Finding solace along the way

Bird Droppings November 10, 2021

Finding solace along the way

I did not think I used too many fancy words in my writing. However, I have a terrible habit of inventing words. A few days ago, a good friend and former student from another time it seems said I could read every word in Bird Droppings today. He said there were “no fancy high fangled words that I never saw before.” This got me thinking; I wondered, what about a simple word yet powerful, so today, a new vocabulary word, SOLACE.

“Comfort in sorrow, misfortune, or distress; consolation.”

As I got up this morning just after 5:00 to review some writing I did yesterday, it was a quiet morning, perhaps peaceful even. I glanced outside, and it was a starry sky, and there were no frogs or crickets to be heard even though unseasonably warm for the fall. The crickets and tree frogs provided a faint chorus typically when I go out in the wee hours of the night and morning, but it was just cool enough to put a damper on that. It is interesting for me as I begin to consider a new direction in my own life. I interviewed for an associate professor position and while they spoke highly of me chose someone with more college experience. I was so sure this was my direction. I wanted to continue in education but need a change from my current situation of retirement. I need to get finished with my dissertation perhaps get into college teaching again.

As I look further into the word solace, I seek comfort in my daily writings. The word solace is that calming as the final pieces fall in place. I seek solace within myself, searching within and finding a spot where I am at peace and can rejuvenate.

For many people, solace is, in other ways, a massage or a book, perhaps a quiet walk. Several years ago, when my brother journeyed on in my mother’s grieving, she sought solace in writing, in assisting others in the grieving process. Not too long after, my brother John passed away, a young man who we all knew was killed in a car accident. My mother pressed flowers and made bookmarkers with poems for friends and family; the pressed flowers were laminated into the bookmarkers. She gathered a few blossoms from this young man’s funeral and did likewise for his grandmother. I used to carry my mother’s pacemaker in my pocket, perhaps helping me seek solace after her journey on.

The thanks from his family were shared as two mothers embraced and smiled a few weeks later. I wonder as I sit and think, ponder, why so many do not seek solace. I watch daily many folks smolder and contain their sorrow, grief, and discomfort, building into depression and illness for some. Yet, for some, solace is that weekly sojourn to church and those daily intercessory sessions in prayer. Solace can be a simple process, but as I think it is an active one as well. We need to seek solace, not just wait. Far too many people want to be solaced by others and never really get there. There is interaction, but you must be a willing participant and be seeking that state of mind. I am wandering this morning. It has been several years since I was reintroduced to James Kavanaugh, a poet, and author from my early college days.


by James Kavanaugh

Know this, my friend,

I will never desert you.

I will be there when all have gone away,

When finally, you have nothing more to say,

And there is no apparent reason ever for me to stay.

When all the fears of a lifetime have crowded in on you

And every particle of your past has lost all meaning,

When you cannot lift your head

or hold back the tears,

And you can no longer bear

the terror of your own ruminations,

When all your triumphs are as dust

that cannot hold you aloft,

And even the family you raised and loved

have no time for you,

I will be there

To bring you what joy and courage I can,

To remind you of all the beauty and wonder

you are,

To heal you with all the love I have,

To carry you, if need be, wherever you must go,

Only because you are my friend

And I will never desert you.

I never realized how much I missed a poet, as I did when reunited with James Kavanaugh at Piedmont College in a graduate class. I had read his work back in the day and the early 1970’s when I drove a VW van and had long hair and was arguing against wars and for equal rights. Looking at this poem, the word solace can be reading a poem or understanding someone’s thoughts. Yesterday I throughout contemplative reading, and this is a piece that would take well with that. Contemplate the words and meaning Kavanaugh is trying to convey to the reader. As I sit here and as time goes so often for me, it is sitting each morning and or afternoon writing Bird Droppings that is solace for me. So, my friends, as you seek solace in your way, may also seek peace this wonderful day, and please keep all in harm’s way on your mind and your heart namaste.

My family and friends, I do not say this lightly,

Mitakuye Oyasin

(We are all related)


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