Sunday, January 23, 2011


After my last post, I tromped through the serenity of the nearest grocery story which was like Mardi Gras since people were out shopping for the first time and for another upcoming snowstorm. No natural headiness happening. However, I saw several friends and we yacked and perhaps they thought I wouldn't let them return to shopping? Well, such is social desperation during snow-time.


** perhaps I'll return to my women's ministry group this session; yet, can I take it? So much skin flailing at times. I wish to be okay with me. However, I realize that I determine that and no one else.

** my son's soccer game is tonight; a newly discovered sport, a blessing. He's doing well at 16. He will make it.

** just heard from my long-lost CA cousin who married a black man. We found her again after discovering that my aunt and uncle disowned her. Seriously, this day and age? Julie and I are writing, and I'm getting acquainted with my second cousins I never knew I had.

** I have a printed NYTimes article entitled "The One-Eyed Man is King" regarding the remake of "True Grit." Here's a good line: "Like classic Hollywood Westerns before it, 'True Grit' in all its iterations has an elegiac lilt." Like Shane, an order is established; transgressions are answered.

** Too many book tidbits are floating on my tables. Perhaps I should pick just one instead of 20. Now, there's an idea.

** Served the K-2 grade students at church this morning. Love them. Love their faces while jumping rope. Love their progress from kindergarten to second grade. Love the little buddies who always sit by me and put their heads on my shoulder. Love kids.

** Many papers to grade.

** Much snow to melt.

** It's a good life when things don't go wrong.

Friday, January 21, 2011


Yes, Jack London wouldn't think it's that bad at all. I should remove my flowery robe, dress in thickness, and go outside to tromp. The wind isn't even whistling; wolves from an upper NW pack have not even descended into my state. The one to three mountain lions spotted in rural areas do not like this university town. A malicious deer with a weaponry rack only exists in the imagination of a city-slicker.

It's tame. Each sequestered back yard here might have a cat's trail, or a squirrel's brush, or a dog's plow marking the snowscape. Yesterday, I saw one terrified deer bounding into our yard and over the neighbor's fence, marking wide leaps of horror. Yet no danger exists.

I could go outside and walk off this fancy cabin malaise. When I was younger, I always did just that, dressing in old green coveralls and an old Chiefs hat, some old tennis shoes, some old black work gloves. I would dodge the heat wave from Mom's wood stove. I would dodge the loudness of Dad's television. I would dodge getting involved in the third book of the day. The cold air would hit; the dog would fall in behind; freedom came from striding down the hill, past the pond not quite safe for skating, past the summer's blackberry bushes, past the Mulberry playhouse tree with the old teakettle swinging coldly from a branch. Finally, into the back acreage; finally down the steep hill where the quartz rock could always sparkle to be found. Down to the secret pond, surrounded by cedar, and away from everything.

I never was not greeted graciously in the winter-time outside. Some sort of beauty awaited. Some sort of treat presented itself. Some type of freedom assented inside my spirit.

I would focus on small things, and they would focus back, like two aliens studying each other's habits; two aliens living under each others' noses until one says, "Hello" and the other says, "Finally!"

Prayer and love, or release from loneliness, or spiritual un-chokedness would always happen. In the winter-time, the desperation for such would be extreme. In the winter-time, such outlines inside and outside just occurred. The snow on the branches gave me pause; the greyish ice on the spring-fed pond made me think; the sound of the branches spoke. Wow, I'm a bit crazy like Thoreau and Wordsworth themselves! Yet when a country girl needed a vacation which was never taken otherwise because of money, she could find it on the land -- the Ozarkian land especially. I don't know what the crazed city kids did, and for them, I feel sympathy.

When walking back up the steep, rocky hill towards our small house, I would be ready for it again. Another night of television or books and thick wood heat. Another cancellation of school or basketball practice. Another grapple with closeness, sounds and silence.

I think I must try to walk today outside. I think I will just be one of those neighborhood women who walk to shape up. I think I must go find a creek bed too if possible.

Amen and amen.

Asking for it back

from "The Age of Reason" by Kathleen Norris

Now it begins: the search for a God
who has moved on, the
God-please-help-me need
you still can't imagine, strangely
twisted landscapes
in which you may not rest.
The pillar of cloud
you saw march across the plain
will pass you by; some younger child
will see it.

It was given
so readily, and now you must learn
to ask for it back.
It's not so terrible;
it's like the piano lessons you love
and hate. You know how you want
the music to sound,
but have to practice, half in tears,
without much hope.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Not forgotten

Writing in the blog, non. Living in the life, oui. I was reminded this week of how powerful writing can be to capture the fast-movement of life. I was reminded of my place here, an open square for words to write and capture.

For a writing assignment given to my freshmen students, I wrote about homemade ice cream. I created a sensory map in which I captured all the sensory details of the ice cream family event which we used to have each summer at Grandma Cora's house. The piece has captivated me. I keep reading it over and over again reliving all of those southern Missouri moments of that specific time which represented complete harmony in the universe to me. Grandma's laugh, the smell of the grass, the spicy smell of hydrangea, the feel of the hugging humidity, the sight of aunts, cousins, uncles in the lit circle by the food table, the cicadas, the men hunched over, turning, turning the crank, pouring in the ice, the creamy delectableness of the gift. Grandma's bustle and joy. The wealthy life. God and pleasure.

Therefore, motivated by the writer's desire for preservation, canning, going to the cellar and unscrewing the jar which holds experience.

Grateful for the ever present possibility.