Camera’s click, image freeze
Warm smiles on cold faces
As we crowd close amidst snow,
Family beaming, though we know,
Time’s not our captive really
– this moment – it’s retreating
Laughter, youth, perfume
Life consumes and we venerate
the shell in which the snail once lived.
Penned Winter 2014, post freezing cold family photo session.
The pavement of poplar’s palace
grows, decays, shivers in autumn air
Yellow-veined leaves brown, crumble, crunch
and more humble growth stretches through.
Flat, striped green hands bear bright berries
that shine amidst fallen trees – the lofty lowered,
the small softly creeping through leafless limbs.
Though never to reach and reign above this forest floor
here tiny flora rules over bowing branch.
Looking at a forest’s floor told me this: You may be the tallest poplar, the greatest kingdom, the most successful man, but you are slated to fall, to someday see the smallest rule above you. Your power is eternally insignificant, your boasts are wasted breath… unless you boast in Christ.
“God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things…to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before Him. ” -1 Corinthians 1:28,29
So long since last I’d paused, plucked
from stiff stem an airy puff –
lifted cloud of seeds and breathed
to watch brown-footed wisps let go
to soar and settle like warm snow.
There are things in life we stop doing. We stop spinning circles while staring at blue sky, letting our vision twist and our feet falter for the sake of a reckless joy. We stop delighting in chill of running through a haze of cold raindrops, soaking ourselves with a smile. We stop plucking dandelions gone to seed and with a puff of air sending white wisps soaring.
We think we stop because these actions do not make sense. They do not accomplish anything. They are not useful to an adult world. But maybe, maybe, we are wrong…because to feel that small thrill is worth something. To delight in something inconsequential and even uncomfortable is simple practice. Practice in wonder. We will someday have an eternity to be awestruck – will we know how? Will we know how to delight? Perhaps we have been training ourselves in oblivion to glory. Perhaps are we teaching ourselves immunity to grateful wonder.
If in a quest for maturity we forever throw away displays of delight (blowing dandelion seeds, perhaps?) I think we begin throw away the fullness of child-like faith – a beautiful and foolish faith. An awestruck faith.
You are a globe of black stars
nesting in papery beige-tipped green
Curious head, surrounding seed
fulfillment of creamy blossom’s dream.
Most beautiful as your life recedes –
you’re dying, crisp stars drying, dropping
from their cosmos, diving into earth
– strange bearers of new hope.
I intend to live alive. I desire to see each dawning day with fresh eyes. And here, on this blog, I hope to capture somehow in text the joy, the wonder, the miracle of being a woman alive in a hand-crafted world.
Do you ever think about being alive? About breaths inhaled, heartbeats, constant messages delivered from brain to limb? About shimmering dew-dipped flower petals, the green scent of grass, the tuneful whispers of insects? Does it every strike you as a miracle? I admit I often forget to wonder, for days upon days, weeks upon weeks that could easily extend into years, into a lifetime of unawareness. But somehow, something always seems to nudge me as monotony’s chill settles in, and I recall that I live within a poem – an entire galaxy of unwritten poetry, waiting to be seen by me.
The last nudge was a novel. Manalive, by G.K. Chesterton. The beauty of books is that they are mysterious, don’t you think? You dive into them blind, not knowing if they will slap you with shallow, rock-laiden nothingness or lower you softly into new depths of color and life and beauty. Anyways… Manalive was for me a revelation. It is perhaps an odd story. Certainly an odd story. It is the story of one man who broke all the conventions, and none of the commandments. A man on a quest to be fully alive. Who aimed revolvers at intellectuals to make them admit they treasured life. Who left his home and walked around the world that he might come back to it. Who “met” his wife over and over, that he might have the pleasure of marrying her again and again. Who infected all around him with an unexpected, child-like love of life. I met this man, Innocent Smith, in the pages of a novel and I envied him. And then I awoke from the story, and was cut by the knowledge that there was not a reason on earth that I could not approach life as he did.
So. Here we are. I have no intention of purchasing a revolver or trekking across hemispheres. But I may perhaps twirl like a little girl, blow dandelion dust recklessly, sing to empty fields or stare awestruck at the markings of a lone petal. I may do many strange things, and I may tell you about them – if they keep me living alive. If they keep me amazed and awed by the wonder here… wherever here may be.