Open

Some of us are open; freely sharing all the good there is within—all the treasures, all the wisdom, all the tiny bits of gemstone beauty. Openly sharing, openly giving, openly bringing the good that we possess to light the world around us.

Some of us are more reserved; holding the most valuable, ruby-jeweled truths inside, protected and preserved as precious nuggets not to be carelessly scattered or unreservedly given away. Preferring a somewhat judicious and well-timed dispersement as appropriately best procedure.

And so the tree of life holds variations of the same fruit. Some will be harvested as their peak of perfection has reached its fullest. Some will cling to what feels secure until they wither, remaining fully intact yet their prime will have passed without one bit of nectar ever touching another living soul whether human or bird or any other. Perhaps like a bottle of fine wine being deemed so very precious then saved for a special moment that never comes. What should have been savored has now soured. Perhaps the seeds of those held back for “someday” will fall to the ground and in time produce new life. Who can tell?

Some though . . . some burst forth with a glorious display of truth, beauty, music, history, art, and all other wonders they can find no earthly reason to hold inside. They simply burst because there is remarkable beauty and inexplicable wonder to share.

And they are open.

Detour

The main thing was getting home. The few days away from my usual schedule had come to an end and the road leading back to my everyday life was a-callin’. This wasn’t the first time someone told me I HAD to stop in on this little place the next time a road trip led me this way. A hot coffee and fresh chocolate croissant ALWAYS sounds good day or night so this time it was less of an, “IF I have time” thing and more of an intention to detour.

I must say, the coffee was as good as they’d promised. Locals were enjoying a late breakfast over gossip about so and so. Others stopped in for their orders of freshly baked loaves—solid, seeded, organic-ingredient looking loaves. The restroom had 1940’s era memorabilia of the Queen and her handsome husband. Quite nice, squeaky clean and tastefully done. And then there was the bakery’s exterior. Turns out it was even less of a “non-descript hole in the wall” than had been described and I would have gone past if not for Siri.

But soon on the highway again with 200 miles until home the concept of “detour” kept turning around in my head. So many life defining experiences seem to unfold as the result of a detour; a change of direction, a cautionary sign, a closed road. While on our way to something else, one small change of our pre-determined plans, one slight turn sets us onto a path we may not have chosen but was meant to be.

Sometimes I choose the detour. Sometimes it chooses me.

Fourteen Days

Public Service Announcement

It’s still fall, y’all.

Autumn is still in full force for another fourteen gloriously crisp-aired days. But wait, if that’s so, then where have the all the pumpkins gone? All the heaped up piles of rustling leaves, the raggedy scare crow and dried up stalks of corn? I tell myself its over but the calendar totally disagrees.

As I noted, this is merely a public service announcement . . . and with it a non-award winning poem:

“How many days until Christmas,” you ask?

(How many more days of Fall?)

There are nineteen days left til that morning,

But still fourteen more days of the fall!

Have a great autumn day . . . 🍁😘

Turn Towards

Do you see what I see?

How the ivy reaches out for its wall-bound companions? How the Bird of Paradise directs its growth towards these two doing their best to bloom where they’re planted?

The longer I contemplate that downward swoop of the ivy the more my thoughts turn toward a person or two from my youth. Being much further along the road than I was in my teens they were influencers for my good and encouragers by deliberate intention. They had reached their own life goals—they’d set their sights towards them and had largely attained them. They’d begun their climb with just a few inches of growth at the start. Then by several feet and soon by leaps and bounds like this wild-growing ivy until they too had scaled their wall and found themselves at the top of it. Up at the roofline of their career or field of study, having gained years of experience, having done their due diligence and the hard work needed to craft a thing well—after enjoying some season of well earned success they turned toward those in their proximity. Not by looking down at though. Instead, while they continued steadily growing, they turned toward saying, “here’s how you scale a wall, here’s what I learned on the way . . . “

Do you see what I see? What a beautiful composition may be formed when those who have climbed turn toward.

In the Shadow

“I sing in the shadow of your wings,” said a king a long time ago. He was in a tough place at the time and though incredibly strong—even known for slaying giants and outmaneuvering the most cunning and treacherous opponents—this time was different. He could feel it. This time HE was on the run and this was life or death. HIS death. Another king wanted to kill him. Another king who possessed power and wealth and more followers than a social media influencer was trying to take him out to prevent the loss of his own kingdom. The stakes were high.

So yes, he ran away because he wanted to live, and that wasn’t being cowardly. That was life preserving. He knew he had a destiny to live out and a purpose to fulfill and he also knew that would not happen if he couldn’t preserve his own life. So he ran.

Away from the threat to a desolate place of safety he cried out. “I’m clever and cunning and strong but this could be the end if I don’t get some help here. A little help?”

From down deep in his soul came a shift. His heart and mind filled with an overwhelming sense of being so very deeply loved and he began to weep. His despair transformed entirely into an unexplainable joy that brought with it a sense of being truly safe and protected. He began to sing as an expression of the overflow that transformed his heart. The words? Who can say but he was safe. He felt a heavy cloak being placed around his shoulders to protect him. But no, that wasn’t it. The wings of his Protector had covered him. His Protector had been there all along, unseen, unnoticed and watching over him. The protection he needed was brought forth by a song. So he sang in the shadow of those wings. In the shadow . . .

An unlikely place for a song.

