The Turning: In Which Around Every Corner Is A Discovery

shrimp boats on at night

Often they are small. And then other times they are wonderful and large, looming truths about life. They hover like ebony rain-packed  summer clouds in the afternoon. Or they float by like seeds blown from a spent dandelion. They are coming and going. A constant force to be reckoned with. They are hatchlings and seedlings and fledglings of this life.

Birthed in unexpected places and moments, they appear. And I am called to be vigilant and at peace. A combination of human emotion that allows tender and tough to co-exist. Tender enough to capture the magnificence. And tough enough to know that in the netting, there will be objects that must be released. It is not all glory and it is not all beauty. But seeking the lovely, the grace-filled and the glorious requires casting the net into the life seas.

In a state of watchful child-like wonder I can live this season of my life in a state of re-born newness. Like a bivalve cracks open and lets the water flow in and out, receiving and releasing. Keeping the nutrients, releasing the sediments. I am called to continually take in the discoveries of my life. I would starve on a diet of bland, if I never crack open the door to wonder. I would miss the shades of blue on the hydranga that go to purple, lavender and aqua. And  the hidden greens waiting to decide which color to be.

We would never know the way rain feels, dropping from a summer storm on warm tanned flesh if we remain cocooned in dry places. One more day reveals one more smell or taste, never before experienced.

And words of an eighteen year old child who want to tell their story get tangled in my net. I can choose.  I choose to  listen and realize there is more than the words unfurling from the man/child lips. There is a heart of curiosity and trust. There is his own discovery needing a place to land and light.

In a moment or two, a child will awake from her warm quilted bed in an air-conditioned room and tell me of her ten day mission trip. She has gone away and seen poverty and a world outside of her own. She and her passport are back. And there are stories to gently receive.

A parent lives a layered life of discovery. Because she holds the key to seeing through a child’s glistening eyes. Her own, the ones who look to her and call her momma. And it magnifies the wonder. For at once she is receiving discovery  through her own glassy portals  and stooping down to see through the eyes of those she is raising.

If I see with open wonder and a seeking heart, will I show my children how even in my fifty-fourth year of life, the beauty never ends. The unveiling never stops. And his Kingdom is filled with marvelous intricate designs. That art is living, breathing, waiting, hoping, pulsing all around.

And I am in this middle place. I see through the eyes of my aging mother too. The joys rebounding in her life. The strange and child-like discovery that is hers as she moves through her days. She forgets and then she remembers. And if I can learn to refine a listening heart,  I will hear the most intricate details of a woman, a mother and another poet’s life.

Around every corner is a discovery.  I will raise my net.

And bend into a low and listening stance, ever vigilant, ever watchful. Filled with the ready knowing that something is waiting. And that something is beautiful.

I will round the corner at a slow and steady gait. One that expects to not miss a single fleck floating in the sun-soaked or moon-drenched air.

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Joining Jennifer and Emily

Learning To Live As A Child

spencer with butterfly on handI sat in the middle of a field of clover yesterday, cold spring wind chilling my bones while my insides were warmed by discovery.
I sat in the middle of a playground yesterday, not as a mother or grandmother, but as a new friend to small children.

And I walked through the backdoor of childhood and saw the world through the portal of wonder. It was as if I were a little Alice for an hour or two. But you don’t get there in the blink or the nod or the snap you might think.

No it is a slower dance than even I thought it would be.

Re-entering the world of little ones. You walk gently into sacred territory with respect and eyes wide open to wonder.

And it looks like  preparing for a make believe wedding with clover bridesmaids bouquets. And it smells like dirt balls thrown high to the sky. They are snow or dirt or sand. You speak it and they are changed.It feels like ice-cold metal chain. You hold the chain while you push the swing and if its March and Spring is late, the metal is cold as blocks of ice on your trembling flesh.

When I pulled the white down comforter up over my memories of the day and tucked myself into bed I remembered. I remembered what I learned from being a child, the stirring of emotions my backdoor entrance into childhood kept me awake. I longed to hold on to the day that I knew could not be repeated. Not one of them can.
I can still smell the clover, sweet and fresh. I lifted the flower to my noise over and over this day trying to recall if I remembered this fragrance.

But it smelled new to me. As so much of the day felt new. How had I forgotten the smell of clover or had I never recorded it in my youth.

Had I let my self grow so far away from the mystery and wonder of seeing the world as an Alice?

