As children play around and dream
of what they’ll someday be,
so did I, as a young child,
and the things I did see!
The glitter of those fancies bright,
were, Oh! so full of hope.
The opportunities were endless,
of all the ways I’d cope.
But, I forgot from whence they came;
to look upon HIS plan.
I messed them up and tarnished them,
with my own clumsy hands.
Til, finally, there was nothing left,
but pieces small and wee.
I cried and put them up in jars,
safe, away from me
For many years, I plodded on,
head down and feeling small,
pulling back from others,
not measuring up at all.
And then, when I bumped into you,
a memory recalled.
To my surprise, I looked up and
mercy is what I saw.
We fellowshipped together and
examined who we are.
Then … one day, you pointed up,
to my old dusty jars ….
“No, no,” I cried, “let’s not go there!
They’re jars of broken dreams.
There’s pieces only, nothing left,
just useless shattered schemes.
But, you insisted that we look.
I pulled one down to sit.
The pieces were all there, still yet.
You showed me how they fit!
Not wanting any more to dream,
you showed me that I could,
and to share my dreams with others
is how I make them good.
I walked up to Madison’s City Square, to meet a friend. It was early spring, early Sunday. I’d been under the weather lately, but couldn’t put my finger on why. I sighed, resigning myself to the cold mundaneness of day to day life.
Walking with my head down, I sensed a large person coming toward me. Out of my peripheral vision, I could see he was huge. I avoided looking directly at him, but glanced around to see if there were any people outside who could come to my aid, if I needed it.
The streets were empty. Early Sunday mornings are not known for their pedestrian traffic or outside activities. It was one of the reasons I was out walking. Regret wormed its way through my gut. I could cross the street. How rude would that be? Besides, there was no way I would outrun such a big guy.
I pursed my lips and pressed on, not making eye contact. When I was within a few feet from him, I glanced up. He was big, but beautiful. My two second glimpse of him captured a smile that shot through me, casting light into all my dark places!
Dazed, I dropped my eyes. His smile, erasing any memory I had of what he looked like, carried a message of hope to my heart that warmed every element of my being. Though at the time, I could not have put that into words.
As soon as he was past me, I turned my head to try and recapture his image. I wanted to remember.
There was no one there.
I stopped and turned around, searching everywhere. The only movement was the gentle breeze, moving new leaves.
Forty years later, I can finally put my experience into words. When I feel the cold mundaneness of life closing in, that smile still warms me.
Have you ever had a brief, but close encounter that is unforgettable?
The empty, old house sat silent through the night, content with its current inhabitants.
The sunrise brought the wind, waking up the windmill. It started out slowly, a crooked paddle clicked on the frame.
“I love to move,” the wheel sang, clicking with rhythm, pleasantly at first.
“I can see so much farther than you.” It sang to the house. “Do you want to know what I see?” It didn’t wait for an answer. “They are building a new house on the hill to the east of us. The grass is getting green so I know the cows and the people will come back soon. It’s too bad they don’t fix you up, too. They could at least block your door so the cows don’t go in!”
The wind picked up and mill spun merrily in a building breeze, humming.
A bird lighted on one of the old house’s upper window sills, dribbling white down its side, making it look even more faded.
“At least birds don’t poop on me. If it weren’t for me, there would be no water around here. You never would have been built … our family never would have been able to live here. You know that, right?”
The windmill prattled on about its valuable contributions, most of them from the past. The house tuned it out, enjoying the warming sunshine.
“… and what about that time the bull chased Momma up my ladder? Whew, that was exciting! That mean old critter hit one of my legs so hard, he bent it. Pa built a fence around the house, after that. Remember how Momma built a short fence around my legs and called it the playpen, so she could have her babies outside with her. I loved watching those little ones play in the dirt.”
The old house sighed, windless days were few and far between. Mice and birds may be messy, but they were quiet. The wind hit a lull and it was silent for a while, but it never lasted long enough. Sometimes the days seemed endless with the old mill’s reminiscing. The sun was only midmorning.
“Do you remember the big ones’ names? When they first came, they had different names, but after the babies came, they were always just Momma and Pa, even to each other.”
“I’ve always envied you, you know. You got to be there for their meals, for the births … and the deaths. I could hear some things through the windows and the walls, but you got to see everything, even to watch them sleep. I loved that year they decorated me as their Christmas tree. They held hands and sang Christmas carols to me. It was wonderful.”
The wind died and silence settled back over the yard, everyone basked in the noon sunlight and good memories. Even the inhabitants, sheltered within the house, were content to be still. The house remembered, but did not comment on what a lean Christmas that particular one had been for the family. Yet, the folks had seemed happy enough.
“Remember when Billy climbed my ladder … and fell? There was nothing I could do.” The wind blasted and the wheel clacked crazily for a few minutes. The house wondered why that loose paddle didn’t fly off. Finally the wind let up and the mill became legible again.
The house groaned, as though the memory were weighted. A tiny creak cried from within. The afternoon sun calmed the wind to a gentle, quiet breeze. Again, silence spread over the small plot that had once been a place where children played.
There was to be one last draft that moved the old mill to speak. “Even though Billy died, those were the good old days. I never thought they would end.”
The sun began to set. The wind was dying and the windmill uttered its last thought for the day. “I wonder why they left ….”
The wind died to a whisper. The wheel slowed until even the occasional click stopped.
A remnant of white fluttered in the old house’s window for a moment; waving farewell to the sun, the day’s chattering reminiscence, and welcoming the quiet return of now.
Bubbling fountains, growing gardens,
Stringy dog drool, solidified litter boxes,
The gifts of power and light.
Liquid diamonds tumble down desert ditches.
Complex Crystals powder-sugar the pines,
Spring rains whisper lullabies by which we sleep.
Lakes, ponds, rivers, and oceans
safe within their boundaries.
Deluges, floods, and avalanches
endanger us when they’re not.
Wet and gentle, dripping from a deer’s lips.
Wild and wicked: tearing the Edmund Fitzgerald in half.
Hard enough to walk on,
Deep enough to drown in.
I love a house with many windows. The light flows in. The framed view expands my inner sanctum. The pictures change with the seasons. At times, I want to stay in and observe the bluster from a warm, dry spot. Other times the living picture bids me, “Enter. Live. Experience.”
Every window in my house has a different view. The east portrays the San Isabel Mountain Range and breath-taking, pink and blue sunrises. To the west, I watch deer drink from a blue tub in the pines. The north side shows me the barn and my white horses against the dry, brown dirt. The Sangre de Cristo Mountains, to the south, close my days with amazing, purple sunsets.
Friends are like windows. I love the perspectives they bring into my life. I rearrange my paradigms based on their insights, and expand my own thinking through theirs. They see a beauty I had not noticed, or experienced a pain so severe it makes me bleed – and I want to hide in my inner sanctum – but the trust in their sharing is real, touching my soul with the beauty wrought by their personal agony.
We are all windows for others. Our realities are ours alone. Even in our sharing, personalization by the listener changes the reality as it is aired. It is the gift of humans to relate our experiences and perspectives, to share, to grow, and to become … more.
May your house be blessed with many windows.
That First Valentine
Was there ever a love so deep and so true,
as the one you gave your first Valentine to?
Was there ever a love so kind and so sweet,
as the one who kissed you as you fell sleep?
Remember the one who wiped away tears,
the one you thought would stay through the years?
Remember the warmth that lived in your heart,
that was healing and kind, right from the start?
First loves are the best.
Thanks, Mom, I’ll love you forever. XOXO