How dreary thorns in flesh?
Russet hues in wintry light;
against dismal resting earth.
It’s here first snow appears;
scatters crystals among trees,
interrupts rioting leaves of fall.
Where comes storehouses of snow?
God binds them in unreachable homes;
unleashing flakes at His sovereign will.
A child sees first snow differently,
when mossy earth is laden white;
over, over, and over again anew.
Yet time will come, snow shall melt,
life’s bleakness fade; in last of days
and earth made new again, as snow.
“… no more death or mourning
or crying or pain, for the former
thing have passed away.”
My eleven year old granddaughter shared a slice of wisdom with me the other day. I told her it was going to snow. She said, “Its first snow!” with a tone of excitement. “It already snowed this year,” I simply replied. “But it hasn’t snowed for awhile,” said she. Looking at the bare landscape I saw tawny trees, exposed earth, and stately green pine’s lack of decorations. It was then I understood the importance of snow to her. Let’s be reminded, as we struggle through the season of celebration, whatever came to one’s door unwelcome will one day pass away. Like melting snow, will disappear and all will be made new by a sovereign God.
From solstice to equinox;
it crosses winter’s ray.
Admired the woodchuck,
on his groundhog’s day.
Yet, the busy muskrat
chases Eternal clouds away.
Grassy tower stands…
it stirs, shifts, and sways.
Till… last of days.
“As water disappears from the sea,
And a river becomes parched and dries up,
So man lies down and does not rise.
Till the heavens are no more,
They will not awake
Nor be roused from their sleep.”
Job 14: 11-12
We know so much about the groundhog, but it’s the muskrat that stays awake all winter at water’s edge munching on grasses. He’s a busy little thing piling up a tower of reeds and marsh debris to make his cozy abode. I’d say there’s poetry in that… just as you will find over at dVerse, as poets use their imagination with a form of the word “poem”.
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.