Grass and Gravel

 

I’m barefoot in an emerald sea

stained with rain. Tiny prisms of water –

holy font – baptize my toes and I

don’t remember anyone telling me

that your soul grows

when your soles soak up grass whispers.

My feet swish soft and it all breathes life,

this nakedness, this intimacy with the impossible

green. It is a marked moment, a heartbeat of time

made holy in the offering of simplicity,

of simply being. But I forget so

soon. Distracted, my soul loses

its footing and I am cringing on gravel, bits sharp

on tender flesh. I long for grass, for softer times,

places where the tread of living is easy, where every step

does not set jaws on edge with discomfort. But who can say

whether the sharp awareness of gravel

is not the truest gift?

Ferocious, this biting – but many steps in gravel

build resilience. And is that not holy, too?

Toughened skin, stepping firm despite pain, may

not this be a place of intimacy, of

connection with a life larger than grass?

And I think,

I don’t remember anyone telling me that

gravel blesses the grass with deep benedictions.

I’m barefoot, and I hesitate, deliberate.

I choose the gravel path.

 

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Cover

frosty spruce.jpg

The trials which have smothered you and frozen all your dreams

(Those icy fingers down your spine unraveled all your seams)

Are burdens which you never sought; indeed, you begged them gone,

And yet, they linger dawn to dusk, and dusk to weary dawn.

But Pilgrim, lift your tired head, and brace your feeble knees;

For lessons learned in schools of pain are not like schools of ease –

What humbled heart and broken bones with faith can start to grow

Is rather like the evergreen made beautiful by snow.

Where Beauty Sprouts

broken poppy.jpg

You hate the cracks, the places where the pain has split you through;

You don the mask, and paint the scars, and smile when spoken to –

And yet, the Dark that pinned you down, that swore you’d never win,

Forgot that all the holes, when healed, will let the Light shine in…

Set down the script, rewrite the lines, take up your truest role;

What tried to kill and steal and lie cannot destroy your soul.

Those cracks, those scars, those broken bones, those spots where pain leaked out

When warmed by sun, and earth, and rain – they’re where your beauty sprouts.

Undisclosed

peach daylily

She envies those with clear complexion,

Bolder lines or styled perfection,

Longs for leaves with different shape,

Curly locks instead of crepe;

She notices when other flowers

Spread their scent in evening hours,

Wishes she could clone the rose,

Or wear the Lady Slipper’s clothes.

She doesn’t see as her eyes wander

Yearning for whatever’s yonder,

She’s been painted, leaf to stem,

In beauty that could rival them.

 

 

The Earth Gives Thanks

 

tamarack cattails.jpg

Thankful, grasses swish in breezes,

Ponds give thanks ere water freezes,

Tamaracks sigh benedictions,

Cattails pray with deep convictions.

Clouds that sail and geese that float

On autumn air trace thank you notes

As earth and sky and beasts conclude

That living well is Gratitude.

Transformation

frosty spruce

Just as frost makes pearls from pain and covers plain with glory,

So your faith can glean the grain within your painful story;

When you feel the pinch of frost, the sting of cold rejection,

Know one day when it has lost, you’ll be a grace confection.