When all the leaves have fallen To crunch beneath indifferent feet Afore winter's capturing talon Executes life's final, sad retreat In cold silence loud and sullen When kettle drums begin to beat Humbling each arrogant felon The august end in brutal defeat Wail! No immunity to dwell in Ominous! All graves loom to greet The poor, the rich, the driven All the same pointless end do meet Kiss the Son,now! Determine Sure escape by a fall at Jesus'feet!
Father, fill this weary heart,
With your Spirit, your presence!
Infuse my mind with reverence,
Beyond ideas of human art!
May an aroma, a Holy essence,
Melt my anxious heart!
This day is a new start;
Live for you in Holy reverence!
Break sin’s pride apart,
By awareness of your presence!
Heaven is more than severance,
The gift of a new heart!
Bear Jesus’ Name in reverence,
By Holy Spirit, not apart!
No Jesus in carnal heart!
In Jesus, I enter God’s presence!
Praise from faith’s heart,
Grateful raise in pleasing essence!
Worship offer in awed reverence,
Giving day a joyful start!
Long and heavy-hot, July-Doldrum-Days;
Shag hazy thought as staggering, drunk strays;
Desperation fraught in scorching-hot-rays!
Instinct (not wisdom taught) seeks cool caves.
Safe, in a hidden spot! As my long-lost slaves…
I reclaim my thought, my icy-blue-memory saves,
My present re-caught in isolation my soul craves.
Rid of the fiery onslaught! By cool, blue waves…
Comfort the distraught,Oh Shadow of the Graves!
Deceiving the overwrought on blazing-hot-days.
Play for me! Strum on silvery strings!
Old golden hymns of ancient Truth…
Soul calming song, fly on Dove wings!
Remind me of all eternity’s worth!
Tell me of the miracle only Love brings!
Spirit’s joy, lifted by Heaven’s mirth!
Saintly song across the ages still rings…
Encircling all of history’s wide girth!
Jesus the Name a saint eternally sings…
Calling the lost home to a new birth!
Soft and low Jesus is calling; faith swings,
Life Door opens! Church of one Faith…
Ancient cloud of witness with us sings!
Healing words approving His Truth;
Faith transcends, Jesus in all age’s rings!
So strum and sing of Messiah’s birth!
Rock of Ages to you believer still clings…
Glory come down! A Pearl of worth!
Revive us again! Hope in praise springs!
Light the dark! Simple songs of Truth!
When the cotton flies on a summer day worries melt in the magic of rose bouquets presented by the Walking Stick Cactus. In the heat of sun and full life, time, age, and winter don’t matter. Swirling white cotton floating on the warm wind lifts my fanciful thoughts to go dancing in a summer-time blizzard. Feathery white stuff tickles my nose bringing me home to reality with a sneeze! This is June in the Bosque’ where the Cotton Wood is a benevolent King offering life with protection to every heat-stressed, desert creature beneath the cooling power of its shimmering leaves. Shelter for the deer and other four-footed animals is also, found among the Russian Olives, Salt Cedar, and other river-loving shrubs. The ancestral homes of many birds adorn the branches of the Cotton Wood and the lesser tree kinds of this deciduous, desert forest. During this yearly, ‘Summer Ballet of the Cotton’ all is well and at peace.
Suddenly, the cotton’s spell is broken by the sharp screech of a Magpie swooping low! He brings many of his beautiful black and white brethren with him but their dazzle is quickly forgotten in the cacophony of obnoxious sound made by these thugs bent on obtaining dominion of the Bosque’. Nothing in the trees or on the ground is spared as they swoop high and low in tacky pursuit of any creature that moves. The soothing tones of the song birds stop. A few brave parents stay in a valiant effort to protect their nests along with their young but every other bird flees. The land creatures hide beneath bushes and dive into their boroughs. An empty silence replaces the happy sounds of contentment but still the cotton drifting-twirls and the Cotton Woods are undaunted. They stand in silence offering their comforting green branches even to the likes of the Magpie who soon grow bored without the contention that defines them. In the empty, dead silence they’ve created, they begin to eye one another and soon the forest is filled with the sounds of civil war. Swooping, diving, and curling into a moving ball the great battle ensues breaking all from their assigned ranks as camaraderie is forgotten in the pursuit of personal power. Soon, the weakest among these invaders dart away and others follow until the warring mob shrinks to only two. This pair builds a nest and settles in as the other bird’s now wary, return to reclaim their home. Having revealed their true selves to all and being outnumbered, the new-comer Magpies fall silent, craftily subdue their contentious nature, and busy themselves with raising their young.
