Gazing At The Ordinary Marvelous

Today is Day Poetic 

Have you noticed a little quiet pause. Is it bending or breaking the 31 Days “code of writing to triple up” one post to cover three days in the series. Ah, I have been living and traveling and noticing. And thinking of this place and space while it was quiet. Were you out noticing while it was quiet? Have you even noticed that I was gone?

Today is Day 21 ( and 20 and 19)

wpid-IMG_20130814_185820.jpgGazing at The Ordinary Marvelous

I have wondered through a maze of noticing
Sat on every word unfurled from  preacher’s lips
Not mine, on prayer, unending
Every note, black, ballet dancer up and down
That old red hymnal, still smells like memories of Methodist
Smells a certain way
Doxology dances off the yellow pages, runs rifts
Of remembering ordinary marvelous
Weaves a red thread through the years and days

And I have wandered through a maze of bittersweet
Returning with my fragile heart and mind
I long to change a memory
Bur, for all my trying I can’t rewrite it
Into something better, brighter, sweeter
Babys at the alter, dipped in sacred fonts
Will stir the waters that run deep
Inside a mother’s  broken heart

I have wondered through the winding
Roads that lead me home to Woodland Heights
Where I am met with fond recalling
Early morning, late at night
Bookended by the generations
Stories that go on and on, echoing down the mountain
There are no secrets anymore
Rolling tires crunch  crush the brittle leaves
A slow and gentle breaking
On this road to my returning
I have come back home again, met by autumn’s gold dust shining
She opens wide the door for me.

Everything is ordinary
Marvelous as it should be
Concentric circles of recalling
Spokes that find their way back to the center
Tines which gently poke inside, time and time again
Urge me to recall while listening to the echo of
The winsome valley train

Everything is marvelous
The circles spin like hands clockwise round the rounded clock
Face the moments, ordinary
Savor all the pieces of the past
Colliding with the present
All this noticing
Never seems to stop
For if it did and if it were
If the door to my eyes and memory
Were to close and come to final rest
Death would meet me at the end of marvelous
Where all the ordinary  settles into peacefulness

While time presents herself
At daybreak, new and wondrous once again
I  go forth to gather
All the ordinary marvelous
Where we sing  loud and joyful
A searcher’s song, a hymn of praise
Let Noticing her loud and lively anthem raise.

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(To read all posts in this 31 day series, The Art of Noticing, click here to land on Day One and a listing of all posts) I am joinging The Nester at The Nester dot com for October. Click here to check out some of the other writers/bloggers who are accepting this writing challenge. There are some wonderful writers participating in several cool categories.

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Joining Laura Boggess at Laura Boggess dot com . It is where I go on Mondays for a writer’s Playdate.

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Back In The Day

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Back In The Day

Circa 1908
You left ghosts
Good ones
Memories
Mark corners
As a dog every tree and bush
Buried bones
In cracks in floors and ceiling
Bust open, every door
We escape
The heat
Of the day
Going out then in
As if it were an Olympic sport
This sitting on the porch

If you can’t stand the sitting
Stand up
Get outside awhile
Air your dirty laundry
Everyone below can hear
Your voice carries

Rising up and through
The oaks

Down the road the sanatoriums
Sprang up
A million mushrooms
After the rain
To house the sick

Breath deep
The air it heals

Did you sit as long as we
You visions of the past
Rocking back and forth
Trapping every smell of lilac,
Rot, wet earth
From the hills

We identify every waft
That wanders by
Anchoring our living
Senses fully engaged
Right here, right now
Frozen
On the edge of boxwood and vine
Perched like birds for hours
Watching them

Watch us
Lose all track of time
The train will whistle
Wakes us up

You left us more than memorabilia
But a metronome
Set on slow
And barely moving
To pace our days
Tasting wet rain mornings
Pallet cleanser

Come and linger long
On the edges of the sides of hills
Anchor here
Upon the slippery slope
Lingering
Life
Measured in the sightings of the finch
Don’t blink you’ll miss the high point of the day

How strange
We may live  even slower
When we come through the gate
Than
You, ghosts of
Circa nineteen hundred and

oh eight

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Joining Sandra Heska King for Still Saturday

Lean On Me

{Joining Amber at The Run A Muck for her concrete word prompt writing series on Monday’s. Today we are writing on the word, rock. Join me at Amber’s where a wonderful community is gathering around the abstract.}

When the air is hot, steamy humid southern summer style, trademarked by its moist heat, they hold the cold.

They bear relief.

Stone cold stares of people I have known, revealed again in the smooth strength of boulders. Unwavering. Unflinching. Heavy, solid mountain variety.

Slate grey’s and shale ash, cool their colors. Relief found in the sight of them.

And on that mountain porch, the one on the front of that house built in 1908, we tip back on green chairs. In a line like the Rockettes we rock back and forth to the rhythm of the crickets. Music from the valley calms the night. Black night air blows in cool from over the rock laden mountains, bringing relief from the heat of the day.

He tips back and forth, stares straight out with the calm cool stare, the mountain stare, all worry and anxiety gets left down in the lowlands. This place offers relief. He puts his cares on ice. Once his bags are packed and the altitude changes to something well above the sea level life we live, he chills.

Twenty-fifth anniversary looming ,the rock of all these ages of my life still bears up the burden of the four of us. We lean hard on him.

The chip off the old block, first born is gone. He learned of life from the rock at the mothership, how to anchor a life on hard work. How to avoid running aground, steering clear of the rocky coast lines.  And one day soon there will be someone leaning hard on him. And they will lean on Him.

