I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God...how my heart yearns within me!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Unearthing Earth Day: The Earth is a Crystal Ball

The Earth is a crystal ball you see
It holds the future for you and me
The crystal held within its sphere
Is salty brine or fresh, it's clear

The people who would make Earth "Mom"
Would truly like to read the palm
The outstretched one that You laid bare
To help them out of their despair

That drowns their thoughts of Providence
And takes away their common sense
As ebbing tide will wash the shore
Or springtime floods sweep forest's floor

There is this trouble about special providences--namely, there is so often a doubt as to which party was intended to be the beneficiary. In the case of the children, the bears, and the prophet, the bears got more real satisfaction out of the episode than the prophet did, because they got the children. -- Pudd'nhead Wilson's Calendar --

Steephead or drainage swale in Murphysboro State Park

Though SAM and I both were brought up in the '70s when Earth Day began to gather steam, we both find peculiar this strange fixation on the health of the planet. Who would have the audacity to think we (alive and present on this Earth) are any worse or better at changing the Earth--for the worse or better--than the generations that came before us? It takes a pudd'nhead, I guess.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Spring (and Love) is in the Airing


Although this Sunday was an exception (it being Easter!), SAM and I enjoy taking in the sights, sounds, and sips of wine that an early springtime visit to a winery can offer. As the video above reveals--taken shortly after our return home from Florida several weeks ago--the loud music lovers had not yet invaded The Bluffs Vineyard and Winery in nearby Ava, Illinois. Now, it's not the music that we find objectionable. It's THE VOLUME! I'm sure the frogs you hear in the video, if they could voice an opinion, would agree: TURN IT DOWN! Let nature speak, softly, of love instead....

...For, nor in nothing, nor in things
Extreme and scatt'ring bright, can love inhere,
Then as an angel, face and wings
Of air, not pure as it, yet pure doth wear,
So thy love may be my love's sphere,
Just such disparity
As is 'twixt air and angels' purity,
'Twixt women's love and men's will ever be.

--from John Donne's "Air and Angels," c. 1633--

Sunday, February 22, 2015

How Great the Art?

Twist but don't shout at Bonnet House in Fort Lauderdale

In a recent twist of fate, SAM and I were invited to stay at a distant relative's condo in South Florida. As fate would have it, this invitation coincides with our 35th wedding anniversary. The place is ours to enjoy for the time being, and what a place! I won't post a picture of the inside of the condo since it's not mine to show off, but I will say that the art it contains is inspiring.

Daughter, don't sit under the camellia tree with anyone else but me
 Before we traveled that far south, though, we made a pit[hy] stop in Tallahassee to visit Daughter and her hubby and to deposit Peanut.

Peanut makes herself at home while visiting Daughter and Son-in-law

She (the cat--and possibly I--not the daughter!) has/have put on quite a few excess pounds whilst living up north. Is it the stress of the cold or just living in Illinois that "comPounds" the problem of weight gain? If Peanut could talk, she would probably tell me to take a chill pill and relax. You can't make the wheels of Illinois' state government turn any faster than they are used to moving. Just because Florida could issue a professional license in short order (10 days) doesn't mean that Illinois can or will do the same for me (9 weeks and counting).

Speaking of wheels turning, while waiting on the license, I've been working on a train song. I always have liked that genre for some reason. Daughter gave me a guitar for Christmas in 2013, and I am finally trying to learn how to play the darn thing. Since we gave him a guitar this past Christmas, Grandson and I have been taking lessons together from a teacher employed by Mike's Music in Carbondale, Illinois. Ever since I saw Tommy Emmanuel in concert, I've been wanting to try my hand(s) at the art.

"Trunk art" at Bonnet House in Ft. Lauderdale
I wonder...If this tree we saw at Bonnet House Plantation in Ft. Lauderdale could be turned into an instrument, what song would it sing?

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Timing is Everything

Woodrow Wilson, 28th President of the United States, who met his Maker on this day in 1924
The past several months since we have moved to Illinois have certainly been interesting if not at times overwhelming. Deciding to move (for work), selling a home, buying a home, enduring another Illinois oil industry bust (loss of work), losing a mom (SAM's), telling our son that we have no choice but to "unemploy" him, anticipating another grandchild....

Anyway, I noticed in the local morning paper (Southern Illinoisan) that today is the anniversary of the enactment of the 16th Amendment to the United States' Constitution which, among other things, supposedly buoyed our national confidence and helped fund our involvement in the War to End All Wars (World War I). Yes, indeed, folks, we now (still!) have the privilege of annually (or quarterly, as the case may be) enriching the U.S. Treasury with our hard-earned dollars, or in other words, paying our federal income tax. Thank you, W.W. and your fellow Progressives, for this privilege. We shall forever be indebted to you (and your successors). May God have mercy on your soul(s)!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Ferguson By Way of Aughra: "The Two Made One"

While most media outlets are currently focused on the nature of upraised hands (e.g., the St. Louis Rams' silent protest of grand jury decision on Michael Brown case), I got to thinking about one of my walks in Southern Illinois nature before the recent onset of winter-like weather.

SAM and I like to visit a nearby state park and walk around a bit to see what we can see. As you can see, this photo (above), taken sometime in October of this year, reveals a stump extraordinaire. "Go back!" she seems to say. Or "Turn left!" or right, as per your perspective on the situation. As per my comment to a sibling this evening: "Why can't we all just get along?"

I don't know. I guess I'm stumped. Perhaps Aughra has had her outstretched finger (or removable eye, as the case may be) on the right idea all along:

"What was sundered and undone shall be whole, the two made one.”

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Living Again in a Place Where the Sun Don't Shine (Much--This Time of Year)

Fruit (nut?) from our backyard ginkgo tree
The last time I held out my hand for this blog, Winter was winding up, and we were headed for a place where it tends to linger. Not for long, we thought. Just for a season or two. Yes, the house in Florida is on the market, but it will never sell. We forgot what someone once told my parents who were anxious to sell their house at the time. Something along the lines of: There may not be a house for every fool, but there's a fool for every house.

By the time the house in Florida had sold, we had our eye on an oldy-but-goody one here. Actually, my foolish imagination had an eye on her before we ever saw her. A lovely, grand lady dressed Victorian or Edwardian style floated above SAM's head as he slept. Not literally, of course! She was in my dream, and the next day I found her, solid as a brick house, in a real estate listing online. Initially, SAM must have thought I was nuts. Buy a house based on a dream? Sure honey. I know you're a little shook up about moving from Florida (again), but you want us to buy a house that's more than 100 years old??? 

Okay, so she's not brand-spankin' new, but then neither are we. We've got some mileage on us. Besides, she's had a lot of work done to bring her up to speed. More is needed, mainly outside; I'll grant you that.

Ginkgo fruit, anyone?

Underneath those leaves lurk bushels of ginkgo fruits (imagine the smell)

Most of that work, though, will have to wait until Spring arrives. Hopefully, by that time, the ginkgo-stinko fruit will have dried up. The sun will come out again and warm the soil...

...and the rose bushes will bloom again.