Tuesday, May 21, 2013

A Thimble of Christ's Sorrow

A thimble of Christ's sorrow
Has in it more joy
Than all the world's oceans
Of ecstasy

Monday, May 13, 2013

Saturday Mornings

Most of my Saturday mornings have been spent down a country dirt road in Salem, AL, outside a little house surrounded by a 30-acre wood. Our house shared that dirt road with the homes of two uncles and our big red barn. At one time, that barn housed chickens, goats, and the horses that my uncles would ride over the wooded landscape. My uncles made trails all throughout the woods for those horse rides, and in the process, they cleared the forest pathways of my childhood. I can roam those trails in my mind still today: through the barn gate, across the iron-grated bridge over the creek, and into the hush of sun-streaked tree tops and neighboring wildlife. I would spend many hours there in solitude, trekking the familiar trails, exploring beyond them as far as I dared.

Sometimes a city friend would come over, and he would want to get up early and take our BB guns out squirrel hunting. We never saw a single squirrel, and that was probably okay with me. The forest was a magical place, more fit for a sword or wizard’s staff than a gun. My dad once made for me a wooden sword and shield to wield on my forest adventures. I couldn’t have been more pleased if I had been Arthur pulling Excalibur from the Stone. The forest was my kingdom, and I its princely protector. I loved the place: every tree of the forest, every babble of the creek that flowed through it, every stone in the creek bed, every blade of grass on creek bank and field, and every warm breeze that bent those blades, blowing past us, whispering mysteries of fleeting childhood.

On the border of my kingdom, my eldest uncle’s house sat, its back to the dirt road. The front of the house faced the forest. Even then, even with my love for the land, this seemed odd to me. Why build your front door facing out of sight, away from the road, as if to shy from its connection to society?