The Perpetual Flirtation: a play in one act

In this drama the role of the young maid is played by the sea.
The part of the mature gentleman is played by the land.

I stood at that magical demarcation, where the sea ends and the land begins, watching the never-ending flirtation between the two principal characters.

The sea gathers herself, curling and flexing, thrusting herself upon the land … stroking, teasing, then pulling back, laughing. The land gave of himself to the sea. She accepted the offering, rolling his essence in her waves, considering the gift before throwing it back.

The tempo and pace of this eternal flirtation is ever-changing, from the gentlest of caresses, to the violent and angry crashes of the most severe lovers quarrel. The lovers can never be truly joined or truly separate, living in an endless state of give and take, ebb and flow.

The sea is the ultimate seductress, her craft honed from the practice of thousands of years. Her siren’s call extends not only to the land, but all who live on the land. I am not immune. I stand at that junction where the lovers meet and feel her call just as sure as I feel the sand being pulled from beneath my feet by her force..

This is a drama that begs for audience participation and has no problem gathering volunteers of all ages.

Children run uninhibited along the shore and into the waves, their squeals and laughter mingle with the mews of the gulls, no grownups admonish them to be quiet. Young lovers stretch out on the sand letting the waves caress them as they have caressed each other, dreaming of the future and children of their own. Those of a mature age watch the children and young lovers, remembering, smiling, feeling the warmth of the sun and the massage of the water work wonders that no pills can deliver. Those with worries and stress walk along the line of magical demarcation and feel those cares melt and drift out to sea.

Tomorrow I leave this elemental flirtation and head far inland, God willing, I will return.

Poppy

Sea Fever

I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by;
And the wheel’s kick and the wind’s song and the white sail’s shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea’s face, and a grey dawn breaking.
I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.
I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull’s way and the whale’s way where the wind’s like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick’s over.
by John Masefield

 

God’s to-do List

Disclaimer: I am not a super-spiritual person … ask any family member or anyone who knows me. But on occasion, I try to improve some aspect of my life. It occurred to me a few weeks ago that I could use my a.m. commute for something better than listening to morning DJ’s or the same songs I’ve heard hundreds of times.

That morning commute is 20 minutes of potential solitude, more if there’s an accident, inclement weather or construction. Why not use that time to talk to God?

I was ready. I had a long list of requests ready for God … a veritable heavenly honey-do list. There were any number of problems to be solved, ranging from financial to mechanical. There were also people who needed an attitude adjustment, I wasn’t having much success fixing them, but they seemed ripe for a God intervention.

Lest you think I’m totally selfish, I also offered up problems that my family, friends and co-workers needed help with, it was a very extensive list.

Of course God is not a cosmic vending machine, where you insert a few prayers and a solution dispensed into the tray at the bottom.

Public Service Announcement: Opening up you wallet to TV preachers does not improve your odds of getting prayers answered.

I soon tired of presenting my list of requests, it was becoming an obviously one-sided conversation. I remembered hearing or reading someones theory about the Lord’s Prayer, comparing it to a sandwich, with praise at the beginning, followed by requests (the meat), then topped with more praise. I guess that’s one interpretation, but it seemed like a weak attempt at bribery, with me on one end, offering up some praises, then slipping in a request, then jumping back to praises before the creator of the universe noticed what I had done. I wasn’t comfortable with that.

Perhaps my whole premise was wrong, maybe praying wasn’t about getting things fixed, solved or corrected.

Prayer is a conversation. Conversations at their core are about communication. Communication at its core is about understanding. If God is who I think he is, he already knows all there is to know about me. That just leaves me needing to understand more about God. For this guy who couldn’t tell you what he had for lunch two days ago, that’s a little daunting.

I started to change my approach to those morning conversations. At this moment I don’t have any serious problems and I am thankful for that, but I have friends and family who do. Rather than just ask God to fix all their problems, my morning conversations are more like this, “God, so-and-so, is dealing with some really tough things, I know you have the power to fix all that, but from experience, that’s not how you operate. But a little peace would do them a world of good, maybe just a little reminder that you understand what they are going through, let them know you haven’t forgotten about them and if I can help, please give me a little nudge.”

Of course, I could be totally wrong about my prayer theories. I’m not a super-spiritual guy, I know this because some mornings I mostly talk to God about the weather.

Poppy

A Small Miracle in Ferguson

The root vegetables were roasting as part of tonight’s dinner; potatoes, carrots and onions. Even at 400+ degrees it takes a while. I took a break and walked out on the front porch here in famous Ferguson to enjoy the spring evening. At 6:30 the sun was still high enough to cast long shadows and back light everything in it’s direction. It has been a cool to cold spring, the azaleas along our front porch were a full 3 weeks behind last years blooming season, but tonight they left no doubt that spring had finally arrived. The crickets, katydids, tree frogs and cicadas were still dormant, leaving the job of the spring symphony to the birds. They were up to the task with chirps, warbles, trills, etc.

As I looked toward the setting sun, I noticed a pair of tiny white dots in my vision, floating just above the azaleas. I don’t have the best of eye sight, my first thought was that those specs were floaters. I forced my eyes to focus and realized that they were not defects in my vision, but gnats.

Gnats, even the name implies something to swat away, a nuisance. The most insignificant of the insignificant. I watched as they rose and fell in an aerial ballet, no doubt doing what most life forms are doing this time of year … procreating the species. I spent about 1 point 5 seconds wondering how gnats “do it” then quickly assigned that thought to the category of “mystery’s I really don’t want solved.”

In the big global picture, the little ecosystem in front of me is insignificant. There are no tropical rain forests, tundras, deserts or arctic reaches, but there are probably no less than 20 varieties of weeds in my front yard alone, along with squirrels, a variety of birds, numerous insects (seen and unseen) and Mrs. G, our feral cat, who is likely viewed as the T-Rex of Elizabeth Avenue by the birds and rodents visiting my front yard.

I stood in awe, observing the life forms, the growth, the melodies, the smells that just a month before did not exist. It is a miracle that happens every year. A commonplace miracle that could be easy dismissed, but a miracle nonetheless.

I don’t understand how it all happens and that’s okay. Does God create and control every little detail or did he set things in motion and let natural selection take over? I don’t know and honestly, don’t care. I’m content to be an observer of the beauty and complexity, besides my family is waiting for me inside, along with some roasted vegetables.

Poppy

(p.s. A warning to the assorted rodents, birds and young squirrels, God has given the gift of hunting to Mrs G … look out!)