Outside Wildside

Admiring the grand old bur oak

across the street.

Some dead branches have been cut off,

some big holes in that tree.

The locals are telling me raccoons live there,

fierce raccoons.

I hadn’t seen them yet,

and had been there for over a week.

I guess I was not prowling around

when they were.

We saw them a few nights later,

five of them slinking around the garage next door.

Maybe they are going after a cat,

there are a whole lot of strays in the neighborhood.

Then I saw another pack,

when we walked home from Jazz in the Park.

The locals were taking me the long way

because it was prettier.

I saw those lit up eyes

and clapped until they disappeared into the gutter.

We gave the gutter a wide berth

and crossed the street.

The city is alive with wild creatures

while we are sleeping or indoors.

Have you noticed

how the wild takes over quick in some places

when you lay your hoe down for a few minutes rest?

The prairie grasses are beautiful,

but you have to remember to flick all the ticks off

when you’re finished with your hike.

In the Northwest we battle dampness and mold,

Blackberry vines can take over your yard before you know it.

Rats love the city,

Seattleites are seeing more than the usual, this summer.

A friend once told us

he sees coyotes out when he’s running early in the morning in Los Angeles.

A few years ago, in the spring

A bear ran through our neighborhood.

Good for us city slickers to be reminded

We are sharing this planet.

Categories: borderlands, Trees | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Fireflies

More roses

Where I come from, west of the Rockies all the way in the LA basin, fireflies were part of the magical world of Disneyland. Some mythical land, somewhere was alive with them, but I was only able to see them in the caverns of “The Pirates of the Caribbean” ride.

This summer’s visit to Omaha awakens that magic again, sitting on the front porch with my merry daughter.  Those  creatures are real, towing their flickering lanterns as they dart in and out of the Magnolia Tree.

Stories I have heard about or read about in books of faraway mystical lands bring the same feeling of enchantment that these little bugs are stirring in me. “It’s true! It’s true! There really are fireflies in the world!”

Traversing parts of our world, especially far-off Central Asia and India, exploring ancient ruins in bone dry deserts and strolling through colorful bazaars in bustling towns with exotic names awakened similar feelings.  The bazaars were real, with all the dazzling colors and variety of goods I had read about. The magic wore off as I shopped regularly for fruits and vegetables, haggling over prices with the stall keepers.  There never was any magic in the meat and fish section with the pungent smells, in fact I had to avoid them in Taiwan when I was pregnant with my firstborn.  Leave that kind of shopping to my strong stomached husband!

The magic of a volcano became real to me when my family was able to spend three months on the big island of Hawaii.  Kilauea produced a different kind of awe in me than these fireflies.  Something like, Wow! Maybe we shouldn’t be so close to these fissures in the ground, and I definitely want you kids to stop jumping over them, even if your father is leading the charge!

My most vivid experience of this kind of awe happened when I was seventeen.  I went to a concert put on by some Jesus People in my home town. I had never been to such a concert, but was so curious about these people.   Little did I know this one small  event would lead to a major shift in my life that continues to this day.  I remember awakening the next morning with this powerful sense of God’s love for me, just as I had the night before.  The same sense of wonder, that something I longed for was true, strongly surrounded me. “Jesus loves me this I know…”

Categories: beauty, borderlands, Faith, God, Hope, Life, Love, Paths, Prayer, Seasons, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Summer Chimes

Poplar

 

Along ancient paths

newly surfaced again and again

poplars, descendants of

the Aged Ones,

are whispering

in the warm summer breeze

 

Will i stop and listen?

