How Will I find You?

Thinking one day of my mortality and the next dimension, my thoughts turned to Julie, my wife, my love, and how I would find her there in the land that only the soul can know. These are the words that came to me:

*

How Will I Find You?

 There in the light blue sky

Where I look for your face

In the soft white puff of cloud?

 There in the empty chair

Where you once quietly sat

In the room of my solitude?

 There in the now barren garden

Where I once watched you

Kneeling, planting your seeds?

 There along the pristine beach

Where we collected sea glass

Among the gulls and shells?

 Where will you be when I am

In the shadows of tomorrow

A man lost in youth’s sorrow?

 How will I find you, my love

Knowing not where to look

In such a strange new world?

 When my timid spirit wavers 

There in that unknown land

How will you return to me?

 In the darkness that is death

What is God’s demand of me

To atone for sins of life?

 Why does this most peculiar

Etching of words play so

Strongly upon my defiled soul?

*

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The Essence of Love

The Essence of Love

During the soothing touches of my massage by a good and lovely wife, we chatted about one of our pets… Thought the story of how we met our little cottontail rabbit and our seven-year love affair might have some soft and tender moments to convey. This morning is bleak, gray, and looks like snow. The trees are stark and sad without their leaves against the gray backdrop. It is much like the day ‘Christmas’ came into our lives.

Julie and I lived in Cave Creek, Arizona with Toby, our beautiful and faithful golden retriever. It was Christmas night around 10:30 PM and Julie took Toby out into our front courtyard for a tinkle session and to turn off the holiday lights on the few small trees and bushes. Julie heard a quick rasping sound among the gravel and brush. Toby suddenly assumed his retriever pose near our courtyard wall of stucco.

Toby maintained his pose there in the courtyard looking somewhat dumbfounded with his head arching downward and trying to see what the squeaky-sounding creature might be quivering under this furry body. Julie saw that it was a small cottontail rabbit, obviously recently born, seeking refuge under Toby’s body. Julie picked the tiny rabbit up and put it in the palm of her hand. She could see from the holiday lights that some animal, perhaps a coyote, had caused some serious damage to the rabbit. It had one eye missing and its small head was bloody and appeared just recently attacked.

With Toby softly moaning at her side, Julie carefully carried the cottontail into the house and began her miracle nursing. She wrapped the one-eyed cottontail in a small blanket, found in our garage an old cage we had once kept our lop-eared rabbit, Gigi, and put her tiny wounded creature inside. Julie put the cage and rabbit in the room she used as an office, with Toby still softly moaning and keeping careful watch.

The next morning Julie went to see a Veterinarian friend nearby and was told that the most humane thing to do would be to put the rabbit out of its misery. What the Vet did not know was that my wife is a true animal lover and refused to take to heart her pronouncement. Julie persisted, and the Vet finally gave her a small doll’s bottle for feeding, some kitten formula, and recommended that Visine drops be put in the rabbit’s good eye, that Neosporin be used on the gashed head, and that the formula be fed every two hours..

Julie returned home to find Toby in a state of frenzy. The cottontail had somehow managed to get out of the cage. Julie finally found the rabbit under her desk near the cage. Then Julie began the steady nursing and rehabilitation of the tiny desert cottontail. Every two hours, Julie brought our new pet, ‘Christmas’, out to the great room, wrapped in its blanket, fed it and tended to the wounds. The incredible thing was that Toby played Dad and Mom to this little furry creature, nosing its little bottom up in the littler box to make it go potty.

For me, it was a remarkable period as I watched all of this play out over the following days and weeks. Julie is the most patient and caring person I know. She loves animals, family, and children more than anyone I have ever known. She even loves me, and I consider myself one of the luckiest men in the world.

‘Christmas’ moved with us to a lake community and thrived with her daily routines of treats, going to her guest bedroom hideout under the bed, returning to Julie’s office to be fed. Julie was the only person that ‘Christmas’ would allow lap time. And, after seven years with us, that is where ‘Christmas’ died, on Julie’s lap. It was early morning and Julie had come to her office where ‘Christmas’ litter box and feeding took place. Julie would habitually hide little treats around the office for ‘Christmas’ to find. This particular morning, all ‘Christmas’ wanted was to go on Julie’s lap.

We all cried, even Toby, when ‘Christmas’ died. She had become part of our family. I found a shoe box, lined it with tissue and a treat, and placed ‘Christmas’ in it. Julie, Toby, and I drove some miles to the country, found an old gnarled oak tree near a farmer’s field and, after a few words of love, buried ‘Christmas’ there.

Even in writing this, in the remembrance, tears easily come.

Perhaps, that is the essence of love. Perhaps that is why God gave us enduring souls.

***

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The Forest And The Trees

The Forest And The Trees

With the exception of a grand view across the canyon to the bluff on the other side, our relatively new home is surrounded by hardwood trees, Maple and Oak for the most part. When my wife Julie, cat George, and I arrived on Tennessee’s Cumberland Plateau at the end of July the trees were full and green all around us but for that aforementioned grand bluff view. So, for most of our four acres I could look into the forest and see very little, not our nearest neighbors north and south, maybe an occasional deer, hawk, squirrel, or wild turkey. I could see our driveway snaking up and through the trees to the main road into our place and this somehow gave me a modest and odd feeling of comfort.

