Beautiful and Terrible Things Will Happen




Here is the world.
Beautiful and terrible things will happen.
Don’t be afraid.
~Frederich Buechner


(Two local teens died in separate roll over car accidents yesterday)

Most days I depend on beauty
happening in the most unexpected places
and go looking for it.
But when the terrible crushes, bleeds and fractures us,
beauty hides its face,
what I fear most
is that I’ll not ever see beauty happen again.

We are told, again and again and again
every single day, if only we can hear:
here I am with you in this broken world-
do not be afraid
do not be afraid
do not be afraid





A Melting Pot of Hats



Stepping off the city sidewalk into this store
is to transport in time to a debonair era
where the covering on the head defined an individual
far beyond a pragmatic trucker’s baseball cap or skier’s stocking hat.

This is a place to leave behind the ordinary,
step away from the rush of the street
to find something extraordinary for the head of an uncommon man,
designed from wool, leather, straw or felt, sometimes trimmed in fur or feathers.

On this day the shoppers search high and low,
hushed and reverent in this haberdasher sanctuary
of stacked hats and wooden boxes, to peer in antique mirrors
turning this way and that, smoothing and adjusting dapper brims.

The array of choices is overwhelming,
as is the diversity of heads to cover,
from young to old, bald to shaggy,
a melting pot of noggins searching for a fitting crown.

Fedora, trilby, stetson, bowler, boater, beret, newsboy, homburg,
transforming the wearer beneath,  becoming equalizer
of generations, races, genders by fitting a worthy head:
making a statement without a word spoken.



Thy Fearful Symmetry



Tyger Tyger, burning bright, 
In the forests of the night; 
What immortal hand or eye, 
Could frame thy fearful symmetry? 

In what distant deeps or skies. 
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
On what wings dare he aspire?
What the hand, dare seize the fire? 

When the stars threw down their spears 
And water’d heaven with their tears: 
Did he smile his work to see?
Did he who made the Lamb make thee?
~William Blake from “Songs of Innocence”
On a warm summer day
in the middle of a modern city,
pressed up against the coolness of glass,
you snooze in the ultimate cat nap,
oblivious to those who long to touch your stripes
as if you were Lamb, not Tiger.

Your fierce and fearful symmetry,
made the Creator smile,
though teeth and claws lay buried behind soft fur;
and so He smiled as He made us,
even knowing our loss of innocence yet to come.

photo by Tomomi Gibson
photo by Tomomi Gibson

Moving Space




These trees are magnificent,
but even more magnificent is the sublime and moving space between them,
as though with their growth it too increased.

~Rainer Maria Rilke


Each birthday passing brings this realization:
the years themselves, as notable as they are,
mean nothing compared to all the million moments,
invisible as they may seem at the time,
that fill the moving space between the birthdays.

Each leaf distinguished only by its tremble
distinct from the next leaf,moved by breezes from unseen sources.






To Be Alive




You are alive.
It needn’t have been so.
It wasn’t so once, and will not be forever.
But it is so now.

And what is it like:
to be alive in this one place of all places anywhere where life is?
Live a day of it and see.
Take any day and LIVE IT.
Nobody claims that it will be entirely painless, but no matter.

It is your birthday and there are many presents to open. The world is to be opened.
It is the first day because it has never been before
and the last day because it will never be again.

~Frederick Buechner from The Alphabet of Grace


During these turbulent times
when too many regret living and quit,
when too many are deprived of taking a first breath,
when too many live shrouded in pain and sorrow:

I tend to forget each day is a gift to be opened and savored.
Each day a first day, a last day, a birthday of amazing grace.

I am alive, by God, it needn’t have been so, but is so now.






The World is Flux

The world
is flux, and light becomes what it touches,
becomes water, lilies on water,
above and below water,
becomes lilac and mauve and yellow…

Doctor, if only you could see
how heaven pulls earth into its arms
and how infinitely the heart expands
to claim this world, blue vapor without end.
~Lisel Mueller from “Monet Refuses the Operation”

It is all about the light
when it fluxes and flexes around us,
transforming us, making us something more
than how we started.

If I could only see this in each person,
how light and water transfigures the rankest weed
and the deepest shadows,
if only my heart could expand
as does the heart of God
when He claims us as His own…
then I could truly see,
how heaven pulls earth into its arms,
blue vapor without end.