Big, yet simple

Trying to live big. Trying to live simply. Can we do it? For us, this is what it looks like the past few days. Me with a warm cup of creamy coffee. Jason with a glass of nice dry wine. Emma with a Gatorade, Glacier Freeze. Blankets and pillows loaded up. We drive west a few miles. It doesn’t take long until we find wide, open spaces. There’s no trees. No buildings to block our view. Just a vast expanse of blue sky at dusk. We park, facing west and watch the sunset. Good music coming from the speakers and we just be. We just are. We just observe.

Afterward, EK drives sitting in my lap. It takes a lot of convincing from us. She doesn’t dance near the fire. Mostly, she stands back and watches the flames. But she trusts us and we convince her that she will not be doing it alone. We are right here. We will always be right here. There is nothing to fear. The sunroof is open. Above us, a black abyss of stars. She’s a good driver and keeps us on the road. Music wafts upward and outward and inward to our souls. And we drive on dirt roads in the dark. Living big. Living simply.

Another day instead of blankets, pillows and drinks it’s two very excited wagging, panting dogs we load up. We drive East, it doesn’t take long until we find a small pond. The day is cool. We are wearing jeans and hoodies. The wind is strong and cold. The dogs are panting. Their tongues loll about. We stroll around the water. Ducks swim undisturbed. Clouds sail across the sky. Cows in the next field are curious. They come to the fence. They’re excited. The dogs are excited. Even J-Dub is excited. He walks right to the fence and sits with them reaching through the barbed wire. Their nostrils flare trying to get a better scent of him. They crowd into one another. The dogs whimper and prance wanting to take chase, but knowing better. Every creature is curious of the others. For a little while.

The dogs walk the water’s edge. Dipping their tongue as the walk. Their paws are muddy. Their legs are wet. They venture out further. Then without warning they sink up to their shoulders. EK finds it hilarious. So we all do. Laughter is contagious. We walk a bit more. It is quiet. It is just us. We are still, yet moving.

Afterwards, we have two tired, still panting, sopping wet, and now very smelly dogs to load back up until their next adventure. Everyone likes to go every once in a while. Living big. Living simply.

I sit on my patio in the morning. My coffee is full and hot. The sun is full and hot. It beats down on my face, legs, and arms. Spring is bursting. I only need to look around and observe. Cycles of life continue. The world has not stopped just because the people have. How little we are in control of. The sun does not rise at our command. The birds build nests, not because we say so, but because they know that’s what they were put here to do. The spider weaves his web every day, knowing he’ll have to make repairs. The flowers bloom. The cows calve. The gigantic pink full moon casts its healing light on our planet. We cannot stop it. We can not force it or make it cease. We think we have so much power, we think we are in control. We must only open our eyes to see how foolish we are.

I close mine. I breathe deeply. I feel my body relax. My thoughts slow. I am still. I just be. I just am. I hear the words come to me.

I am right here. I am always right here. There is nothing to fear. I smile. Is God a poet? Of course He is. He is in all things. He is all things. Big. So Big. Yet, so simple.

Winter Around

Today I will look for God.

Just like I do everyday, at least on the days I’m not too harried.

It is easy to find him in spring with new life imminent.

It is easy to find him in summer with its long, lazy days.

It is not hard to find him in autumn, with its glorious bursting colors.

But winter.

In winter I find him on the branches of seemingly dead trees glistening with ice.

I hear him in the birdsong as they bravely carry on, encouraging one another.

I find him in the crunchy blades of grass under my boots.

I feel his breath on my cheeks and nose.

I see him in a multitude of grackles pecking a frozen ground.

I hear him in the heavy silence all around. Be still and listen.

In the winter season, he is still there.

Seek, then find.

And the Earth Renews

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Glory, glory to this early spring day!

Although I woke from a very restless sleep, my body groaning under the weight of its 40 years: hips and hamstrings, neck and knees, the outside world renews me. I’m so glad my 3-year-old wanted to dress and head directly outside, despite my opposition.

The birds are so happy today and why shouldn’t they be? They are announcing the coming of a glorious day.

The earth is wet from either a heavy dew or a light rain and it doesn’t take long for Emma’s shoes to grow wet all the way to her pale pink socks, as she frolics and plays.  The sun is warming the world ever so slowly, removing the chill, granting the warmth.

There is an earthy smell of rebirth in the air. The wind carries it on its breath. Nothing can keep quiet. Nothing can be still, for this day is indeed worth shouting about. The whole of nature is trumpeting the coming of spring!

So I sit with the small pleasure of life: coffee, front porches, pen and paper, and wet tennis shoes. I watch the world in all its activity. My little black cat pounces and climbs, pausing on occasion to stare at something unseen to me, and switch her tail in eager anticipation. And then, as if it couldn’t get any better, the icing on the cake—–a “butterfly”, as my daughter calls them dances by.  She’s black with yellow rimmed wings. She too heard the call of nature, felt the breezes, heard the birds, smelled the dampness of the earth and yet, knowing her days were short, came out to play.