The Cotton Wood leaves quiver and quake offering their moisture to cool the hot, dry air; by wisdom blessing the righteous and the wicked alike thereby, maintaining balance in the Bosque’.
Vapors rise to form clouds and dreams.
Most take flight to drift on a pleasant breeze,
Then dissipate unremembered.
The few give of themselves to the nurturing of green hills;
Causing flowers to bloom in bursting color!
While others grow, gather, rumble, and flash!
Turning day to night under fear’s shadow;
Destructive damaging force!
Genesis in primordial mist of human imagination…
The world we created first in our dreams,
Then swept away in the flood of our iniquity!
I surrender these misty dreams of mine to Holy Spirit sway!
I prepare for that Day when a world created from toxic fumes
Is burned and only Holiness remains.
Welcome to the menagerie of my mind!
Collection I have traversed time to find!
Untamed creatures a one of every kind!
Circus of dreams ideas in passion I bind!
My wild imagination I sent to be refined;
High Def exaggeration in story entwined;
Dash o’ rose hint o’ lime polished shined!
This, my life’s work which daily I do grind.
Compulsion obsession madness confined?
From my depth of soul divinity I’ve mined!
My search for guidance only faith defined;
A purpose to purify menagerie of my mind.
If I am still alive when the bitter cloud passes, may I not I not be found stubbornly clinging to the storm because I’ve adapted myself to misery. Instead, may I celebrate in sunlight as I embrace the sparkling new day the sun reveals. Let me move forward to clean up the damage left by the storm and not be stuck hanging on for survival long after the storm has passed. A powerful storm forever transforms the landscape and the lives of those who survive but help me, Lord to accept and embrace the transformation. May the storm not live on in me in thoughts that exist in loops and refuse to move forward. Make me mindful of the present and keep me from reliving terrifying moments and even repeating them by my actions. I do not want to be a storm bearer, a manufacturer of the misery I survived. Instead, help me share the hope that enabled me to endure. May I be an image bearer of you, Jesus the one who made my survival possible. It is to you that I cling in the midst of every storm. I cling to you now, even though the sun is breaking through the clouds because I need you in good times as well as in bad. I remain tethered to face new storms that soon will appear on the horizon. Even if one of those storms should take my life, I know my soul is secure in you, Jesus. Though I die, I will live. I should never fear the storm but when I do, Jesus, you are always there to comfort and strengthen me. You are there to lead me forward when danger has passed. In you I have hope even, on those dark days when I can feel no hope, joy, or peace. Even when I let go of you, Jesus, I know you are holding on to me. Thank you, Jesus for this gift of faith by which I endure all things to also, overcome. Amen.
Enchanted by a Primrose dream in June…
A perfect dewy morn,
Sun adorns! I awake by Meadowlark tune!
No summer will I scorn!
Take my hand old man, still a honeymoon…
Our old love newly born,
In every passing season and many a moon!
Every wrinkle care-worn,
My dear old man hold me and let’s spoon!
Apart may we not be torn!
Together so long, souls and hearts attune,
Without you I die forlorn…
I will follow you! Even as far as Neptune!
Taken by one blackthorn!
Should our Primrose dream turn maroon…
Hold me! We’ll be reborn!
On an eternal dewy morning forever June!
“Thank you for taking me to church with you, Maria. I enjoyed it very much.” Estelle opens the car door to step out onto the sidewalk in front of her house and Maria gets out of the car too. “You are very welcome, Estelle. We love your company and I so appreciate what you are doing for Alisha.” As if on cue, Alisha jumps out of the car behind Estelle and gives her an unexpected hug. “Thank you for coming to hear me sing Ms. Williams!” Estelle gasps at the surprising embrace but then accepts it and returns the favor. Maria hugs her in turn and Estelle feels an old ache momentarily fade. It’s been a very long time since she’s felt a human embrace. “I will see both of you soon.” Estelle bends to peer into the car where Tony sits behind the wheel, “Thank you, Mr. Hernandez. Have a wonderful afternoon.” Tony nods in ascent and then looks straight ahead, “Come along Maria…Alisha. We need to get going.” Mother and daughter get back into the car as Estelle walks toward her front door.
Estelle opens the door and is enveloped in the isolation she’s sheltered in for such a long time. The emptiness feels safe and familiar but also, frightening and all consuming. She looks around at the immaculate, perfectly decorated house and has a sudden urge to dirty it up and make it look like someone actually, lives here. Determined but not really understanding the force impelling her to action, Estelle defiantly strides into the living room, looks at the portrait of her mother, and begins tossing expensive, artfully placed cushions from the sofa and chairs willy-nilly and even on the floor. Then she kicks off her shoes, lets down her hair and carelessly, flops down on the beautiful blue sofa. She stretches out as for a nap then reaches for a perfect rose pillow to support her head as she stares into the painted eyes of her deceased mother.
