Rain Coming

God spoke: “Let us make human beings in our image, make them reflecting our nature
So they can be responsible for the fish in the sea, the birds in the air, the cattle,
And, yes, Earth itself, and every animal that moves on the face of Earth.”

God created human beings; he created them godlike, reflecting God’s nature.


Genesis 1:26-27, The Message


Gathering gloom on Evangeline. The good kind! It’s seven a.m. and needed rain is on the way.  As I sit tucked into my corner of the patio, the dark cloud descending has nothing to do with the troubling headlines on the table before me.  It’s all about peace, and the promise of refreshment. For sure the birds aren’t troubled! To my delight, the shy catbird couple appears, flirting silently around the birdbath.  Evidently my stillness and my black robe render me invisible.  Or at least not a serious threat.  Then they head up into the Chinese elm, where he begins his merry caroling and mewing. The catbirds and I are resolved to tend our corner today.


Raising the Alarm

Cacaphony this early morning.  Hullabaloo. I’m talking about the neighborhood watch known as blue jays, who have their own technique for spreading bad news: raucous screaming.


In the midst of my human fears, stirred as they are by relentless reports of violence, ignorance, accusations, injustices of every stripe, including starved whale-stomachs full of plastic detritus, I am now privileged to worry what heinous thing is loose in my own neighborhood.  Snake? Hawk? Prowling cat?  Whatever it is, the screaming cannot be ignored.


Conditions must be good for blue jays this year.  Hosts of trainees, wings all a-quiver, begging to be fed.  Unlike the solitary ways of some of my songbirds, blue jay parents and trainees swoop about in squadrons.  Life for them seems to be all about community.  And sure they shout and jostle.  But not with this level of sustained squalling.


I went to the sun porch window, little hoping for an explanation.  But there it was, right in front of my eyes.  At first I thought the form in the hedgerow was a fledgling. But it was awfully still for a fledgling.  So I went out to see.  Sadly, it was an adult jay, deceased.  The moment I crossed an invisible line, there rang out a sharp challenge from the dense crape myrtle foliage directly above my head. I cannot emphasize enough my admiration for the combination of emotion and menace and forbearance, all wrapped up in one piercing syllable:  “Jay.”


I told the invisible sentinel that I was very sorry for what happened to his comrade.  Then I backed carefully away.


Later I saw another jay wing down to the corpse, and stand very still for a moment.  Paying homage.


Still later I crept out (with a hat on my head).  There was agitation in the foliage.   But I  was allowed to come close, and take this image:

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Sixty-five and Still Wondering

Why did I wander outside this morning just in time to see a grackle chase a swallow-tailed kite across my airspace? All I can say is that for them, one being ‘common’ and one being heart-stoppingly rare made not a whit of difference.


Why did I glance outside just now and see a starling wrestling a small snake? Other I mean than that I’ve been in love with the goings-on of this particular back yard since 1984?  All I can say is that I tried to join the scene, hoping the starling would be startled into dropping his lunch so I could see what manner of young snakes are in the back yard this year.  But he didn’t.


Why is there a chipper-machine grinding away just outside my back fence?  I fear it’s because the tree people are back, to notch my beloved Chinese Elm again, all for the sake of free-flowing electricity to the neighborhood.


‘Leave my Chinese Elm alone.  I love her.  Oh well, if you must …’

Why did I step up onto the rim of the fountain?  The better to see the chipper.  And, because I’ve never in all these years walked the perimeter of the fountain.  It was fun. But I’m no fool – I kept one casual hand on the rim of the fountain.

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Mothers Day and the Next

This image requires little explanation. Enough to say I’ve loved these two a long time:


Mothers Day plus One:  The next image is a little blurry.  Much like life can be.   It shows Someone I’ve been worrying about, wondering if he made it through the recent storms and flooding. Evidently he found high ground, for here he is this morning, dining on my prize Ground Orchids:


The Slightest Shift Toward Sweet

I am in the self-pitying phase of novovirus.  That is to say, I survived the first hellish day of too sick to raise my head, the second day of creeping about trying to keep down saltines and ginger ale, the third day of succeeding a little where day two failed, and now on day four I’m puttering about more productively, but with sinking spells.  During the sinking spells I think, “So. Welcome to sixty-five. Your best days are clearly behind you.  Your illness has hardly registered on the busy world. All is sludge, nothing is interesting….”  And so it was in this state of acedia that I languished in my easy chair and gazed listlessly upon my beloved backyard. The brilliant cardinal did not elate me.  The swaggering white-winged dove did not anger me. I shrugged at blue jay antics. Even a glimpse of gorgeous, aka brown thrasher, brought no joy. The pineapple guavas are blooming…so what?  Then I noticed a feast going on. Did you know that catbirds and mockingbirds adore pineapple guava petals?


The petals are thick and sweet and my mimids are swooping on them, ripping into them, devouring them with gusto.  Which roused a shred of something in me.  Glorious good news, my friends:  a shred of something sweet is all it takes to shift the game. I had an inspiration. After checking the internet to make sure I wasn’t about to poison myself, I eased out there and picked me a mess of petals and steeped them in my Lady Gray tea. Five minutes later, I eschewed my usual packet of sweetener.  Didn’t need it.

I won’t say this cup of hot tea fixed me, but here I am, writing to you!  It is Eastertide, after all, and the promise is new life, joy in the morning, all those good sweet things. For you churchly folk, a wee poem about Eastertide.  I wrote it on Day Three of novovirus.  Not bad for a sick church lady.  Well, yes, it’s pretty bad!


The name of the recently photographed black hole is Powehi (poh-veh-hee).

This is a word from a Hawaiian chant.

It means “the adorned fathomless dark creation.”

Why do I bring this to you? Because it’s extraordinary.

Human beings at their best have come together for the sake of a vision. 

They collaborated to bring together not just the day language of science,

but also the night language of reverence.

We can all find a way to practice that. For instance:


A historical chairman would be remiss

Without a systematic list

Of the traditional seasons we hold dear

The circling of the sacred year


Take for instance Eastertide

For seven Sundays we abide

Easter Sunday plus six more

Holy Spirit goes before

Leading us lest we get lost

On our way to Pentecost


For seven Sundays we review

What it means to me and you

That Jesus the anointed is alive

And in Christ’s name we ever strive

By goodness appointed and elated

By warmth and intellect animated

Anointed appointed and deeply stirred

To change ourselves for the sake of the world


Naming the seasons is not required

But who among us could ever get tired

Of church adorned in jubilation

That points to fathomless dark creation

White for hope and gold for light

The blessed day the sacred night


So as the mystery keeps its turning

Let us keep singing, let us keep learning

Let us keep praying, deep and wide

Happy happy Eastertide