The getting up and rolling out on four wheels in the morning to support a trio of kids, growing, going, gone. One gone and another one’s on the way out. Rolling out and on to college in a few more months. I lean in hard and bear all my weight on his strength.

Those green chairs on that porch wait for him to prop up and cool down and stare again into the valley. The flinty stares into the fog help clear the mind of the rock on which I lean. More of a boulder really on most days.

 But we stand on Him together. And when our footing gets slippery, like the sliding rock we go down with the children to the pool of moutain water waiting at the bottom, we stand again, straighter, taller leaning on Him and standing on His rock.

And now some days he rocks, or sort of sways and it looks child-like. Self-calming, a slow and steady back and forth.

The worries fall, like an avalanche, off of men and man.

We’d crumble, crack, roll down the mountain if it weren’t for this firmament, the foundation He gave and gives, in the new of every day. I can see the days of the way ahead in the now. Rocking off into the sunset of our years.

His words a lullabye to the weary. We rocked those babies endlessly at night, noon and morning. And it soothed us too. Calmed the mother and father of the babies as we fell asleep with them on our laps. Rocking away the cares of a day. While rocking a baby or two to sleep at night.

This man who put a white rock on my left hand nurtures babies like a woman. He brings home the bacon, cracks the eggs, rocks babies and cooks the bacon too.

We stumble, we fall, we roll Humpty Dumpty off the wall of this life, but unbreakable is he.

On solid rock we stand.

With the soundtrack of our life playing The Reverend Al Green, always.

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Joining Laura at The Wellspring and Jen.

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Learning Lessons from The Spring

Stone and rock call out to a community and we become pilgrims.

We go as individuals, trekking up or skipping down this mountain in the Blue Ridge chain.

It calls your name. Its strong cold marble is strength. It is continuity.

It knows stories. And It knows parts of mine.

On any given summer day, sweet devoted visitors come and sip the water trickling from an underground spring. They come with jugs. They come with pitchers to fill up their vessels with cool earthborn water.

It looks like a New Testament scene, or a snapshot from Africa or Haiti. People traveling with children, family, dogs to drink the water that is more than a drink for a parched mouth. It replenishes the soul with tradition.

If stone could talk, this spring named Wynne Lithia could tell stories of watching children grow.  For my family, those stories started when the spring was built in 1908.

People will tell you their story of the spring, I am sure, if you will just ask.

I met a woman who freely offered a slice of her life, tales which were tethered in memory back to the spring. It was our first meeting, yet the stories flowed off her tongue like the cool spring water from the old metal pipe.

“I brought all my boyfriends here.”

“My husband named our first dog after the spring, Wynne-Lithia, but we just call her Wynnie.”

Why do we long to travel to a place of deep history and story? Where generations have laughed and sipped and gathered water.Why do we slip out after a summer southern supper to make one last visit to sip water and stand by the trickle in the cool of the night? Alone. Or with a child.

What longing we must have for tradition to be pulled by a trickle of water, which for many means hiking up?

For me and generations of my family it’s a rich well of deep longing after place. We, like many in this small community, can go back over the sepia-toned photographs of our people–at Easter, on a summer day, or dressed in their Sunday best–and dream of their stories.

It began listening and witnessing family , children and women in long skirts dragging the mountain dirt path. They stare stone-faced in sepia  into the camera beside their stoic men whose cool stares  mimic the hard marble of the very spring they loved so.

And you can line up generations of photographs which add to the story of the spring. They add narrative from generations before my own, like a mosaic of mountain memory.

The  spring’s rich story is repeated over and over by families in this mountain  community and well beyond. The story of the spring and the need to return.

Water draws us. It always does.

We return home like Prodigals to be received, refreshed, restored — by the familiar, by comfort and consistency of the flow.

Sometimes it is a strong pulsating rush up and down from below the earth. Sometimes it is a trickle, slow and faint. No strenth in the anemic journey out from the ground well from which it flows. But it is there. It is present. It waits. And it woos.

If you are parched and if you are in need ,the water fills you and sends you on your journey.This place in the shade will always provide.

If you are weary, rest waits here.

And I draw lessons from this place, not only water. She teaches what it means to prepare the heart, to always be welcoming and available.

She models how to  sit quietly and expectantly, always prepared to welcome — always prepared to listen.

She shows what it looks like to offer a refuge to family, to a friend to a stranger. Her strength and calm show how a peaceful spirit can offer a balm to a restless soul, how we can offer a quiet place of comfort to a broken world.

She teaches how to give out of what we have, her flow may be strong, her trickle may be slight but she sits at her place on the mountain always prepared to offer what she has.

And she offers what she is and what she has both to strangers and to familiar souls with a generous spirit. The spring gives all that she has, freely and abundantly.

The spring that bears my name gives glimpses into what it looks like to be the hands and feet of Jesus, The Living Water. To  serve a parched and hurting world.  To  love the lonely, the hurting and those in need of an ear to listen to their story. To receive their story.

A trip to the spring reminds me to bend low in my day, to give freely of my time to others, to seek every opportunity  to show hospitality, to release the gifts that God has given me back to Him. She was built in 1908 and is still strong and steady.

I know only that I have today, to serve Him. And today is a good day to begin, anew.

“If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Rivers of living water will brim and spill out of the depths of anyone who believes in me this way, just as the Scipture says.” John 7:37

“…but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” John 4:14

I am linking with these kind folks today. Jennifer and Duane.