“For A Child”

I came across this poem by Fannie Stearns Davis today. Nature, freedom, simplicity – Isn’t this what we all need? It’s not just for children.

For A Child

Your friends shall be the Tall Wind,
The River and the Tree;
The Sun that laughs and marches,
The Swallows and the Sea.

Your prayers shall be the murmur
Of grasses in the rain;
The song of wildwood thrushes
That makes God glad again.

And you shall run and wander,
And you shall dream and sing
Of brave things and bright things
Beyond the swallow’s wings.

And you shall envy no man,
Nor hurt your heart with sighs,
For I will keep you simple
That God may make you wise.

~ Fannie Stearns Davis


Warm November Rain

Today the November rain was warm. I went out bareheaded in the drizzle to grab an onion or two from the garden. I was just going to run out and back in, but something about the rain made me linger. I pulled some weeds, and composted the empty tomato stalks. I picked up some toys on the grass, strewn about by children and winds. I arranged five or so collected rocks on the little picnic table, alternating igneous and sedimentary. I rescued a few rogue clothespins, and tucked some empty pots in the garden shed.

There are times I live too much in my own head. “My brain is tired,” I told Micah as I turned out the light last night. And he said something that turned it all into a joke, and we laughed and laughed in the dark. “Laughter is the best medicine,” my fortune cookie had told me at lunch time. Laughter and warm November rain.




Moving On

Sometimes there is no explanation.

Only a need to retreat, to quit the lodgings of one world and take up residence in another.

Sometimes the walls close in and the cracks in the foundation are laid bare. And you try renovating, but there’s asbestos all through it. Perhaps you’ve built up too much in the way of stuff here anyway, and it’s hard to choose what to keep and what to toss. So you leave it all behind.

The first few steps are hesitant, as if to test the sanity of it all. Will the house itself reach out and pull you back? Will your heart break for the memories in gilded frames? And then an old song drifts up from your youth, the song of the baptists stepping into the water. No turning back.

And you actually laugh for relief. This is not your address. It never was.

The sun bounds up above the horizon, bright and blinding. Everything makes sense in the morning of the third day. And you begin to run, upstream and to the east, to the headwaters you’ve never yet seen. And a straight and narrow path opens up before you, and if you can just reach the doorstep, you know you’ll be ok.

Weak, fainting, crazy, crying, doesn’t matter how you get there. It’s home. Not of your own making, but His.

Perhaps there’s an explanation after all, foolish and straightforward though it may be.

But I’ll be the King’s fool over any other.

And I’ll be a doorkeeper, or the sparrow in her nest, or even the ashes beneath the altar. I’ll trade my thousand nights and mornings for this one day. Here I’ll die and here I’ll live.




November’s Bones

Back home, it is good to walk slowly on the grass by the river. It is spongy and still green, though the rushes are browning and the cattails are bursting at the seams. It is good to breathe deeply, and feel small under this crisp blue dome. It is good to lay my hands on the trunk of the sugar maple sapling, and know that though its leaves have fallen, it has already gone to work on buds for spring. It does not sleep without hope. Indeed, it rests to be renewed. It doesn’t fight the season God has ordained, but lays its summer foliage on autumn’s altar with a graceful flourish.

November lays us bare. November shows our bones for what they truly are. I could look for ways to hide, for a blanket to cover the awkward brown between Thanksgiving and Christmas. But there is something comforting after all about being seen. Not by crowds of camera wielding tourists, but by the sun and the spruces and the birds that stay behind. There’s no need to dress up, to make up, to put my best foot forward.

It’s enough to walk beside the naked trees, and feel my own frailty, and shed a tear for the October that will never be again. I finger the tightly furled buds and marvel that they dare show even a hint of promise, knowing what storms the winter will bring.

November lays us bare, but there is a kindness in its honesty. Simply be, the willows whisper, in all your barren bones and audacious hope. It is good. It is well.



The Orbit of Love

~ In memory of my uncle, Ian Raymer, and in honour of the family I’ve been blessed with. 

Love is this magic that orbits us all.

When the ground beneath my feet is shaking, I close my eyes and call out for it. It’s right there, and if I lift up my heart and stand on tiptoe, I enter its orbit.

Here, there are no minutes or miles to separate us.

Here, I see your smile and hear your laugh, and my spirit touches yours.

This is the magic of love. It is the atmosphere of the soul, where nothing is ever diseased, nothing ever dies. It is God’s own breath, and in its ever circling flow we meet, and are held, and live again.

This is the magic of love. It is the bridge between earth and heaven. It is God’s own heart, jumping out of His chest, and making a place in the void that divides us. No more darkness, no more fear.

This is the magic of love. It is our Father’s house, and He has room for us all, so squeeze on over. In this orbit, the journey and the destination come together, and though my path continues a few more steps, I see the home lights burning and hear you cheering me on.

When I stand on tiptoe, I can feel the love, like a river overhead. In the stream I feel the heartbeats of all of us that make up this miracle called family. Maybe this river is made of our tears, and God’s too, but there is healing, and peace, and home here together.

If I could jump up and off this speck of dust, maybe I would, but there’s a gravity that keep me here. For love is made here below, with trembling hands and breaking voices, deeds done in sacrifice, gifts offered in weakness, words spoken in forgiveness. In our flesh and bone and lungs and eyes, love takes form. Love was always meant to be embodied, and this is the greatest magic of all.

Love is given, to be shaped into human form, and there seen at its most perfect.

Is is what has been done down here – the crosses borne, and burdens shared, and bread broken – that fills up the river, that makes it sing, that makes it call, that makes us long, and brings God with us, together.

One day, I will see you with new eyes.

One day, you will wrap your big arms around me with the strength of eternity.

Until then, the orbit of love will hold me, hold all of us.

And when I love, as I am loved, the orbit strengthens, and gives a certain lightness to my step.

One day it will carry me away too.

In the meantime, if you see me walking on tiptoe, you’ll know why.