Bird Droppings November 23, 2019
Life is raw material

Morning is a special time a beginning I am always questioned why I get up so early. My response is to get a great start to the day. It used to be special as one of the first things was taking the dog out and talking with her as she sniffed the ground hunting bear and other prey and of course doing her thing in the yard. It has been a few years since our Westie passed. I still go to my writing and reading which has become my meditation for the day. Most morning I will smudge lighting some white sage and giving thanks for the day. This has become in many ways a significant part of my day. I walked out this morning and felt the coldness of perhaps our coldest morning this fall. I miss today seeing far off across the field the big dipper rising above the trees and stars crystal clear in the morning darkness waiting to long to get outside.

“Life is raw material. We are artisans. We can sculpt our existence into something beautiful, or debase it into ugliness. It’s in our hands.” Cathy Better

My son called last night after he left from a short visit as I was helping him with a paper. While here he informed me of three students who were involved in getting tested for COVID-19. After getting home the number had grown to eight in his one class. He was concerned my wife and I talked with him making sure he was cleaning his room and wearing his mask. I watched an interview with a ICU nurse from the Dakota who had been with a woman who was dying and until her last breath dying from COVID-19 complications did not believe the virus was real. The young woman was in tears as to how politicized this virus has become. A spokesman for the President told people in Michigan to rise up and resist the governors crack down and mask mandate. I am old and have always had issues with allergies. I wear my mask diligently. How can this be an imposition on freedom? How can protecting others and you be an imposition on freedom?

A few years back as I left my classroom after second period, I usually would always go through the guidance office and say hello to several people and on that day one person was missing I noticed and never questioned as the day drew on I sensed an absence yet still had not questioned. As the day ended I heard from over the announcements she had suffered a heart attack during a stress test and was having surgery. My thought raced to how fragile is this thing is we call life. I think back to a photo I found from my old confirmation class at thirteen in Coatesville Pa. How many of the friends in the image have died and are in nursing homes?

“It is not how many years we live, but rather what we do with them.” Evangeline Cory Booth

“Your life and my life flow into each other as wave flow into wave, and unless there is peace and joy and freedom for you, there can be no real peace or joy or freedom for me. To see reality–not as we expect it to be but as it is–is to see that unless we live for each other and in and through each other, we do not really live very satisfactorily; that there can really be life only where there really is, in just this sense, love.” Frederick Buechner

Last night I sat down thinking and trying to put down words and pictures that may have significance to a project I am working on for my graduate work. It was hard getting to work after eating through most of the day. I emailed several people last night just touching base and downloaded some old wrestling tournament photos from the high school for a friend.

“If, after all, men cannot always make history have meaning, they can always act so that their own lives have one.” Albert Camus

“The tragedy of life is not so much what men suffer, but rather what they miss.” Thomas Carlyle

As I moved through that day a from a few years back a sensing something was amiss and even after knowing it is difficult to offer from a distance any sort of comfort. Most people as the day finished never missed a stride there were a few tears from friends and those that knew but all in all the day went on.

“What is life? It is the flash of a firefly in the night. It is the breath of a buffalo in the wintertime. It is the little shadow which runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset.” Crowfoot

I have used this quote several times and each time it seems appropriate. I remember as a child chasing fireflies across a meadow gathering those life forces in a jar to light my room and then releasing into the night watching them float away in the darkness.

“It’s not how long life is but the quality of our life that is important.” Roger Dawson

“Life is made of ever so many partings welded together.” Charles Dickens

In 1996 my brother passed away and my family was faced with a new beginning. We all had literally built our lives around my brother. He was severely disabled and our being in Georgia was directly related to him. As we celebrated his life reviewing the intricate webs that were laid each moment and people touched and lives affected what seemingly had been was now an enormous out pouring of life.

“Life is infinitely stranger than anything which the mind of man could invent. We would not dare to conceive the things which are really merely commonplaces of existence. If we could fly out of that window hand in hand, hover over this great city, gently remove the roofs and peep in at the queer things which are going on, the strange coincidences, the planning, the cross-purposes, the wonderful chain of events, working through generations and leading to the most outer results, it would make all fiction with its conventionalities and foreseen conclusions most stale and unprofitable.” Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

We each approach the morning in a different way. I embrace the day and begin with my writing seeing each moment then unfold. Since 1996 I have taken many different roads and journeys and as I look back each has had meaning and direction and lead me to the now.

“Life is about the journey not the destination” Steven Tyler, Aerosmith

It has been several years now since I received a call from my nephew that a friend had been in a car accident and as the time proceeded I spent the night in the Athens Hospital holding a young man’s hand as monitors beeped and droned and he lay unmoving. I was hoping that the numbers on the dials would change but that was not to be. When I arrived home on my computer was the above quote from an Aerosmith song. Seems I come back to that note often in my writings. In 1968 as I left for Texas for college I received a book from my parents, it was a bible which still sits in my bedroom and on page 596 a verse that has stuck with me.

“To everything there is season, and a time, To every purpose under heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;” Ecclesiastes 3:1-2

Many years ago, Pete Seeger a folk singer legend and environmentalist wrote music for the words and a song was born “Turn, Turn, Turn”. To every season turn, turn, turn there is a reason turn, turn, turn and a time for every purpose under heaven. The song became a hit sung by a group called the Byrd’s coincidently.

“Nothing is beneath you if it is in the direction of your life.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

“In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life. It goes on.” Robert Frost

So often a poet’s words offer comfort or give direction back to a journey set off course in but one moment’s time. There is no filling of a void yet when looking at life and all that has been, when looking at the journey to now there truly is no void. There is a turn in the road a new direction all that has led to this point has not changed and is there behind us, lifting us, guiding us, and strengthening us as we continue. I remember back to a photo of my son crossing a stream in north Georgia already sopping wet from falling in but still intent on making it across stone by stone, crossing the stream on the rocks as he jumped.


We all can cross in our time and there are times when a hand is welcome. Years ago, I set up a website for a youth group and today I will close with the starting line from that website “Friends are never alone”. Keep all in harm’s way on your mind and in your hearts and today keep those friends who may need extra support close at hand namaste.

My family and friends I do not say this lightly,
Mitakuye Oyasin
(We are all related)
bird

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