Archive for February 2013

Too much to expect

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Watching and listening to this has left me speechless. Fifteen or so billion years ago…there was an explosion out of nothingness…that led to this. In an indeterminate universe, one must learn to expect the unexpected. But this…this is way too much to expect.

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February 24, 2013 at 5:53 pm

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You say tomato

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Passing by the kennel this morning, I noticed that ‘Mater’ is pet of the week. It got me wondering. Drawing upon the two years of Latin that I took while going to a Catholic high school many moons ago…I knew it meant Mother. But now that I consider myself a Southerner, I also know that it could possibly refer to a tomato…as in, ‘Mater sandwich…a staple of Southern cuisine. The third possibility is a character from the animated movie Cars named…Mater…who happens to be a He…that is…a male International Harvester tow-truck…

I just don’t know. I’ll have to ask next time I drop Belle off for a stay. I’ll also have to ask something I’ve been wondering a long time. Who the heck is Taylor?

Written by Jim

February 24, 2013 at 1:47 pm


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It had been on the verge of snowing most of the day. There were a few flurries mixed in with the rain…but nothing substantial. Then…shortly before six in the evening…I heard a rush of blustery wind from outside. When I looked through the window, there was a veritable blizzard occurring right before my eyes! Large snowflakes whipping about every which way. There was even an unexpected flash of lightning…soon followed by a loud clap of thunder. Thundersnow! A rare kind of thunderstorm with snow falling instead of the usual rain.

Driving home from work yesterday, it was a balmy day in the sixties, with spring in the air. Surprisingly, I even noticed some redbud trees in bloom. But this evening…my little corner of the world is covered in a fluffy blanket of pure white…and not quite ready to wake up.

Written by Jim

February 16, 2013 at 8:02 pm

Borne on the wind

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The wind blows where it will, and you hear its voice, but know not from where it comes and to where it goes…

~ John 3:8

At one time in the past, coal miners would carry caged canaries with them down into the mines, to alert them to the presence of toxic gases. Apparently, canaries were very susceptible to gases such as methane and carbon monoxide…and if a canary would suddenly fall to the floor of its cage and die…well, it alerted the miners to a real and present danger, and gave them time to beat a hasty retreat back up to the surface…and safe, breathable air.

My wind  chimes on the front porch serve a similar purpose…although, thankfully…no animals are harmed in the process. When I start to hear the chimes softly tinkling…it reminds me to stop…and listen. They signal that the wind has arrived. Whether the slightest of zephyrs…or a full-blown gale…it’s time to pay attention.

Strangely enough, when I close my eyes and just listen…I’ve begun to discern aural differences, never before noticed. Yesterday afternoon, I had an epiphany, that I wasn’t hearing distant traffic on the highway…but the rushing of wind through the tops of the pine trees. A modulated white-noise type of sound very reminiscent of hearing the ocean surf peacefully rolling in on a calm day.

This morning, the quality of the wind was somewhat different. I could feel the cold breeze on my face…but I couldn’t hear the soft singing of the pines. Now…it was the oaks taking their turn. Oak trees that still have some dried-up brownish leaves attached…sizzling in the wind. I was somewhat puzzled by what caused the wind to favor the pines one day, and the oaks another. Perhaps the direction from where the wind is blowing? The relative heights of trees…some subject to breezes that hug the ground, while other trees preferring conversation with more free-spirited winds that travel higher aloft?

Like the miner’s caged canary, the chimes are a reminder for me now…to stop…to alert me to the danger of missing the moment as it unfolds…although not always understanding what I’m hearing or seeing…or where it’s going to take me.

Written by Jim

February 10, 2013 at 2:51 pm

Break of day

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“At break of day, when dreams they say, are true.”

~ John Dryden


I stumbled this morning upon this poem by William Stafford…a reminder to treat this day…this present moment with care and attention. To be ready for this new day.

Starting here, what do you want to remember?

How sunlight creeps along a shining floor?

What scent of old wood hovers, what

softened sound from outside fills the air?

Will you ever bring a better gift for the world

than the breathing respect that you carry

wherever you go right now? Are you

waiting for time to show you some better thoughts?

When you turn around, starting here,

lift this new glimpse that you found; carry

into this evening all that you want from this day. This

interval you spent reading or hearing this, keep it for life—

What can anyone give you greater than now,

starting here, right in this room,

when you turn around?

~ William Stafford, You Reading This, Be Ready

Written by Jim

February 9, 2013 at 5:26 pm

The light of heaven

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…and I thought, ‘What may this be?’ And it answered generally thus: ‘It is all that is made.’

~ Julian of Norwich, Revelations of Divine Love

This night is so clear…and so still. The atmosphere above seems completely transparent. Directly overhead, faraway Jupiter stands out brilliantly amongst a field of even more distant stars. And yet…the light that is reflecting from that large planet is from the same sun whose warmth I felt on my face earlier this afternoon. And there…in the left shoulder of Orion, the red supergiant called Betelgeuse. The red light of that star, that is entering my eyes on this chilly night, radiated from Betelgeuse in about the year 1373…the year in which Julian of Norwich received her Revelations.

And then…Barred Owl cries out from the dark silence of the woods…the word I had in my mind as I gazed at the light of heaven.

Written by Jim

February 6, 2013 at 8:31 pm

Carolina winter morning

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Outside…silver half-moon

hanging in a cobalt-blue sky.

Nearby…awakened crows cry out

while taking wing.

In the distance…a train’s

lonely lamentations.

The sharp reports of a rifle.

Inside…crackling flames

from the fireplace.

The smell of coffee in the cup

cradled in my hands.

Shadows cast by an orange sun…

newly risen…

creeping silently across the wall.

Written by Jim

February 3, 2013 at 8:34 am