"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

22 February 2011

Light Beyond the Clouds

The morning after the full moon, which I had missed in the evening, I was driving along without thought of anything but the classes coming up, when I rounded the curve on the ferry road -- and there she was, Phoebe in all her harvest-moon glory, brilliant gold-orange, shining hugely behind the tree line. For a moment I literally couldn't breathe.

That was it. I couldn't see her any longer behind the trees, she was nowhere to be found when I reached the highway or the school. I wondered if I'd really seen her or she had sprung only to my imagination.
Later, K told me he'd seen her that morning, too, and she had disappeared almost instantly behind the horizon. I felt a little better about the state of my mind.

Yesterday, I glanced for her as I drove, hoping for a glimpse of her in her still near-full phase -- but the sky was cloudy and there was no sign. Nothing -- until I got out of the car in the parking lot and looked again, able now to concentrate on the sky, and there was her tell-tale glow beneath a raft of clouds. They passed and she came into full view, soft white lighting the clouds. I watched her as I walked to the building and then stood on the patio for several minutes, marveling at the way she seemed to sail through the sky and the clouds to be still. At last, black clouds obscured her again and I forced myself through the doors to work.

Light above and beyond the clouds, always.

16 February 2011

Startin' 'em Young

Conversation this evening on the phone:

I answer: "Hello?"

Pause; I hear child sounds in the background.

9-year-old voice: "Who is this?"

Me: "I'm pretty sure I'm your grandma, but who exactly are you?"

Same voice gives full child name of suspected male grandchild.

Me: "Well, how are you, Nate?"

Nate: "I'm fine. How are you?"

Me: "I'm fine, too."

Slight pause.

Nate: "Can I speak to Grandpa?"

I call Grandpa to the phone and hang up my extension to try to avoid the static problems we had earlier. Grandpa's side of the ensuing conversation:

"How are you, Nate? . . . You did? . . . Did you get to shoot it? . . . Who went with you? . . . Did he get to shoot, too? . . . Did you like it? . . . How much did you get to shoot? . . ."

This is the male conversation in my family: guns and politics. God love 'em!

11 February 2011

Morning Star

The empty sky turned from black to indigo as I drove to work this morning, a bare tinge of pastel orange rising on the eastern horizon. As I started from the car to my office building, I finally saw the morning star above the crenellations on the entrance tower, and thought of Keats' "bright star" "stedfast" in the heavens. And I thought of Alisa, our own bright star with her steadfast love, and her parents waiting to know what will happen, partial healing here for a time and our continued joy in her loving presence, or complete healing in heaven which is yet a loss for us that seems too hard to bear. And I thought of the star above Mordor that Sam saw, above the shadows of fear and hatred and violence and death, the star that reminded him that truth and beauty and love and goodness are always there and will always, in the end, overpower the brokenness.

Alisa, our lovely star, be well. We love you, and we pray for you to stay with us if your all-loving, all-knowing, and all-seeing Creator allows, but if you must go, if it is time for you to leave the valley and soar with Him, we will see you every morning in the stars and rejoice through our tears at your healing.