Simply Sunday

Morning Streets

On our way
To a coffee shop
Little girl
Laughing
Running
Down the sidewalk
Her little dog
Running alongside
Dad and brother
Close behind
Their destination
An interactive
Statue standing
On the corner
An airplane
With a propellor
Inviting them to spin
Pick us up, Daddy!
Each had their turn
That was so much fun!
They kept walking
I noticed dad’s shirt
It was torn and tattered
They were smiling
I wonder what will be
Their next destination

Driving past
A group of people
Who have no home-
Only make-shift
Shelters made
From cardboard
And blankets
All their belongings
Carefully placed
In large trash bags
Or worn out
Duffle bags
A few smiled
Most looked tired
A kind of tired
I do not know
One crawled
Helplessly
Along the sidewalk-
What are their stories?
I can only guess
And guessing
Is not sufficient-
Who will share their narratives?

I wrote these two poems during our summer trip to Colorado. Our overnight stop was in a typical city, like many other cities in this country. Good restaurants and coffee shops, local charm. Also, like in other cities, many individuals are homeless.

I do not pretend to understand or have answers, but I could not look away. Nor keep from sharing.

Unexpected Beauty

I love Colorado! Our family has taken many vacations to this beautiful state. We are currently here with our adult children. We have been relaxing and enjoying the cooler temps and beautiful surroundings.

Today was a family hike. And it affected me in a way I had not expected.

I knew this hike would be challenging. 6.2 miles with an elevation gain of 941.6 ft., beginning at an elevation of 8,913 ft. But the thought of family time witnessing mountain scenery, wildflowers, and a waterfall was motivating. The views did not disappoint! But that was not what consumed my thoughts as we trekked up and back down this mountain trail.

No doubt, my hiking pace would be the slowest of the group. All the kids are in their twenties. And Gart is in a little better shape, stronger. This truth was quickly realized as we headed down, or should I say, up the trail.

I am at a disadvantage, I thought.

I was bringing up the rear. Keeping my own pace. Telling myself that was ok. But also falling behind. And we were just getting started. And then this thought popped into my head.

Is this how some students feel at school? Ones facing a disadvantage? Whether in ability, family support, or resources. How do they feel when they sense they are falling behind? Are they, like I was, afraid of not reaching their goal?

My family slowed down and waited for me to catch up. After a short break, I was placed in the middle of the pack. No one seemed to mind the slower pace. They encouraged me.

You can do this, mom! Remember, take smaller steps. Breathe and relax your shoulders.

And even though still afraid, I kept going. Even picked up my pace just a little. At our next stop, Gart suggested I take the lead. They would follow me. Of course, he remained close behind. Constantly saying I was doing great. Reminding me that I am strong.

I still had doubts, but my determination was growing. I wanted to reach the top of the trail and gaze at that majestic waterfall with my family.

We told the kids to go on ahead. They needed to move a little faster. We would see them at the top! It felt good to let them go ahead of us. Gave me even more reason to keep going. Even though my body hurt. It was hard to catch my breath. And it would take every drop of energy and willpower I could muster.

Gart and I continued together. I asked him to take a picture of an unusual flower for me. We walked over log bridges across the flowing creek several times. The water flowed underneath from the waterfall that would soon be in sight.

I was going to make it! I struggled not to cry. Needed to keep breathing. As we rounded the last corner, I saw our daughter, Rachel. Smiling, hands up in the air. You made it! A big hug and tears came. I felt so proud.

Our son, Robert, and his wife, Erin, had hiked above the falls. They waved and smiled. Ryan, our youngest, was sitting nearby on a rock and soon walked over. You made it!

The waterfall was mesmerizing. A roaring cascade of water flowed over the edge to the stream below. I sat and had a snack and some water. We took pictures. And then the inevitable. We had to go back down.

Yes, most of it was downhill, but my body was exhausted. Some spots required careful steps. But thanks to the continuing encouragement of my husband and some light, cooling rain showers, I made it back to the car.

I can’t believe I did it! Pretty sure I said that at least ten times.

In all my relief at completing this six-mile hike, I couldn’t shake those earlier thoughts about students who are at a disadvantage.

What if they had someone to pull them from behind to the middle of the pack? What if their confidence grew enough to take the lead? What if they fluctuated back and forth, working hard, supported, and encouraged until reaching their goal?

I guess today’s hike made me focus on the beauty of humanity over nature. Realizing the ability each of us has to make a difference in the lives of others. Grateful that today, I was on the receiving end. ❤️

There are times we all need to hear-You can do it! Don’t give up! You will not be disappointed when you look back at the journey and see how far you’ve traveled.

Closer to Clouds

Not sure which
Took my breath
Away first…
Beauty
Or elevation
A 360 degree
Perspective
No formations
Blocking my view
I could see
Where I was going
And where I’d been
All of it
Storms ahead
Storms behind
Cool breezes
And sunlight
In between
Clarity of lessons
Learned quickly
As well as those
Requiring repetition
Each one
Revealing purpose
In passing landscapes
No wish
To speed ahead
No wish
To slow down
Only the desire to be
Only the desire to live

I love spending time in Colorado. One specific area holds many memories. Family vacations with parents, kids, grandparents, grandchildren, and great-grandparents. Honeymoons and holidays, hiking, and fishing. Feeding the chipmunks. And, of course, beautiful scenery.

