The Essence of August










No wind, no bird. The river flames like brass.
On either side, smitten as with a spell
Of silence, brood the fields. In the deep grass,
Edging the dusty roads, lie as they fell
Handfuls of shriveled leaves from tree and bush.
But ’long the orchard fence and at the gate,
Thrusting their saffron torches through the hush,
Wild lilies blaze, and bees hum soon and late.
Rust-colored the tall straggling briar, not one
Rose left. The spider sets its loom up there
Close to the roots, and spins out in the sun5
A silken web from twig to twig. The air
Is full of hot rank scents. Upon the hill
Drifts the noon’s single cloud, white, glaring, still.
~Lizette Woodworth Reese “August”


This poem written decades ago
by a poet now long departed
describes in detail
what I see outside my back door today.
Yet an unknowing detail of her foresight
includes a truth of this August:
her flaming river
is flowing across thousands of acres
only a few dozen miles away,
leaving behind ashes,
and little else.

An essence of August:
drying to dust – only a little
remains of the day.











Realm of Briar

photo by Josh Scholten

Far from Love the Heavenly Father 
Leads the Chosen Child, 
Oftener through Realm of Briar 
Than the Meadow mild.

~Emily Dickinson

I know folks being dragged through the realm of briar right now.  They are dealing with life-threatening disease, disintegration of relationships, significant mental health challenges or the results of random tragedy.  The cruelty of so much earthly suffering cannot be easily explained nor dismissed.  It feels “far from love” to be chosen to walk through a place that rips and tears away at one’s very flesh and spirit.  Yet many of us are chosen to experience such trials rather than allowed to live life in the mild meadow.

The only consolation is that we are not alone on this path of pain.  The Chosen Child, sent to walk alongside us through the realm of briar,  bleeds with us, bleeds because of us, bleeds for us, bleeds when we have nothing left, ultimately bleeds so we no longer have to.

To be everlastingly filled, we must first be emptied.

To find our forever home, we must admit we have lost our way and need rescue.

Accompanied through the realm of briar, we suffer wounds that only Love can heal.