"As kingfishers catch fire, dragonflies draw flame; / [ . . . ] Each mortal thing does one thing and the same: / Deals out that being indoors each one dwells; / Selves -- goes itself; 'myself' it speaks and spells, / Crying 'What I do is me; for that I came'." --Gerard Manley Hopkins

23 January 2011

For my youngest

You have chosen a Navy career, at least for the short term, and tomorrow you begin in earnest. I’ve watched you embrace this choice over the last few months as you have waited to begin Basic Training, and I’m proud of the way you’ve prepared yourself mentally and physically.

For us, it’s the empty nest at last; you leave just a few days before your oldest sibling’s 35th birthday. I tease about wanting your room and being ready for this new stage of your dad’s and my lives – but I will miss you, my tag-along who has brought so much joy, lifting my heart with laughter, offering words of encouragement on difficult days, offering me hugs and sharing photos and songs and films . . . making me grateful every day for the gift of your life.

Yes, I will miss you, however I may pretend otherwise.

I pray for you, my son, as you go into an environment containing – as all the world contains – so much of good and so many temptations. I pray that you will embrace every opportunity offered you to grow in honor and courage and selflessness and service, to become every day more and more the man God created you to be. And I pray that you will pursue wisdom above all else – wisdom that will protect you from the temptations to follow mere self-serving, momentary pleasures that will turn to ash; that you will be courageous to stand for that which is honorable in every area of life, unafraid to turn away – joyfully, and with a smile and laugh perhaps, never self-righteously – from that which would drag you down into behavior that will harm you and those around you, now or in the future. I pray for your mistakes – because we all make them – to be ones from which you can recover, having learned to be that much greater a man.

You will be different when next I see you. I look forward with joy to finding how you will have grown, to begin knowing you not merely as my youngest child, but as a man in your own right, becoming more a man after God’s own heart every day.

God be with you, son. I love you.

(And maybe I’ll let you crash in my new study when you come home. :))
photo credits: Keiller Impson; Steven Franklin

21 January 2011


Having spent most of the break ill with one thing or another, I’ve begun the spring semester inordinately weary, even for me. And it started with snow and ice and gray skies for two weeks, and so I’ve been in a low-level funk, not even overcome by finding that my classes are going to be some of the best I’ve ever had.

Yesterday, I pulled out of the driveway in the early morning darkness to see a single star shining brightly above me, and my heart lifted a moment in the hope of clear skies for the day. I thought of Sam and the star above Mordor and was glad. Then I came around the circle of our neighborhood to be stunned by the sight of the full moon filling the sky with her glorious misty light. She lit my way to work, glowing behind the branches of the trees on the old ferry road. By the time I arrived in the parking lot, she was muted by dark clouds, but glowed faithfully behind them in a reminder of the light always above darkness.

This morning I watched for her as I came around the circle, and there she was, an alabaster glow this time in a clear sky, triumphantly brilliant. Again she lit my way to work, and in the parking lot I was able to sit for a few minutes and simply watch and be filled with her light. A small tree stood beside my car, and as I leaned against the head rest, its branches, bare except for a few clusters of dead leaves waiting to be dropped by new growth, created a dancing frame for the moon’s glow. White clouds sailed below her, lit by her light, and even the dead leaves took on some of her life.

As I finally gathered my things and walked across the parking lot to the building, the moon bright behind me, I realized again her call to faith. She has no light of her own to offer; she does not choose where to be or what to do: she only faithfully keeps the orbit she has been assigned and the sun does all the rest as he sees fit.

(photo by my husband, yesterday morning)

06 January 2011

Introducing Dylan

I encourage visiting Dylan at Dark Speech upon the Harp and The Reluctant Draggard. His own work at Dark Speech is excellent and encouraging, and lately he's posted a couple of poems by Vernon Watkins at The Reluctant Draggard that amaze me. Enjoy!