I asked my new friend who is five or so to see if she could find a four leaf clover. And then I waited for her return. Sweet excitement in her face, she brought back a hand filled with new discovery. That a four leaf clover can be a three leaf clover plus one borrowed leaf from another. That life can be viewed and seen in so many different ways. We limit ourselves as adults. I looked down at the three leaf clover plus the ripped piece from another, sacrificed to total four. Amazed by her creativity, I long to see the world with saucer-shaped eyes. To see it slant in all its mysteries.

At her invitation into child’s play, I entered into a game of hide and seek and found so much more than my friend hiding behind a tree trunk. I re-discovered play and release of the bondage of adult sensibilities, if just for a few minutes. Life is full through the eyes of a child. We watched dogs race and return a thrown ball to their human. And we found squirrels’ nests nestled in the bare tree limbs. And in these frozen moments on a cold spring day, I stared at a squirrel scratch an itch behind his ear. And helped my friend see two messy nests. Where have I been looking if not up. How have I missed so much.

And in throwing a baseball back and forth with her three year little brother, I observed meekness, gentleness, and forgiveness when the ball hit hard on her back. I learned in an afternoon in the park what I needed to tuck into my soul for a refresher course. I needed remediation on play.

I needed to count and run and watch a made up disco dance. And say good job. My soul was hungry for looking at art drawn in the sand with a stick. My soul needed  to watch a paper plate soar as a frisbee on a windy day. My imagination lay dormant more than I knew. Until it was cracked open a bit at the hand of a wildly creative girl and her brother.

Discovery came through the eyes of a child, on a cold day, in a park in Charleston. When the world of an adult was frozen, thankfully in time. And a dormant imagination began to  wake up to the new world that waits all around.

I was Alice for a day because of  friendship and a playdate. One boy and one girl helped me see the world through the eyes of a child. And I am learning to live as a child again.

spencer gets a shot from the top

Joining Jen and Heather.

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Ask A Poet Why and He May Say


Why do you tell the world just so,
Why do you speak unplain?
What is the push and pull within
That wraps the word along
In patterns, rythme and weaving, or a  threading?
If you can write in paragraph and line and write as plain as day
As others speak.
Why do you say these things just so, that beg some time
To sit and think,
And pull apart like child at play.
Like dough in hand, forms and shapes,
Flexing and extending.
To see
Just see what shapes and forms, what beauty
Will come from void?

Why do you tell the world just so?
Why do you speak unplain?
What is there in subtle hiding or buried hidden thought?
Why tuck inspiration or creation in words
That speak like puzzle piece?
Why does a child sit on the floor, hours spent
With block in hand or lego piles, to see what he can make
From void, from nothing, make something beautiful, wild or wooly
When on the shelf sit hundreds of toys to grab in seconds flat.


Why do you tell the world just so?
Why do you speak unplain?
Why do fields hold wonders and whimsy and skies and seas
Do too.
A lifetime is spent in discovering these
That lay in the world He made.
What joy in telling of all He does and makes and gives, in
The world and in a life, as seen by eyes inside a heart.
Can we see the mystery in the hidden hummingbird nest
So small, so buried in the limb
Or see the cross which cotton bears when burst open right at  harvest time?
I knew not
They were there.

Until I look still, closer, still
And listen with my heart
For small and subtle, nearly lost in a frenzied,
Shouting, clamoring,high octane world.
When some are screaming, writing tomes
Is there a place for poet’s voice, a home?
It takes a moment longer, you linger or
You’ll leave, impatient with the telling.
Many say, say what you mean and say it fast
And some say simply short is sweet.
But the poet winds and rambles leaving crumbs to gather
On a page.Saying rest awhile and seek the deep.
A world is rushing by, but you
May slow your pace and rest your eyes with me
Let’s talk of life upon these lines.

And seek the hidden things.
Let’s look together at this life, find beauty
And amazing, the wondrous and the plain, lying in the shadows.
The world made mysterious by His hand, the smallest  subtle intrigue
Try to understand the intricate, He’s artist Creative God.
He’s buried complex things, they’re hidden in the deep.
Let’s hold our breath and hold up time  to find, to truly see.
Come explore with patient eyes.
The deep, the hidden marvels in the space
That lies between you and me, us and them.
And hold on traveller, pilgrim friend
Just ask the poet why and he may say
There is simple beauty in the hidden things.

Joining Emily, Duane, Jennifer.