Reach

Sending out this singular thought: Don’t be alone today.

You might be in a crowd and feel it. You may be on your own without another person around and feel it more on this day as we celebrate family and friends and relationships. Find a way—a small way—to connect with someone. For you and for them. Don’t be a skeptic or a cynic or a hermit today. Don’t just get through it. You have the choice to make it a day you’ll want to remember even if it doesn’t resemble any other day of thanks you’ve had before.

Send a text. Make a call. Step outside of your norm if you must and make a connection with another human if that means a walk to the corner store for a check stand chat.

A beautiful day of thankfulness like today can end up as a day to be endured for those who feel friendless or alone. We need each other to stay healthy and happy. So step out and connect with someone you love or someone who needs love as much as you do.

“Good wishes for Thanksgiving”

From my heart to yours.

What’s Within

The US Navy field glasses sit on display in their well-worn case, near old photos and antique books on my shelf. Out of commission now after years of service but what battles they observed in their time! And what they’ve seen that you and I never will —never wanted to. They traveled to Japan during World War II—their worn leather straps revealing what true active duty they have served. Their well earned weathering edges speak volumes if we’ll hear it.

Today our actors and actresses while merely in their forties are compelled to keep their appearances youthful by injections and treatments, some I have secretly wished to try. Pharmaceutical company ad campaigns target younger men and women—not just the obviously aging as before. There’s a societal craving to retain the appearance of youthful, “unspoiled” innocence. Its appealing to all, no denying. • • •

A friend who died all too young told me once that she’d never ever alter her looks or erase her smile lines. She’d loved and lived too well as she’d earned them to intentionally part with them. She was in her forties then and, pure soul that she was, truly cherished her beautiful laugh lines as evidence that she’d loved deeply, been hurt tremendously, and still lived oh so joyously as she earned them.

The worn leather straps on my Dad’s old field glasses—they’ve seen some things and been in both exotic places and terrifying situations. To mend them by re-dying the edges back to black and by forcing them to return to their smoothed out state would be to erase all evidence of the warfare and victory they witnessed, all the usefulness they provided; the true purpose they were created for.

The wearing away on the edges, the fading and crumpling that quite naturally occur as the casing protects what’s within. A remarkably well-worn case tells that story. A fresh one has yet to begin.

So Quiet

How quiet is it with the students gone from campus?

There’s no singing, no laughter, no ruckus, no happy sounds to be heard. But then . . . what’s that?

It’s a circling hawk spotting supper; it’s the squirrel on a branch plowing through pine cones till every last seed has been munched; it’s the crows in the fruit tree fighting for the last bayberries of the season.

• • • • • • •

There are so many sounds in this silence, I just didn’t hear them before. There’s a dog barking off in the distance and I just heard a dandelion roar.

Just Three Words

There’s that saying to “fake it til you make it” – you hear it a lot being said to new classroom teachers and others who’re just launching out. Its not that a seasoned instructor is encouraging anyone to get in front of their class and be phony. Its not that. Its like someone backstage, in the wings, on your side, saying, “Break a leg kid, you’ll do fine.” It implies that “it” will get easier, and that as it gets easier you will eventually make it, finesse it perhaps, and until that day comes just step out in what you know now. Its a confidence thing really. Feeling uncomfortable in it should never stop you from doing it.

• • •

Tom Hanks told about, in a recent Today Show interview, a particular scene he filmed for the movie “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood.” The script called for him to kneel bedside and pray on camera. You could sense some mild discomfort on his part as he described the experience, and in so many words the director coached him through it. It wasn’t a comfortable or natural thing for him possibly. But he continued to say in the interview (and this is the part of it that I admired for it’s simplicity) that he learned for himself there were really only three words needed and that anyone could pray using just those three . . .

“Thank you God.”

It’s that time of the year that gets rushed out’ the way as the shops turn our thoughts to transactions. What to buy, what to wear, what to gift that’ll impress. But before we go there let’s be thankful. It doesn’t take much, just three little words. And if it feels awkward I can tell you it gets easier. No one needs to be a seasoned professional, an actor or minister to say it. “Thank you God.” Just start small, that’s all.

Sunday Morning Solitude

Ah, the Sunday morning solitude!

For many years now I’ve enjoyed starting my day in the dark and quiet moments before the dawn. Before the house starts creaking, while the street sounds are silent and the ticking of the clock is all I hear. Before anything or anyone else is up and about—THAT is the time I like best. Perhaps because it’s fleeting; perhaps because it sets the tone for whatever the day might bring.

Oh but now—here’s the sound of an old truck rounding the corner so faintly it must be several streets away—reminding me I’m not alone in the silence. Soon enough the neighbor’s paper will be tossed and skid harshly til it slams to a halt at her door. Sleeping dogs will voice complaint that their rest was disturbed then with silence restored doze again. Shortly thereafter, with infrequent regularity, the traveling sales rep two doors down will run a test of his latest playlist on a superior stereo system used for his side-hustle DJ’ing venture. The bass from his Beatles set won’t be enough to wake any other sleeping souls from their beds just yet but will signal to me that its over. And now there it is—the first sounds of the highly verbal crow community in the towering eucalyptus just outside. Silent Sunday morning is over. The neighborhood is now waking up.

Here comes the sun and I say . . . its alright.

Happy Sunday ♥️