Gart and I are traveling to this spot with our three grown kids and daughter-in-law. What a treat! This sentimental mom can’t help looking back and looking forward. But mostly, I’m just enjoying all of us being together.

Cushioned Steps

Each careful step
Across the floor
Cushioned by
Layers of history
What was once alive
Now protects as it
Deteriorates
Feeding the earth
Lying underneath
How many have
Come and gone
Taken these same steps
Across lines of
Time and space-
Did they notice
The Luna moth
Drying her wings
In frilly foliage
Of gentle ferns
Or the bright orange
Mushrooms
Peeking out from
Underneath
The fern leaves
Were their steps cushioned as well?
Steps that allowed
Time for pause
Time for soaking up
All the forest
Has to say
About the past
The present
And the future

I Am Smiling!

Feelings
Often show
Right
On
Our
Faces
Before
We even
Understand them
Ourselves
There they sit
Right
On
Our
Faces
For all the world
To see
For all the world
To interpret
And though
Interpretations
Are likely
Incomplete
Perhaps
The attempt
To understand
Will prove
A first step
To understanding

I caught a glimpse of myself in an airport restroom mirror. The person staring back at me did not look happy. Add another inconvenience. Nothing major. Just a broken latch on the restroom door. That’s all.

What is wrong with me? I don’t like the look on my face.

An investigation provided the following information:

  • My 4:00 A. M. alarm was rude. I need my sleep.
  • No time for tea before my first flight. Tea wakes me up.
  • Travel is exhausting. But the adventures are worth the stress. I think…

Now put a smile back on that face and get on the next flight home!

Pockets and Pebbles

We drove under a canopy of trees. So thick in stretches, we wouldn’t have been able to see the sun even if it had been shining. Winding switchbacks took us to the top of Mt. Mansfield. We marveled at the beautiful views.

Some of us closed our eyes and held on tight at certain turns. Well…one of us did, anyway. But that was not the thing that caused me to gasp. Instantly feeling like a little kid. Any guesses?

Giant rocks!

Boulders with great veins of quartz running through. Some were standing solitary. Others were stacked, forming small caves. Even others with trees growing against their faces. Those might have been my favorite.

Standing in the shadows of these giants, the kid in me wanted to fill my pockets with pebbles. No, I did not. Managed to rustle up some restraint.

Instead, I stood in awe of these majestic formations. Felt the embrace of their cool breeze. Accepted their invitation to climb, stand, and sit. And finally, to walk away feeling confident, steady, and grateful.

Hold Hands…Follow Me

Walking through an airport can be a tad overwhelming. Where is my next gate? The restroom? Starbucks? Ok, so maybe not Starbucks. But the level of activity and the sheer number of other people…can feel a bit frantic.

Today while walking through Chicago O’Hare airport, I heard the sweetest phrase.

Hold hands and follow me.

When I glanced across the walkway, I saw a mom standing with a baby on her hip and two other littles standing close by. The words I heard were her message to the kids. They listened, grabbed each other’s hands, and followed her.

What a precious picture. Yes, mom looked travel-worn. Her responsibilities were many. I don’t know where they were headed, but they were going together.

This scene caused me to question. Is that how God talks to me? Does he say, Look! Here are your family and friends. Just grab a hand and follow me.

Or perhaps, if unable to reach out, pick me up. Carries me like the baby on the mom’s hip. Leaving the hand-holding and following part to family and friends. Either way, I am never alone.

Side note: I really was traveling today. 😊 Spending a few days in beautiful Vermont. More to come…

Simply Sunday

Optics

From a distance
The distance
Between them
Seemed
Unremarkable
A series of
Ups and downs
Over rolling hills
Around sharp curves
Always maintaining
The appearance
Of connection
Perhaps it was
The alternating
Each taking a turn
In the lead
Until rest
Was required
And a graceful
Exchange
Occurred
One-hand
Reaching forward
The other back
No need for even a glance-
I suppose distance was
Never really a factor
As their hearts
Always seemed
To precede
Their hands

Connecting the Dots

What if
I created
A map
Dotted with
Colorful pins
And string
Wrapped
Around
Each pin
Connecting
The dots one
To another
And each color
Holding an
Individual
Meaning
Blue? Content
Orange? Unsure
Green? Happy
Gray? Sad
Except that
Those pins
Would not
Mark places
I’ve traveled
Though many
Were beautiful
Memorable
No, this map
Would be
An outline
Of my heart
Veins
Arteris
Valves
Dotted by
The breath
Of hearts
Intersecting
Each change
Of direction

Simply Sunday

Soft Blanket

Surrounded
By more shades
Of green than
My mind could
Possibly imagine
Attempts to match
Each shade with
A colorful
Adjective
Fall short
Given up trying
Instead, noticing
The curious way
The greens
Compliment
And contrast
One another
Their beauty
Shining against
The backdrop
Of a blue sky
Dotted with
Fluffy, white clouds-
Driving down
The highway
Wrapped
In the soft
Blanket
Of Spring

Gart and I drove to Little Rock yesterday. We are spending the weekend with my mom and dad. Such a beautiful drive this time of year. So many trees budding and wildflowers blooming along the highway.

I had the opportunity to play piano at their church this morning. Not just a solo but also a special duet with my cousin’s grandson. What a treat!

That soft blanket of spring expanded to include family and music. Long hugs, I miss you’s, and sweet melodies. ❤️