Monday, October 24, 2016

First, sort of...

Walking up Pearson Falls Road after dark Friday night, I was surprised to see some fine flakes flurrying around my headlamp. I'm counting that as the first snow of the season. Of course, we didn't see any on the ground, but it was snow enough to make my heart quicken.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

...clean enough?

Grandmother came to visit today. It had been a while, but I felt her moving toward me through the October light and I heard her speaking in the rustle of the dogwood leaves and even before I could make out the words, I knew it was her. You're looking better, Child, than the last time we talked. You look like you belong to this place, and not just pinned to it with a broke-off locust thorn.

Not knowing how to answer that, I listened to her laugh whispering through the crooked and broken little tree until I was able to scrape a few words together. "I'm easy here, Grandmother. I want to live out my span on this old mountain and return to earth right here. I wish I'd never left, the first time."

The leaves shivered slightly when she spoke again. Boy, our times are not really up to us. We don't make our lives; our lives make us. Some are lucky enough to be born to their home place, and some have to sojourn away to find it. And sometimes you have to leave home to meet enough loss and hurt that you can come back to it with a clean and honest soul.

Then I wanted to ask if my soul was clean enough yet that I could stay, but she was gone again. There was just the breeze and the barely audible hum of a late wandering bee among the beautiful dying leaves.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

More so...

Forty years can change a man in a lot of ways, but essentially, they just render him more so. Our faults as well as our virtues tend to accentuate over time. Our impulses require diligent and judicious pruning throughout our days, lest we lose our moral shape.

If all my prayers had been answered in the ways I hoped, my life would have been a disappointment to everybody, especially to me.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Writers are people...

Writers are people who have learned to sit still and pay attention until they are surprised. Nobody writes well who doesn't write long. So if you mean to be a real writer, write a lot. Not everything you write will be any good. A lot of it will be awful stuff. This will be true even after you've been writing for years and years. But if you write a great deal, some of it will be better than you thought you could.

Throw the rest in the shredder and nobody will hold it against you.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Just down the hill...

While I was down at Nostalgia Court Tuesday morning, helping Jane Ella move some things into her studio at Feldenkrais Saluda, I stepped next door to Vogue Salon where our friend, Jayme gave me a right smart shearing. That ought to hold me until the winter solstice, at least.

Definitely one of the best haircuts I've ever had, and cost me less than I would have paid the guy down the mountain who cut my hair for years before we fled the city. Maybe the best thing about it, I don't have to drive off the mountain to get there. Just a five-minute walk down the hill.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Advise and dissent...

The wren in the laurel cries, Yes. Yes.
To the rising morning. The squirrels
In the oaks scold her enthusiasm.
Gather ye acorns while ye may,
They say. An idle autumn
Is a lean and hungry winter.
 Seize your joy, sings the wren. 
What waste to toil away
This brightest and happiest day.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Beyond all...

After we sang a hymn in church Sunday, our priest reminded us that the words were written by Clement of Alexandria in the second century. Old Clement, who surely never expected to be preaching in Saluda, North Carolina in the twenty-first century, has been caught up along with us in the now-ness of the Gospel. We're all fellow sojourners in the Kingdom that once and forever is, where terms like ancient or modern have no real meaning. We're traveling together in company with the One who said, "Before Abraham was, I am."

This blessed day, and every day conceived in the eternal mind of God, is an everlasting moment. All that we yield back into the hand of God is kept and enlivened beyond all endings.