Now, with most of the leaves gone from the trees I can see the neighbors’ houses and more clearly some of the critters that inhabit with us our acreage. There is now a barren sense to the landscape, a lonely quality, and it is now the beginning of the time when we eagerly await the arrival of spring and new growth.

Well, with my mind and this quiet, infertile surrounding I leap to the state of our lives and the seemingly unproductive mechanism of our government. Some could argue that it has been a constant fall in the beltway with the shedding of decency, duty, and honesty, like the leaves on the trees.

I know politics is a dangerous subject in which to segue into, but it seems to me we have reached some sort of critical mass in Washington. No matter the side of your political leaning it is rather difficult not to notice the great abyss separating ‘we the people’ from our leaders. For me, a Christian and a man of faith, you already know my leaning side.

After five years of the current administration, at the beginning in control of both houses of congress and the presidency, what we have is a rudderless ship and a captain still making his promises of change. When will we get the message? The president is not a leader. He is a campaigner, a charming and eloquent rogue who is slowly taking our country away from us, we who still believe in freedom and liberty. He wants the government to control our lives, knowing better than we what is good for us… May I refer you to the recent Affordable Health Care Act? It is an act few people have read or totally understand, even the president.  But we are surely finding out about the AHCA and a website that just does not want it…along with many people.

He deceives us, gets re-elected with deception and with promises to the entitlement folks. He wishes to redistribute what earnings we might make and give them to those who have found it easier to live on welfare. (Don’t get me wrong. We must help those among us who truly need our help.) The president and his administrative functionaries will give us few or no answers to questions of vital importance… Like, Benghazi, the IRS targeting, et al. What do we need for further proof of where this president wants to lead us? History has shown us this place he wishes to lead us is not a good place. Is it not time for action? Not civil unrest! Not revolution! We need some strong voices, petitions, from ‘we the people’ to force a detour back to common sense and the US Constitution.

The president has had five years to show us his change. I’ve seen his change and do not like it. Initially, I was one of many who hoped he could deliver on his promises. He and his people work for us and their job performance is deplorable. If we must be in this place for another three years, can we at least use the mid-term elections in 2014 to alter the senate? Can we make Harry Reid in the senate and Nancy Pelosi in the house non-factors?

I am not a pundit. I’m just a US citizen who is very concerned about the state of our union. I’m currently writing a book from my ‘Joe Public’ perspective on politics. The book will make me many enemies, I’m sure, just as this post likely will, but perhaps there are some kindred souls out there who feel much the same.

Oh! I started with the forest and the trees, leaves falling, barren waste, views? That’s the nature of my mind…to wander and wonder.

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Colorful Shedding

Colorful Shedding

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A blogger buddy of mine, Jill Weatherholt, mentioned some weeks ago that she would like to see the fall colors on the trees around our new Tennessee home. So, I’m sending a couple of pictures, along with some rambling commentary…

Here at this time of year on Tennessee’s Cumberland Plateau among the maple and oak trees the profusion of color delights the senses and it brings out the philosophical and the soulful part of me. My words will not come as terribly original, but they are important for me to say them. Other artists and poets have captured these thoughts and moments for centuries. I wish only to respond to some compelling desire within me.

There is the obvious planetary orbiting of our spinning orb that brings us to this time of year, designed by God or by the ‘Big Bang’ – a choice that divides many of us humans. If you have read some of my previous blog posts and books, my choice would be quite obvious. In my finite mind it is incomprehensible that a ‘Big Bang’ brought such planetary order, the seasons, you and me. The fact that the human mind can create language and words that can titillate us in so many ways, that a particular hand and brush can paint a masterpiece, that other hands can build cities, bridges, roads, or a magnificent sculpture, it all speaks for me of the soul of Man – of the darkness that abides therein for some or the unlimited joy and vivacity of others. Mother Teresa said, “Life is beauty, admire it.” So I do and shall.

It is that time of year when nature speaks to us in subtle ways. Of course, there is a scientific way of describing fall, the bountiful leaves of so many dazzling colors and their falling to put their branches barren until the spring. It is the time of year when old men feel the cold, see the shedding of the beautiful leaves, and yearn for youth that is lost to them but happy to know they live on and can rejoice in their accomplishments. It is that time of year that signifies the shedding those parts of you that have disappointed and kept you frustrated. For some, it is that time of year when they think about the natural order of things and prepare to give thanks to God for their blessings. For others, it is a time of weeping for a lost loved one and troubles that are difficult to bear.

Here on the Cumberland Plateau I’m absorbed in brilliantly colored leaves, watching them slowly drop to the ground and on my deck for sweeping. A year ago I was on the Sea of Cortez in Mexico living on the beach. The southern boy has returned home but he still carries the vision of the sea and small fishing village he left a few months ago. Now, instead of the sparkling cobalt beauty of the ‘Cortez’ stretching to a horizon of poets dreams, I sit and gaze across a spectacular canyon of trees and river, watch the multi-colored leaves float in the breeze, fancy myself a poet, and dream… As English Romantic poet John Keats so eloquently put it: “A thing of beauty is a joy forever.”

There are no regrets in my return to Tennessee, so, sorry, Thomas Wolfe, I could and did come home again. With my wanderlust nature, where could I be next year at this time? Where it is that I might be at any given year, the memories and the beauty of my past moments will gather like these falling leaves. As Mother Teresa also said: “Life is a dream, realize it.”

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