Jars of Broken Dreams

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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.

 

Riding in the Rockies

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We were a couple of tourists,

vacationing last week.

We camped out in the Rockies,

beneath the mountain peaks.

We put our ponies in a pen,

after riding ’round a bit.

We marveled at the scenery,

and took many shots of it.

We layered up cuz we were cold

in the crisp morning air,

and we grumbled about the dust,

and its presence ev’rywhere.

We rode up to the Great Divide,

a ride like none before.

There was no way to be prepared

for what it held in store.

The waterfalls and the switchbacks,

the paths across loose shale,

the rock that bounced for many feet,

a hoof kicked off the trail.

Hindquarters slipping off the path,

caused hearts to skip a beat.

We teased and called encouragement.

Adventure can be sweet!

We laughed and talked and shared our lives,

that time that we did spend.

The views were all the sweeter cuz

we shared them with our friends.

A vacation in the Rockies?

Oh, it was more than that.

The time we spend with folks we love,

is really where it’s at.

The Teamster

The Teamster

© April 2013 by Ani O.

I’ve hooked my horse up to a cart

     a couple times, for fun.

But when she ran and flipped the thing

     my driving days were done.

 

One horse can be tough to handle,

     I can’t imagine two.

And if they want to scrap and fight,

     Whatever would I do?

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When the horse was transportation

     back in days of old,

there were men called Teamsters,

     worth their weight in gold.

 

There are teamsters still today,

     who can center a team of hosses.

You see them flicker back their ears,

     They’ve learned who the boss is.

 

The Teamster sees potential in

       this pair of such great pow’r.

Teaching them to pull together

       for a needful hour.

 

I see a lesson here for me,

     as I look upon my mate.

Sometimes we fight and scrap ourselves.

We don’t cooperate.

 

We want to go our selfish way,,

     We each think we’re the boss!

The Master comes and talks to us,

     a teamster to his hoss.

 

He lengthens here and loosens there,

     our tugs and fills so knowing,

showing us that He’s the boss,

     and He knows where we’re going.

 

And so He centers us, His team

     with a voice that’s full of care,

reminding us that we’re a match.

     and His beloved pair.

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My mate and I, we are a team,

     through good or stormy weather.

We lean and pull at His command,

       and so … we pull together.

 

Schaffee’s Mules

 

Shaffee had a team of mules, large and soft and black.

They were taller than my dad, and had great, fat backs.

Shaffee loved those big mules, he never made them work.

They were kind and friendly, but pleasant don’t plow dirt.

 

Funny thing about those mules, that never plowed the sod,

(you could see it from afar) – their mismatched ears were odd.

Dad and I would call on him and go see his ‘ol friends’.

They always came to the fence, glad to make amends.

 

I would study them big ears. They were rough and bumpy

Three ears had missing tips, one – half gone and lumpy.

The old man saw me staring and then he told the tale

of how those mules lost their ears on a fiery trail.

 

This story is old, he said. Near forty years ago!

We lived up in the North Woods, close to Peshtigo.

I heard Dad suck in his breath, and knew this tale was true.

He had lumberjack-ed up there, back in his years of youth.

 

A  fire raged, great and hot. The flames reached to the sky,

and as far as you could see. We all began to cry.

The only thing I could think was to go into the burn

to get to where it was safe. There’s nowhere else to turn.

I hooked my mules to the cart. The wife wet down the quilts.

I steered them into the flames, (and swallowed up my guilt.)

We hid in our comforters , to keep us from the heat.

Those two mules went right on through, though the ground burnt their feet.

By prayer and grace, we made it through heat and flames that day.

My family and I, and the mules who pulled our dray.

We were fine but smelled of smoke and felt we got off cheap.

Our faithful friends lost their ears, but they had earned their keep.

The only hair they had left, was where their harness lay.

We cried as we tended them. Thank God for them, that day.

Dad’s and my eyes teared up, as we looked upon those two

black and shiny pair of friends; beloved heroes, true.

The courage of those brave mules still inspires me today.

Courage means to face the fire  and not to run away.

Close Encounters

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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?

Write on,

Ani

 

 

Reminiscence

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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.

“He died.”

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.