What Would You Have Said


We were four. Perhaps you could say we were three against one. (It may be clearer in a moment how we came to be divided in our perspectives.  Before they shifted, again.) Two of us knew the sunset would occur at 6:12, because we had Googled it. A third one joined us. He was no wheel. He was more than welcome on this pilgrimage.

Moments matter. Minutes count. And when you are chasing descending beauty in the sky, and especially when you are chasing the sun as it tucks itself into bed, seconds count. If you blink or turn, the sky performs without you. Nature has no pause button. No rewind.

We didn’t have to go far to watch the sun set, bleed blazing reds and break-open spilling blood orange hues onto the salty creek. Like a dropped and broken egg from my bantam hen, we expected a color explosion to be poured out. A history of admiring the day’s often dramatic curtain closing gave us something we thought we could “count on.” Who among us doesn’t love a sunset.

Three of us walked quickly down the black asphalt road to attend the performance of our favorite star, planet sun. February had just turned brisk again, after she had casually flirted with the air of spring, turning her back on warmer nights. Our speed was due in part to the fact that we were cold and in part because we love the sky when it is drenched in drama. We didn’t want to miss the spectacle.

The sky was a dull and muted mauve this night. Drama had failed to show. As there are truly no bad days when one is walking, breathing, living fully alive, there are no bad sunsets. This one was simply restrained. The sky held nothing head-turning. The beauty was to be seen only by the ones who have eyes for wonder. Who truly know how to look beyond the obvious.

What would you have said? How would you respond to the wisest man among us? The fourth one. The one who just happened to join us, as we huddled up around the chill and swarming South Carolina gnats. The man who had pedaled by us moments earlier on his bike, racing to see the sunset. A sunset that was void of flash and blinding beauty. A close of day performance which was in fact, lovely in its simple majesty.

Our collective response was just short of shame. For we had not seen what he had so clearly seen. We compared the sky to the “night before’s sky.” And concluded it was less than fabulous.

But  he had seen the unique way the light spills before dark. He had witnessed residual pale pinks and royal grays colliding in a 6:18 sky. He saw the shadows and shades and reflections that we did not see. At first. Blind us needed artist him to guide us into the beauty.

At the edge of the creek that night, he delighted in the light. Savored real beauty. And shared his perspective with the three blind us.

I reset my lens. And I silently gave thanks for the man who saw the wonder of a muted sunset; one that came and left its mark on me. One that came as Google said. At precisely 6:12 in all its quiet glory.

And taught me again how to really see. What would you have said? I am still whispering a silent “thank you.” To both of them.


To The Lady In The Big SUV In A Big Hurry In The Starbucks Parking Lot


To The Lady In The BIg SUV  In A BIg Hurry  In The Starbucks Parking Lot

I know you. And I forgive you. I was in your blindspot. That’s a stretch, but so is grace. (You almost ran into me. Head on.) I almost ran into you. It works both ways. You never slowed down. Let me guess. It was a child-forgot-his-lunch, your child-forgot-his-library-book, you-are-out-of-diapers kind of day. Or it was an I’m-late-for-tennis, I’m-out-of-Tide, I’m-about-to-miss-the-one-hour-dry-cleaning-deadline type of day.

I know you. That’s a stretch. I see me in you is more precise. (And if this is to be at all poetic, let’s be precise.) But I would like to get to know you. Invite you in for tea and a chat on my porch. If you sit, you may never get back up again. An object in motion stays in motion. And you cannot stop or you will collapse. I know your tail-wagging-the-dog pace. I see you speeding through the parking lot in your all -about- your- needs way. It feels like the world is winning and you are losing. Survival of the fittest and dog-eat-dog feel read. It takes one to know one is not just a cruel childish chant.

I know you. If you sit with me I will confess, raise my hand and tell you the whole truth and nothing but the truth. But you won’t. You don’t have time. You rise and shine and race until the break of night. Turn out the light. Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

And you don’t remember the glory in your day. The art. It is there. You are missing the good stuff. The best stuff. The important stuff. Pay attention child. The poetry, for goodness sakes. It is everywhere.

The shades of green in the moss. Did you count them? The way the garden has grown at a rate much faster than it did in April. May is full of hope and vegetables. The way your chickens seem to know their names and you. And you believe they have a soul, almost like a feathered dog-soul. Did you see the rain drop race on the window. Did you bet on the drop on the left. Yes, he won.

