My father was a quiet man, as men born then often were, the world so different then. Orphaned at 10, scarcely educated, lived through WWI and the Great US Depression, and fought at Pearl Harbor. These things all left scars.
When the boys came home from war he tried to live a normal life. Married at 40 and father at 42, life moved on. Still horrid memories followed. He stored canned goods in the cellar, woke frequently with bad nightmares, and drank when no one was looking.
I hold one treasured childhood memory of the two of us. At about age four, I sat on his knee as he sang. He wasn’t a singing man. Don’t think I ever heard him sing again. I recall the curves of his face as he smiled a big toothy grin. As I bounced to his sour tune, my heart was made sweet. Looking in his dark brown eyes I heard him say, “But the Yellow Rose of Texas is the only girl for me.” For those tender moments the scars of sorrow had melted away.
Yellow is the rose…
forward to the Promised Land;
where songs will blossom.
“The Yellow Rose of Texas” was made popular by Mitch Miller in 1955. The US song dates back to the states Civil War times. It’s lyrics have changed, as history passes. It topped the music charts from February to October back in 1955. There’s another rose dear to me. “For it we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus.” I Thessalonians 4:14
As an infant, I recall the old maple tree’s leaf shadows frolicking across the bedroom walls. This is my earliest memory. The umbra of the crib sheltered me while the flicker of light played tag with the afternoon shade. I must have pondered this display, as a child does in the newness of the world, for the memories have traveled a lifetime’s journey.
Now, I play shadow games with my grandchildren. We stroll darken forest paths or build sand castles in the shade of another maple tree, as the sweltering sun hangs in the summer sky. The same sun, but new shadows fill my days. The crib no longer my sanctuary; I am hidden under the care of something, SOMEONE, greater.
Above… heaven’s gate;
souls seek refuge in shadows.
The Almighty waits…
“He who dwells in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.” Psalm 91:1
Who doesn’t remember playing with shadows? Over at dVerse poets are taking shadows to the next step. Stop in.
An enduring whippoorwill;
I heard upon waterbed drift lonesome.
Heard its mournful echo faint and hollow…
Its whimper wooed, wooed, wooed;
endless whoop, ever wakeful summon
high upon a darken limb.
Bring forth… what image I
encompass, loosen in undying universe;
boundless, pondering, mulling, casting
tracing voice to correlate human notes.
Yet what link will be tossed to trust?
Yet what docile message is revealed?
Yet the call embraces still night air;
flows rivers of eternal hope.
“But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him.
They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. Jeremiah 17:7
I eat my meals in odd portions. An appetizer is an early morning prayer walk, as sunrise filters through budding trees. Main course is my quiet time as I page through the Bible feasting on meat sometimes new and often familiar. Dessert comes as twilight approaches; a stroll through savory woods with a song of sweet worship in my heart. It is good to be grateful for daily nutrition. Craving for the best God has for each of us. I like to think of it as, “Chef’s Special.”
Dawn’s rising portion…
timber, table, time, and trust;
an eternal feast.
“And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.” John 6:35 Over at dVerse we’re severing dinner, stop and see what’s on the spring menu.
It is often I scamper to the woods to wash my thoughts of day. Beneath the forest crown, upon the threshing floor, and within the arms of watchful limbs I plunge sure-footed down wooded lane. Breathe in the mollify melody of birds among the trees. Feel the ease of earth between my toes. Inhale the woodsy scents of bud and rot. All enhance my taste of what lies beyond each winding bend.
It need not be swells of spring where sticky cobweb clings to hair. Nor sultry summer day as broad leaves waltz in wind. I anticipate the warmth of autumn’s glow, its blush bittersweet hues. Winter is when true forest cleansing scrubs from head to toe. Like icing on a cake, the trees are dressed in white. I sense a deeper purging… a pouring out of now and then.
cling to crusty bark woes settled on thin shoulders Refreshing forest
I had no idea all these years I’ve been ‘forest bathing’. Stop over at dVerse to see what it’s all about. “Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.” Psalm 51:7.
Cat died today, faithful felon of old: my foot warmer, security blanket, and endless friend. I’m unprepared for grief. Let the cat in, let the cat out is no longer a routine in my day. As day breaks with morning’s new sunrise I will ponder how to fill the empty corners of life.
“O death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory.” With cat’s passing I ponder death and loss: the unborn, the war orphan and the unexpected loss. I’m told we shall not all sleep, instead be changed. This soul will be given a new body. I will weigh the balances of life and death.
As days and weeks melt this grief I choose to move forward. Embrace someone who suffers more than I. Grasp the hope of each new day. Yet in the crook of some days I’ll page through the memories of cat and I… cat died today.
Over at dVerse we’re investigating prose poetry. Dedicated to Rachael who lost her cat today and being encouraged by I Corinthians 15:55 I attempts the intangible… prose poetry.
How effortless it’s to wiggle between tree line
where critter jiggles from oaks onto pines;
till somber, slate storm cloud wriggles and whines.
Wayward giggles lost among leafy vines.
Staggered squiggles of peace with worn twine;
as low-spirited heart may sorrow till morning shines.
“Even in laughter the heart may sorrow…” Proverbs 14:13 Over at dVerse it’s all about giggles.
I meander thawing meadow path. My grandson trails behind. Above a sandhill crane soars across muted sky. Mud caked hove prints cover our way. I gaze at my grandson. His eyes filled with wonder, as he freely asks questions. Questions about the nature of life. Trotting on through woods we spot the crane atop marsh ice. We linger in awe. The best things in life are freely enjoyed in a moment of time.
scarlet masked crane
hidden behind brittle grass
plumage reveals all
“Children’s children are the crown of old men, and the glory of children is their father.” Proverbs 17:6 Linking up at dVerse for a look at things free in life.
Pain comes and days draw nigh as I birr to my fortress. My keep, a sanctuary of stability, reminds me life is vaster than misery. It makes naught the storm or season for I am steadfast. Roots, tendrils, sweep deep drinking rivers of fresh waters. Gales rip at unripe fruit; I surrender not a leaf.
Visiting my massive maple tree which sits atop our highest kettled hill brings comfort. Below a marshy pond houses many critters. With late months of winter arriving, the marsh and tree come alive with song of birds. The sun warms cold flesh and I am refreshed. Not only now, but during my times of struggle I revisit this image and am reminded, as a child of God, I am firmly planted and can stand firm because I’m not alone.
steeple soaring sky,
ebony silhouette show;
my soul now aglow!
Inspired from Psalm One and encouraged by dVerse to the marriage of verse and artwork on Haibun Monday I present In the Word. It is said we are what we eat, but I wonder if what we read shapes who we are?