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"A thousand things went right today."

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Notes from CARTI

      Despite soft carpet, floor to ceiling plate glass views of sky and woodland, and trendy color schemes, sitting in an oncology waiting room is neither physically relaxing nor mentally pleasant.   It is ready evidence of varying realities. Very few of the waiting room occupants are smiling,  Some, but not all, of the staff behind counters and desks look happy.

      Illness, in this case cancer, in all its forms is ugly.     It is mean.       It is dehumanizing.    It shows its total non-discrimination through patients ambulatory or not, of all ages sexes and races, but all with one obvious similarity: no one smiles, not the ill one, not the caregiver, not the employee handing out small purple tags with a number.

   Even the magazines are torn or dogeared or missing a cover.  They are incomplete. What has  so obscenely defaced the cover or rolled pages in such a way that they can never be whole again? And why? 

   Outside the windows on the carefully and expensively manicured hills with their just-budding dogwoods and  oaks,  the scene is not one bit realistic, for the grass is evenly cut, the seasonal flowers blooming, the clouds fluffy and full, the cars parked perfectly within the lines.

    Lesson for Tuesday: Blessings on the brave. Blessings on the frightened. Blessings on their families. Blessing on their hope.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Good Things

   My older neighbor next door lives alone but neighbors check in on her when her out-of-town and out-of state children are not with her. She is a delightful lady nearing the century mark, one who enjoys good food.  She enjoys chocolate. She enjoys chocolate a lot. She buys the really good gourmet chocolate, each beautifully wrapped in expensive foil.

   She also enjoys crossword puzzles and can beat the socks off the former English teacher and newspaper writer (the writer of this blog) who brings her plebian food such as chicken casserole or pound cake.

      We've been neighbors for several decades. She likes to eat and I like to cook, so I take dishes (containing  food, of course) to her often. My neighbor, Mrs. B. sits every morning at her antique kitchen table where she quickly works the daily crossword puzzle or reads the newspaper or her daily devotional

   From front door to kitchen is the shortest route to join Mrs. B, a route that forces one (if she is polite) to look at the family pictures above the antique sideboard and then to glance down (of course) at the candy jar next to the kitchen door. There is the coveted vessel, the golden grail, the honey pot of delight wherein rests chocolate, chocolate wrapped in red or purple or silver or gold foil, each color foil indicating the flavor of deliciousness within.

    This blogger and possibly other neighbors know that Mrs. B. knows that we know where the chocolate is. "Have a piece of candy when you go," she says.
We do.
    Ahhhh.  Hmmmm.  What might I take to her tomorrow?

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Call of the Wild Goose

        The so pleasant and nostalgic sound of the wild goose's calls this January morning made me look out the kitchen window then quickly go out the back door. I followed the sound and looked up.

     The sun not long risen was casting long shadows of bare limbs of the pecan and walnut trees, up and over the wooden back yard fence. And the geese! Oh, surely many thousands of them: determined, flying south in myriad separate  V-shaped formations, one hearty goose leading, the others, honking, flying in near perfect formation.Stragglers behind the primary group seemed to double their efforts to keep up with or even pass slower, perhaps tiring birds. The words unknowably vast came to mind.

     I shaded my eyes as the sun transformed those fluttering wings into brilliant silver flashes; crisp winter air transformed gentle hoarse honking into nostalgic memories of my sons' hunting days. That sight and that sound also gave to me this early morning a calm knowing that seemed to whisper "It's okay. All is okay."

     Then the thought gift came unbidden to my mind. That seems to be the way with God's gifts: they so often come unbidden. Even when we don't yet recognize our need for a gentle reminder, a reminder comes.  So, yes it is okay. All is okay.  Does not the sun shine through through the bare trees? Do not the geese know their way? Are not the best gifts often  free?

     i must remember that quiet message this day. All is well.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Here There Be Monsters

            Metaphorically speaking, the sun does not shine every day. 

         Some days, and nights as well,  are dark and bleak and stone cold frozen. Even when in Spring when there are dancing  shadows from the sun overhead, metaphorically speaking still, the world seems so dismally frightening.  "Here there be monsters" the mapmakers of centuries ago inscribed over uncharted areas of oceans.

         So when does the woman of faith do to dispel the darkness with its monsters? What does she do when prayer seems to fall on deaf ears and God seems to be hiding, when meaness seems ready to pounce again at the next corner?  What does she do when life as she knows it seems fragile?

         She does the best she can. She takes another step, then puts one foot in front of the other and next foot in front, and the next and the next.  She carries on as women do when those she loves are threatened.

            And she prays. "God of Light, guide my faltering feet."



Saturday, September 24, 2016

A Reluctant Muse

 Muse Reluctant

   Some days one's muse is quiet, maybe enlightening another writer/painter. The muse who visits my studio on occasion has been away for a while. It's time for her to come back. 

       The studio, moved to the backyard of our house in town from the yard of a cotton gin, proudly began life as a cotton buyer's office, then was abused as a storage place for not needed but "too good to pitch" furniture, then a deposit for used textbooks, bank statements, chairs with less then four legs, tricycles and hat boxes (remember those?) and finally a fine home for spiders and their kin,
mice, and squirrels.

   Our sons flew in from Seattle and Atlanta to surprise their Mama and hang and paint sheet rock, help their Dad build a porch onto the Cotton House, and enjoy Cypress Corner barbecue.  

   The boys' Mama, freed from canvases, paints, and bushes all over the kitchen table and counters, began to paint in the "new place", often to the raucous and inimitable sound of Preservation Hall or Randy Newman. The muse came often then, granting the painter with ideas and the best color combinations, even initiating good sales. Heck, this painting thing was good. It was fine!
                                                        However. Muses are as individual as the creators they might serve. They are prone to wander. They are beautiful things but not often reliable, though the real truth may be that the artists/writers/inventors they serve are themselves not always present.

  So, Muse, I plead guilty to presuming I had no need of you.

  Come back to Cotton House Studio.

I miss you. 
              I need you.