Autumn will come

soon enough

and lash these chimes,

winter will find them gone

 

Now in this warmth only

is their message heard

for this season,

later the falling leaves

and bleak branches

will have another message

 

Life presses in

with it’s pressures

do this, do that

and hurry up

you are late again,

fill every moment

with a call or a text

until the pulse races

and the poplars

playful message of

peace and joy

cannot be heard

for another year

 

© 2015 Julie Clark

Categories: beauty, Faith, Life, Paths, Poetry, Seasons, Trees | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Growing Pains

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This chaos

on the edge of growth

painful

unnerving

face to face

with my lack or gap

hang on

rather

be hung on to

this is

the knife edge

to the other side

of this messy process

of becoming

more of who

I am destined to be

(c) 2015 Julie Clark

Categories: Faith, God, Hope, Life, Paths, Poetry, Seasons | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Recommendation

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Muster up your strength

gather your wits

grab a bike

hop a bus

catch the ferry

book a flight

or just put on

your shoes

follow the signs

and get out-of-town

 

It’ll do you a world of good

to slow down

change your point of view

breathe some fresh air

hear the wind in the trees

or the call of the gulls

 

Stop, look, and listen

not for cars

but for signs and messages

take beauty personally

this is for me

I too am beloved

 

© 2015 Julie Clark

Categories: beauty, Faith, Hope, Life, Love, Poetry, Travel, Trees | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Waiting

sun breaking thru on pier

When I find myself

daydreaming

about another

place to live

quiet, peaceful

clean and uncluttered

wrapped in beauty

like a multicolored scarf

from India

and start searching

the island websites

for the latest

houses on the market

I know it’s time to

rest again

to

wait

for something to change

the wind to shift its course

strength to gather in my bones

a new burst of energy

to finish a task

long calling for my attention

for thoughts to string together

to make sense of this season

for gratefulness to replace

lethargy

I’ve been told

“Strength will come

for those who wait.”

© 2015 Julie Clark

Categories: beauty, Faith, Hope, Life, Poetry, Seasons | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Bath Water

I have thrown out

a lot of dirty bath water

and I am sure

I have more to throw

down

the drain

But I am hanging on

for dear life to that baby

because the baby

is my life

line to life

He grew up to be

my Savior

and I for one

desperately

needed and still need

saving

He keeps my head

steady

when all around

the walls are crumbling

down

Through the fire

I go

and the rain

the waves lifting high

and falling

“steady as she goes”

I’m not going

down

with depression or

self-deception

Rising instead

up

walking on those waves

holding on to that strong hand

until I make it

across the water

to the other side

where the table is set

and there is room

for all who will come

© 2015 Julie Clark

Categories: Faith, God, Hope, Life, Poetry | Tags: , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Wilderness

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Natural or made by man

lost, lonely, wild

road’s end

path unseen by

naked eye to

naked I

 

Forgotten, desolate

dangerous place

to be

 

Another purpose

unseen by me

greater use

of sanding, refining

turning

my waste places

into potential

gardens

where seeds of

patience, kindness,

love and joy

have room to grow

without my

interference

 

© 2015 Julie Clark

Categories: Faith, Hope, Life, Love, Paths, Poetry, Seasons | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Welcome Aziel

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You came early

in a flurry

of activity

Cars breaking down and swapping around

Your dad out playing pool with Uncle, late

But you couldn’t wait!

You were ready

even if it felt like no one else was

but really –

it was the perfect time

You were 8 pounds after all

Your Mama had a great birth

Your brother was having a birthday too

ready to share it with you

Welcome to this family!

We are so happy you are here

with thick dark hair and baby sounds

With your wrinkled forehead and serious look

There is a lot of life going on

and we are glad you are here to share it.

 

© 2015 Julie Clark

Categories: Life, Love, Marriage and Family, Poetry | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Peace Is

Peace is

in the centering

by strong potter’s hands

amidst the

spinning whirling

world going by.

 

Then shaped

and formed

useful and

beautiful

ready for

glazed colors

and fire

to set and harden

to last

my life time.

 

Coming

again and again

to that place

of centering

peace

until

every piece

is given over

to be shaped

and formed

added to

the masterpiece

called me.

 

© 2015 Julie Clark

 

Categories: beauty, Faith, God, Hope, Lent, Life, Poetry | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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