I know you. I am tempted to come back to Starbucks and look for you. Find you, in love. Invite you for tea. But you won’t be in your big white Mercedes SUV. You’ve traded it up and in. (And I know you. You wouldn’t come anyway.)

I know you. You may have been in a hurry to Bible study, which you lead. No judgement here. No sideways looks. No put-downs. No corrective finger-wagging shaming. No unkind thoughts.

In love. Slow down. In love, you will miss so much. In love. I have walked where you are walking.

My porch is waiting for you, when you are reading to come sit. There are no roses to stop and smell or cliches to toss your way. Grace. Pure grace. I pray you find your way. But knowing grace?

It will find you. Even in the parking lot of Starbucks. Perhaps, especially there.

And that Grande Skinny Latte with two Splenda? There are even better things waiting for you.

I promise.


In Just A Moment


Thank you for joining me.You breathe life into this space and into this series. Your presence here is a tremendous gift.
Today is Day 4. To catch up and read the series in its enirety, click here or click the tab at the top of this home page marked #write31days2014-Postcards From Me, elizabeth w. marshall


In Just A Moment

The earth will tilt and lean
Press her face against the foggy
Look at us
As we at her
We play a game of stare
Poker faced, straining
To not  look away and miss
The micro moments
She presents

What if every moment
That we see
Capture with our glassy pupiled lens
Was meant to savor
Fragrant earthen soil
And well-lit canvases
She lends

To gather up the
Remember when’s
In just a moment

She will tilt again
On her race around the galaxy

Each moment that she gives to me
In fractured minutes as I blink
To tuck into my memory folds
Filled with all the grainy, dull and fading
Remember whens
I will still say

I remember when
The sun rained down on the precipice of stone-grey rocks
And magnified by a gurgling
Rushing mountain stream
That perfect October day
Destined to meet
The beauty of the earth and I
For I was there
With a front row seat

And in just a moment

We were gone
Fragile is life’s middle name





Joining Sandra Heska King for Still Saturday

Left Behind – A Very Very Short Story or When Art Holds You Hostage

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Today is Day 14. We are rolling right along on this journey. I am honored and over-joyed that you are along for this ride. And if you missed a previous invitation to subscribe to all posts in this series, You are cordially invited to subscribe. And follow along on twitter and on facebook if you’d like.

To read Days 1 through 13, click here to catch up and see a listing of all the offerings in this 31 day writing challenging.(I am joining the nester at the nester dot com.)

Books, Art, Library

Once upon a college tour a day or two ago, I was help hostage by art.

Well, loosely speaking. My rather large group of perspective students and parents went on a tour of a college which is right up there at the top of her list. Let’s just say, this place is saturated in history, fantastic architecture and an overall cool vibe.

So as my guide, slash our guide, lead us through the library, of which they are extremely proud, why was I the only one who slammed on the breaks for art. I know of their pride of place because she described in great detail the size, comparable to three football fields, and you people the place is beautiful. Really. But they left me in the dust, the whole group including the tour guide. I was the only one that stopped and took a picture.

Ya’ll I savored this amazing display made from books and shredded paper. Alone. Admittedly, I wanted to appreciate the art with another soul. To discuss what we were ingesting. What was being said, communicated, displayed for us in the center of this grand space.

I live in a wee little shrimping village so you may think I don’t get out much. And hey, that explains her being left behind.  But I have lived in New York and Paris. And I do live right down the road from Charleston, with all its art, museums and history. So I have seen a little more than shrimp boats in my short, well not that short, life. But I slammed on the breaks for this beauty.

My practical side knows that if we had stopped we would have made undesirable library noices with our oooh’s and aaah’s.  But we were on the first level and we had already been told that the third level was the “you can hear a pin drop” level.  So that leads me to believe that these other people on the tour must see really cool sculpture made from books and shredded paper every day.

Either that or we, as a people,  are not easily amused. Or we don’t care about art made from books and shredded paper. Or we are in a hurry or we have become jaded.

People, stop and savor the art. Some talented artisan crafted something valuable here in a sea of shredded trees.

In the noticing is discovery, in the discovery is amazement, in the amazement is gratitude and in the gratitude is a sense of joy and wonder.

I can only think about all the art I have missed along my hurried way.   I was a willing victim in this hostage taking, in the library, one recent day on a college tour.
I would like to hear what she is saying.  I want to hear what everyone is saying. What about you?

Ready, set, go notice.

books in a row


I am joining Laura at Laura Boggess dot com for her Playdates at The Wellspring. One of the joys of my Mondays. Join me there?