The Lonely Rain

Today’s Poem

Tip, tap, increasing rap, someone’s tapping at my window.
Unlike a ring or tone that sings, no one’s looking for me.
My attention drawn, the torrent begins refrain long.
The sky looks sullen, grey, like a lonely specter wanting to come in.
Keep it out! Hide within! Cold blasts from the north whirl the soggy din.
I flip on lights looking for golden gleam, to keep out the lonely,
No one is looking for me.

The winds whirl, the boughs shake, the leaves are falling in the lake.
Washing down the golden treasure, fall’s brilliance is tricked by weather.
Never a fan of gore or fear, the holiday is not for me one of cheer.
I tuck myself in, with busy routine. I’m too busy to notice, they’re not for me.
The streets turn wet and quiet. All seek solace within, enough of the bustle.
Darkness falls early; the wind shakes the ivy, slaps the window, a sound that is churl-y.
No one is looking for me.

Tears from the sky, though none from my eye, force me to wonder. Why?
The path seems so long, courageous, forlorn, like a caricature drawn.
I wait in the wet, but dry indoors, sodden inside, I know the answer, “Not yet.”
Pitter, patter is a song of spring sweet, fall spits in my face, no one looking for me.
It shudders the windows, echo in chimney, I dine with the widows.
Wet-cold without, thawing in company, God lights a hope no one can see,
Surely, someday, someone, will be looking for me.

Jesus waits

Jesus waits

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Pretty Dishes

Found on Pinterest from zanzaire.tumblr.com

Found on Pinterest from zanzaire.tumblr.com

Beauty

The word calms me somehow.

I thought that it sounded silly or superficial.

On Facebook you inevitably end up with an advertisement for a free personality test. I ignored these for years. Eventually I stumbled into one and found out that according to Myers-Briggs I am an ISFJ. For those of you who don’t know this translates to tell me that I am introverted as opposed to extraverted, inspired by the five senses rather than intuitive, feeling as opposed to analytical and what they call judging vs. perception. The last of these being less clear that the other means that I believe that there are absolutes, like truth, right, wrong, etc.

This would not seem to have anything to do with today’s topic, except that ISFJ’s apparently are strongly motivated by a love of beauty. My next statement will blow the whole hypothesis, however.

I love dishes.

The hole in the hypothesis is that my sister also love dishes and she is an INFJ.

We come from a long matrilineal line of dish collectors.

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I probably can’t blame the dishes on my personality, unless it is inherited.Might there be a gene that brings about a deep fondness for eating on pretty plates? If such a gene exists I have it.

I don’t actually have that many dishes, but what I have I consciously choose from and rotate them for each meal. I only once served regular meals on paper plates and that was because of a kitchen remodel that denied me a kitchen sink.

Ready to have my friends for tea

Ready to have my friends for tea

Each ordinary evening I set out the pretty plates on a cloth tablecloth. The food, be it ever so humble, tastes much better with a candle lit and coordinating tablescape. Even if I am exhausted and we only eat frozen meals, the pretty tea-pot, mugs and matched flatware, candle and cloth napkins are present. It creates a sense of calm. The dinner topics may end up political, ugh, but I created a soothing atmosphere to start the meal.

Dishes tell us something about not only our desire for beauty and order. They also speak to our sense of priorities. I value relationships highly. Part of my desire to focus on relationships is played out in the sharing of a leisurely meal with those I love.

All day long I fight the clock to accomplish as much as possible from my Opportunities List (To Do List). When I place dinner on the table I am setting aside the clock for an hour. I am prioritizing people over tasks. I am trying to make ordinary memories.

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We begin with prayer. The meal is sacred. It is a family event for us and God, who is present with us.

I do not earn a pleasant dinner. It matters not how far I have come that day. It is a benediction, a blessing. We offer thanks for the food and with that I offer myself up to God and those I love. The scones may have been too crumbly. The stir-fry might be bland or the rice in a bit of a clump. Grace isn’t just what we call the blessing, it is what we are offered. God gives me grace as cook and so does my family. It doesn’t need to be special.

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Each day is a gift and every dinner comes with pretty dishes.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

Philippians 4:8

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Green

Today I am joining Five Minute Friday’s and the topic is “green.”

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Such a green lawn. Second-flush hollyhocks noticed in mid-October.

Go:

The world is fading from green to gold. When I took that walk to the river yesterday I was disappointed that more of the trees had not taken on fall glory. Today I went grocery shopping and I noticed that the tress are more golden overnight.

Green is a color associated with growth. In the Church we are still in the season where the liturgical color is green. We still have green outdoors, but we know it will soon change. Today I am thinking that October green is a passing gift.

I need to be grateful for the still green grass. I want to thank God for all the shade the trees are providing. I am grateful for green hills. When the gold and crimson take over they will not last long. I must cherish the green because all too soon the Church will move on to Advent and I will need to dig out all that red and green for my house.

Stop:

I am grateful for the green that means not…quite… yet.

Rivers

Rivers can be places of great beauty.

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I took a walk to the river today and I was delighted with the view. Today I understand why water-front property is so sought after. A family of ducks were out sunning themselves as I was there. All nature seemed to realize that perfect weather such as we had today is not a thing to be taken for granted in October.

IMG_2403I was disappointed that only a few trees had begun their golden show, but that will come soon and today was for basking in the sun-streaming blue.

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Rivers are irascible things. Some days they are peaceful and patiently reflect the sky’s brilliant blue. No matter how serene a river may look it is never still. The current is always present pulling everything caught in their wake onward. The relentless movement reminds us that time is forever moving us on. Peaceful moments of bliss come, as does the inexorable current pulling us ever toward the sea.