Those eyes leave Estelle feeling frozen. “How many times did I reach for you, Emma? How many times did I need a mother and even though I could see you and touch you, my mother was never there?” In a flash, Estelle understood herself as having always been an orphan on the emotional level. In fact, she’d been forced to be a mother to Emma from the time she was a small child. “Was I a good mom, Emma?” Estelle yells at the portrait as tears begin to spill. Then she remembered what the preacher said in church that morning about somehow, being able to have a parent-child relationship with God because of Jesus’ death on the cross. The idea of having such a relationship is very appealing to Estelle but it doesn’t make sense to her. She also, remembers the words of Jesus and the validation she felt upon reading them. “Emma! Do you know or care how much pain your drinking and constant neediness caused me? Do you know how hard Dad and I worked to keep your drinking secret and how much life we lost trying to protect you? Were you ever aware of what people said to me or what our neighbors thought?” With tears streaming, Estelle counted all she’d lost to Emma’s drinking and the black hole that drinking was used to anesthetize. Much of her childhood was consumed in that hole and even more of her adult years after her father passed. “Even now Emma, you steal my life from me because you never had a life! You never became a whole person! You used me to live for you and I’ve never lived for me either…” Estelle fiercely wipes the tears from her eyes, “I’m going to find a way to be more than the arms and legs of Emma Williams! I want to be a whole woman and live my life!” Estelle moves a few more objects out of place, gives Emma’s portrait a hard stare, and leaves the room.
It’s anger that gives Estelle the energy to move despite these new inner revelations. It is also, anger that numbs and gives her the fortitude to fight her excruciating, emotional pain. In the sanctuary of the only bedroom she’s ever known, she removes her church clothes and puts on her favorite pair of yoga pants and a big t-shirt. Then she goes to the bathroom to wash her face and pull herself together. When she catches her eye in the mirror, she gives herself a hard stare much like the one she unleashed on the portrait of Emma. “I-want-more!” she states firmly just below the tone of a shout.
In the kitchen, Estelle makes a sandwich as she recalls the words she heard in church that morning and remembers the warmth of friendship she’d enjoyed with Maria and Alisha. “Relationship. That’s exactly what’s missing in my life.” Estelle counts the relationships she was never able to enjoy, the school-chums that couldn’t come over to play or for sleep-overs; then later, the young men who could never find room in her life because her life belonged to her mother. “Now, I’m left alone and I don’t know how to connect to others because I never learned.” This truth comes down cold and hard but also, clarifies the solution. “I need to learn how to relate to people.”
Estelle takes her sandwich and a glass of milk with her as she goes into her office for her lap-top. Thinking she will lay down on her bed and catch up on some reading, she starts to enter her bedroom but then suddenly turns and decides to use Emma’s room instead. Pushing decorations aside, she puts her things down and rips open the bed. The frilly comforter lands on the floor where it stays and Estelle builds a comfy seat for herself from the pillows. She opens the curtains to let the sunlight in and then settles in bed to finish eating, not caring about the crumbs spilling all over the expensive satin sheets.
“If I want to know who Jesus is, I guess I need to read the Bible.” Estelle doesn’t own a Bible but quickly finds one online. Not knowing where to start, she decides to begin in Matthew, the book from which they’d read that morning. Estelle reads all of the Gospels and is transfixed by the person of Jesus described in those pages. “Such an ancient story that touches my heart in a way I don’t understand.” Estelle whispers to herself but also, to God. “He suffered so much but He stayed true to You and You were always there for Him. What a wonderful relationship. God, I don’t know what I have to do exactly. I don’t really understand but I want that relationship. I want You to be my Father too. I am all alone and I need You!”
Estelle closes her lap-top, pushes it to the other side of the bed, then sinks down off the pillows, and drifts off to sleep. Before long, she is wandering from room to room in her house-dream. She is a little girl to whom the house of her childhood though small, appears very large. The house is cold, empty, and Estelle lost, meanders circling from one silent room to the other, calling for first her mother and then her dad. There is no answer. The house is filled by an arctic wind and then goes black. Little Estelle shivers in the dark fearing she’ll also, disappear in the void; when suddenly, a bright light appears!
To be continued.
For previous posts in this series go to https://joyindestructible.com/the-recluse-series/ where posts are listed in ascending order.