Wisconsin

The first frost felled the leaves

into a carpet of yellow and orange.

The transition was sudden and left

no time to think.

Winter is coming and it must be

listened to and listened for.

Advent approaches.

Advertisements

Blue Hill Prayer

Here in the blue hills of Asheville,

I was anointed this morning by the needles of the White Pine,

falling upon the crest of my head.

The smell of Rosemary Geranium filled me.

The wind flowing through the trees, kissing them,

created a symphony of sound,

drawing me into its mountainous song.

My heart swelled with love for these connections with creation.

They are family to me.

Thanks be to You, God, the Creator of all.

 

Around the bonfire…

 

Around the bonfire, I find a circle that does not end,

a space where stories are told, but not claimed,

plenty of darkness to hide the pain that lingers,

a centerpiece of fire which cannot be controlled.

 

Around the bonfire, there is plenty of love,

and the laughter mingles with the fire’s crackles,

as the moon emerges shyly from its slumber,

everybody is dancing in the moonlight.

 

Around the bonfire, life slows down,

to a pace that allows some perspective,

the smell of fire saturates the busyness,

and cuts into the forgetfulness of abundant life.

 

 

 

 

When I Can’t Hear the Land

Moving to the city brings about
the bustle and excitement of
lights that never go out.

The guitars and horns and
trains whistle to and from
forming a chiming cacophony.

Noises and voices surround,
encouraging, soliciting,
keeping loneliness away.

The proximity of city life
to the desired destinations
of work and play is sustainable.

The fields of grass have yielded
fields of concrete that assist
travelers to their destinations.

And in the midst of the convenience,
and the concrete, I find,
I can no longer hear the land.

I can’t hear the tree change
when the seasons call it,
or the frog’s nightly lullaby.

I can’t smell the change of seasons,
or see the constellations put on
their nightly brilliance.

I can’t spend an hour with the sunset,
over a field of wheat and chaff,
this I can do no longer.

I can’t taste the invasive honeysuckle,
I don’t have memory of this land,
I can’t walk it with closed eyes.

For all the sounds of the city,
I trust the land is talking,
but I can’t hear it anymore.

The Other Side of the Bench…

Here we are, at this bench
There is only one bench here to hold us
Its cracked red edges and rusty nails

We are here, exhausted travelers
Needing a place to rest.
Needing each other.

Will we share this bench?
Will we fight over it,
till we both fall exhausted on the ground.

The blisters on our feet,
the smell of our tattered clothes,
give witness to a ragged journey.

Will we claim separate ends of this bench,
or will we lean on each other,
sleeping the sleep of the exhausted?

If we are so connected,
why do we tarry,
in leaning on each other?

Why do we fight over this bench,
when there is room for all?

All the Cheers

2014 Graduates, here’s to you!

Cheers to you, Cheers

to the culmination of a chapter that has defined you long enough,
to the end of all nighters and ceaseless caffeine,
to the chest-tightening finals,
and the papers that just need 200 more words

to the many conversations about the world,
to the hours of scholarship and research,
to the months of searching for a major or writing a dissertation,
and the self-doubt that never quite leaves

to the new creases in your forehead
where your brow has been furrowed,
to the years where you sought to find
that which makes you come alive

Cheers to you, Cheers

to the silencing of your inner critic
as you receive that dean’s diploma,
to the fear that asks: ‘what now?’
to the new knowledge you now hold

to the professors who have given you
scholarship from their fields
so you may not forget that
an unexamined life is not worth living

to your people who have seen you through,
to your significant other who knows the
hours of study and tears of stress,
to the many prayers for God’s mercy and peace

Cheers to you, Cheers

to the new season that you enter.
Do not welcome this season with fear,
Do not call trepidation a friend,
Do not become crippled with doubt

Ask what makes you come alive,
Ask who is your best self,
Be fiercely protective of your self worth,
Guard it and give it away to no one

Do not assume that you can do this alone,
Embrace the interconnectedness of the earth and humanity,
Know that love is clay that we were molded from
And it will continue to shape you

Cheers to you, Cheers

As you welcome learning as a close friend
and you aren’t afraid of doubt in your faith journey,
For doubt keeps you asking questions
And you should never stop asking good questions

Do not turn a blind eye to injustice
Fight it.
Do not let philanthropy fool you into forgetting
the everyday need of your neighbor

Like it or not, the new season is here,
but the same problems exist,
So take your new found knowledge
and work to solve those problems

Cheers to you, Cheers

Know this is not all or nothing,
it’s just another piece of your story
waiting for you to embrace it,
fully present, fully alive

God is in you, above you,
behind you, underneath you,
and ahead of you. Fear not.

Here’s to calloused hands,
tired backs, mindful presence,
and loud laughter, and
revolutionary ideas.

You did it! You.

Cheers to you, Cheers!

Dance With Me

Dance with me,
Under the stars,
Across the plains,
Through the sequoias,
Hold me tightly,
when I just can’t.

Come with me,
to the edges,
edges of who we are,
who we want to be,
our best selves.

Take a chance with me,
for the rest of our lives,
smile with me in joy,
pray with me in uncertainty,
and miss me in separation.

Work with me,
to illicit change,
to grieve injustice,
to sit at the table
of the full menu,
of human rights.

Do life with me,
let’s find out,
about the mystery
of grace, and mercy,
and love.

Walk with me,
through my fears,
and hesitancy,
show me what
vulnerability means.

Dance with me,
Through the shadows of
what we might be,
if we, as humans,
would realize our
interconnectedness.