Apple trees are in bloom, lilac bushes are in bud.  I say to them, “careful, careful, not too soon. Have patience”. But surely they know better than I.

My senses take it all in. My soul exhales the dregs of winter. Truly nature is where we find rest yet energy, calmness yet revitalization, serenity yet pulse. A place of reprieve, of lessons, of growth, of birth.

“The day the Lord created hope was probably the same day he created spring.~~Bernard Williams

Glory, Glory to this early spring day!!

A Broody, Moody Hen

I’ve got a broody hen.  In other words, she wants to be a momma.

This hen in particular sits in a wheelbarrow.  Day after day.  Night after night.  She won’t eat.  She won’t drink.  And if you go near her, she puts her hackles up and makes a noise that frightens me.   I’ve never been harmed by a chicken, and yet I still am frightened.  It is an unwarranted fear that I can not explain, especially considering the fact that my hens are darlings.  Perhaps it dates back to when I read a children’s book, “Junie B. Jones Has a Peep in her Pocket” and Junie B. was worried that the chickens were going to peck her head into a nub, and she would have to walk around in a pair of overalls with a nub as a head.  I’m sure that is it, since that is so very logical.

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So day after day, night after night, this yellow chicken sits in a red wheelbarrow hoping beyond hope that the egg she ISN’T sitting on will hatch.   Crazy chicken.

It is  impossible that she will ever set a nest and have a baby chickie because:
1) there is no rooster here to fertilize her egg, so no matter how long she sets a nest, it will still just be an egg.
2)  There is no egg that she is setting since we removed it from underneath her weeks ago, hoping she would be about her business.

No such luck.

Day after day, one of us, (mostly Ash, but sometimes me if I’ve had a shot of whiskey first) will pick up the hissing, pissed off chicken, afraid that her head is going to spin around and start pecking me to a nub and throw her out of the wheelbarrow, so she can get a drink of water and maybe a bite to eat.   And as soon as we do, she lets us know she is not a happy chicken.  And as soon as she can, she makes a run for the water trough, gets a drink, and before you know it, she is back in her wheelbarrow on her imaginary nest, dreaming of waddling babies.

But if you were ever wondering where the expression  “got her feathers ruffled” originated, my belief is it came from an insane broody hen after she was tossed from her wheelbarrow.

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Peace, pecks, and pigs—Randomness

It’s a peaceful kind of morning.  No hustle, no bustle.

There’s a cool breeze, and it’s a nice respite before the West Texas July sun follows it’s usual path in the cloudless sky and the daytime temps rise to scorch and wither.  But after all, it is summer.  What else do we expect.

EK and I sat outside for a spell.  Me with my coffee, she with her glee.

Watching the world through the eyes of a baby brings on a new light.  I read that every day to a baby is like a visit to Paris for the first time for us.  The new smells, the new sights.  We would be on high alert, taking it all in.

Her yard is a far cry from Paris, I would have to imagine since I’ve never visited there.  But oh, how she takes it all in.  She notices the smallest things.  A leaf blowing across the yard, a black bird flying to rest in a tree top, the bark of Drew and Grace from the backyard saying, “We want out, let us out, we want to see you this morning too”, the choo choo whistle as it rolls down the tracks.

A chicken flew up on the arm of our chair with her beady eye and pointy beak.  Me, I’m a bit intimidated.  I don’t know why I suddenly became afraid of my chickens, as if they could peck me to death or something.  I usually shoo them away afraid they might peck EK, but today we just sat.  The chicken jerked her chicken neck around studying us, and EK stared back.  I put EK’s hand on her feathers to let her feel.

The other day my mom mentioned how the baby needs one of those toys, you know the kind we used to have as a kid.  Where you pull the string and the animal makes it’s sound.  I said, “Mom.  Look around.  Why does she need that?  We have horses that say neigh, dogs that say ruff, chickens that say bawk, cows that say moo, right here.”

That seemed to satisfy my mom, but it wouldn’t surprise me if she pulls up with a pig in the passenger seat one day.

 

 

Mountains

I’m sitting at the base of a mountain, more or less, breathing in a piney smell, listening to birds, an occasional hummingbird’s soft sound and then the loud obnoxious caw of the crow.  The sky is dark with rain clouds, the thunder is booming in the distance.  It’s a cool 70* which just so happens to also be the high temperature of the day.  My senses are Alive.  Aware. Awake.

Glorious.  That’s a word that can be used, and is used by the locals around here.  The rain comes daily this season, beautiful, refreshing, life-giving rains.  It waters the tall pines, rushes over rocks in little streams, wets the pine needles cluttering the ground, cools the air until little goose bumps rise from my skin.  “Isn’t it glorious?”  the people say to no one in particular.  They speak to the pines, the deer, the birds.

Yes, we all agree silently.

Glorious.