asked, though that was purely wishful thinking.
“I was texting,” he replied.
I wonder what Thoreau would have thought if he’d seen an irobot self-propelled vacuum cleaner. Or a Keurig. Or a Kindle.
I am not advocating for a house in the Concord woods, though a nice little woodsy retreat would be nice. And I don’t think we need to live like the Amish. But, I do think we could all do with a little less tech and a little slower pace.