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While they usually flow within their banks rivers always have the potential to flood. A river actually is a large landowner. Most of the time they only use a small portion of what they own. There is always a much larger land area that the river owns, but leases to the surrounding purchasers on terms they do not always understand.

The river owns all the land in the flood plain. There is no charge from the river to the user of the land. People sell the land to one another. You may own a piece of the river’s land. It is yours to use as you see fit, but now and then in periods of excessive rain and/or snow melt the river will reclaim its’ rightful heritage.
Floods are not peaceful high-water. A raging current accompanies a flood. It will tear out shrubs, rip up small trees, topple and wash away lawn furniture and everyone’s garbage cans. When the water recedes debris will be everywhere. Flood-mud is sticky, thick sludge that will be left behind. It can be polluted, depending upon what sort of industrial or chemical storage the river flooded as well. Everything that was within its’ scope is mixed in a thick stew that is redeposited somewhere else.

Isaiah 43:1b-2,”Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name, you are mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
and the flame shall not consume you.”

After the clean-up mud will be left to mix in with the soil. In this ugly is actually the seed of renewal. In that mud is the topsoil that washed off the land upstream. It contains more than trash it also contains rich nutrients. Floods don’t just wash away carefully laid-out plans and landscapes. They also bring new beginnings.
Almost anything can grow in the rich soil of a flood plain. The banks of the Nile river were called the “breadbasket” of Egypt. Much of the ancient world relied upon Egypt for grain. In the middle of the twentieth century Egypt built a dam. It was a wonder of engineering. It also had an unanticipated negative impact on the productive power of the Nile basin’s crop production. Egypt began to need to import grain for its’ own use. Over thousands of years those living and working along the Nile lived with the difficulty of regular flood. In an effort to improve the situation they demonstrated on a massive and measurable scale how beneficial flooding actually is to agricultural production.

Sometimes the very seasons that seem to destroy us, contain within the tragedy, the reconstructive force to enable us to remain fruitful.

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Living near a river has taught me about loss and rebirth. My thoughts and prayers are with all of those living with flooding. I have been blessed to live mainly just beyond the river’s usual reach. One can never be certain with a river. In the sixty years the home has been in the family the river has never come into the living space. I still hold respect for the river, since it has reclaimed the cellar on a number of occasions. The land around the house is on loan from the river and could be reclaimed next week. It has also deposited an incredible supply of rich topsoil. Anything will grow near the river. My walk today led past hollyhocks in a second flush, roses still profusely in bloom and one tree turned golden. Blessing and woe, I saw numerous dandelions also. River’s are beautiful and powerful. Respect and appreciate the wonders God made.

NEW SERIES

  • Get ready for November
    We will start a new series in November

    Join me for “In the Library”

    Twice a week we will share a favorite book.
    In November I will be participating in the “NaNoWriMo” or National Novel Writing Month.
    So I will not post daily here at Pilgrim Journey Through Life, but I will post twice a week.

    In honor of the Novel we will review and discuss favorites from the bookshelf.

    Nominate your favorite novel!

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Clouds

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I live in a valley on the leading edge of a mountain range. Clouds are ubiquitous in my world. We learned the basic types in school and I never gave them much thought again. Clouds are so common as to pass my notice.

This summer my apathy began to change. The first alteration occurred when I began to learn to paint watercolors. I discovered that there is not really white paint. White is the absence of color in watercolor. I stopped and looked up one day and pondered. How would you paint a cloud if you cannot paint white? I admit my prior ignorance here. I did not realize until that moment that clouds are not simply white or grey. Each one is an array of delicate and complex coloration. Even the typical clouds are far more than white.

I must have been looking up in awe. It attracted the attention of all those who were standing beside me. They couldn’t understand what was surprising about the sky. I had to explain about the white being an absence of color. Soon we were all projecting ideas about the clouds. That was the second revelation to me about clouds. Everyone has ideas about clouds. They are universally intriguing.

I used to view clouds as a negative. Clouds were a hinderance to sunlight. Clouds were the reason that my area experiences only a couple dozen sunny days a year. It takes my breath away when I hear about locales that have three-hundred sunny days a year!

Along with the clouds I regarded traffic as a nuisance. The clouds and traffic came together for me one day. It was a “mostly sunny” day for my area. The only clouds were cumulus and decidedly pretty. Not that I was looking up. I was driving around town on errands, running late. Red lights were not desirable, when every traffic light turned red, tension mounted in the car. In a spark of Divine inspiration, I turned my eyes off the red light during the wait for green. I looked up through the windshield so I would not need to stare at the annoying red. All that I could see was blue sky and a pretty cloud. I was momentarily arrested by the beauty of the cloud. My eyes darted back to the light several times in the course of that red light. I saw beauty and remembered God’s grace and providence. The fact that California is enduring a much publicized drought caused me to recognize how the unfailing clouds provide plenty of rain to my location. It was the first time I consciously remember thanking God for clouds.image

I began a new tradition that busy afternoon. Whenever I hit a red light I take time to admire the clouds while I wait for the light to change. Since the clouds are plentiful I simply look up through the windshield of my car on the lights and inevitably see at least one cloud. These momentary pauses are a welcome relief from the pressure of daily life. I am amazed by how many colors are present in even a cursory glance at a cloud. I am discovering that clouds are full of color. They are not basically white! No one has honked a car horn at me for dawdling over the clouds. It doesn’t take any time to notice beauty. What it requires is an intentionality. Clouds are no longer a negative fact. They are becoming welcome friends. They are friends with an infinite gallimaufry of colorful clothing.