Birds

Raw Material

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I.

We are given the raw materials

Of our lives

As on the First Day

Out of the chaos and void

Life began

 

What will we do with

The darkness and light

Will we separate it into a

Smooth transition of colors

As in a rainbow?

 

It will be anything

But smooth

Full of fits and starts

Smudges and blackouts

As if we can erase

The messes we have made

 

Yet stepping back

With the whole of life

In view

Of the one who falls

And is trampled under foot

Yet rises again

Painfully struggling

Forward

Into the light

Into the Love

That calls each by name

We see

The darkness is part of the canvas

Entwined with the light

Creating patterns and contrasts

Always erupting in colors at the end

The struggle of life emerging

 

If we only focused on

The fire scarred trunk

And did not step back

We would miss

The strength and substance

Of the ancient tree

Still green in all seasons

 

II.

The artist

The gardener

The teacher

The builder

The writer

The dancer

The musician

All participating in

Taking the chaos

And creating something

Useful or

Something just

Beautiful

Adding to the

life that began

When the light

Was separated from the darkness

© 2016 Julie Clark

 

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Lifting our eyes

Welcoming the Blues

Lifting our eyes, just in time to see the eagle soaring towards us and then turning away.

Silently above us, searching for fish.

It caught one down the beach and began to break it’s fast.

How many times have I only caught a glimpse?

How many times have I missed it all, head down, worrying some problem in my mind, not present to the moment?

Yet, the eagle is there, as are all the other messengers, whether I see them or not.

But, what joy, when I am expectantly scanning and searching for those messages sent my way.

Today it was an eagle and a seal and an extremely low tide.

It was meeting Michael from DC with his two young boys who reminded me of my grandsons.

It was Debra with her hairless dog making us laugh.

It was Munira, fighting cancer, out for some fresh sea air. We blessed her and prayed for her healing. She said God sent you to me today – the first day of Ramadan.

It was connecting with strangers who become friends, building community in our neighborhood.

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A Fresh New Day

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A fresh new day arrives

To discover

To explore

To be awake

To be alert

For signs and wonders

 

Will the breeze carry the whisper

Or an eagle soaring above

Will a salmon leap for joy

Or a child laugh with glee

 

Who will bring a message today

I never know

Until I open my eyes and ears

All senses tuned

Waiting

 

Will it be the notes of a song

The wagging tail of a dog

Will it be in a dance with my sweetheart

A kind word from a stranger

 

Will it be a longing in my heart

Pulling me

reminding me

as I examine sacred texts

That I am loved in this world and

my name is known

In another world

Another dimension of pure

Love and light

Piercing through

Here and now

 

© 2016 Julie Clark

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At Deer Harbor

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Harbor grey

as the sky

Fog wisping off

the far islands

Evergreens

holding their color

Apple trees

across the road

ahead of the rest

with their joie de vivre

In full bloom

reminding us

this is the way to live

giving it all, everyday

not worrying about

tomorrow

provision of fruit

on it’s way

On the ferry

a bald eagle

showed us how to fish

from the shore

Made it look easy

with those wings

those eyes

Grateful to live near enough

to these island jewels

Summer time

they are full of

roaming tourists

from afar and

Orcas cruise the channels

Off season

has it own secrets

Quiet strength

building up

preparing for the

Glorious spring show.

© 2016 Julie Clark

Categories: beauty, Birds, Faith, Hope, Photography, Poetry, Seasons, Trees | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

All There

It was all there

down at the beach today

we were hushed and in awe

at the glory in the rain

and in the sun

glory in the forest

and in the sea

glory in the fresh air

filling our lungs

in the wind

sweeping by

glory in the bright blue sky

and the deep dark clouds

glory in the walking

glory in the heron

chased into flight

by a pair of labs

glory in our pup

running back and forth

and glory

in the bald eagle

swooping near

 

© 2014 Julie Clark

 

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The Raid

It looked like a crow was raiding a robin’s nest in the big plum-tree at the end of the yard.  All the robins and chickadees were stirred up flapping and shrieking. It’s gone now.  What damage did it do?

World events and ones closer to home keep me thinking of injustice.  The powerful rule the weak. The unjust prey on those they can trample and oppress. Guns can be had easily by young mad men bent on destruction leaving beloved ones dead in the street. Who will stop this lunacy? How many have to say enough is enough?

The inexpensive jam I bought got to me yesterday.  I normally read the labels, but it was late and I was in a hurry.  Why are companies still making jam with high fructose corn syrup?  I know it must be the cheapest way, the biggest profit margin to be gained.  In the meantime, the rich get richer and the poor get fatter and sicker.

The crow came back.  Was it for another mouthful? When will enough be enough? What can one person do?  I can’t climb that tree and keep shooing away the crow today or everyday.  How do I live in this perplexing world where there is still so much beauty, yet evil runs rampant?

I read today: “Evil may still be a four letter word, but so, thank God,  is love.” (Evil and the Justice of God, N.T. Wright)

I am reminded of the holy words:  “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”  (Romans 12:21) It does no one any good for me to despair, in other words be overcome by evil. It does many much good if I continue to do good and continue to hope. The choice is there, harder on some days than others.

 

© 2014 Julie Clark

 

Categories: Birds, Faith, God, Hope, Life, Love | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Incident of a Duck and a Dachshund

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Usually our 10 pound Dachshund is pretty obedient.  That is if he perceives we are close enough to grab him.  If he is more than five feet away all bets are off on his obedience.  He reckons if we can’t grab him, he is a free agent.  It was kind of like that today.  Although we had not noticed him slipping silently away when we were looking out across the Puget Sound.

 

It was such a beautiful, freakishly summer-like spring day in the Northwest.  We had walked along the beach towards the pier.  The tide was coming in but there was still plenty of time to get back to the part of the beach that does not disappear when the tide comes in.  The part we were standing on would slowly get smaller and smaller and the water would eventually come all the way up to the rocky embankment.

 

When we did notice that Archie was not right beside us, it was too late.  He was already madly swimming after a Mama duck. We, of course, called and whistled but he completely ignored us.  Pure instinct had taken over. All loyalty to his Master and Mistress thrown to the wind with the scent of that duck in his nostrils. The mama duck swam back a little closer to the shore to be joined by her six chicks.  They kept up a steady chatter of cheeps as they swam after her. Now Archie was chasing her and her 6 chicks.  She took him deeper and deeper.  He didn’t think twice about the frigid temperatures of the Puget Sound or the angry fowl he was chasing.  She kept zigging and zagging and taking him deeper and deeper.  Finally she flew over his head flapping and took him in the opposite direction of her chicks.  They must have had a brief pow-wow.  Something like:  “OK duckies, I’m going to distract this crazy dog and you guys swim that way and I will swim this way.”  It worked for a while but Mama couldn’t ignore her chicks bleating cheeps for too long, so she swam back across Archie to make sure they were OK.

 

By this time Bill was taking his shirt off, emptying his pockets and heading out to the shore across from where this drama was being played out.  All the while, I was praying that Mama duck would lead Archie a little closer to the shore so Bill could grab him.  She eventually did start coming close to shore and Bill jumped into the frigid waters.  He swam close enough to Archie to almost grab him.  Archie finally came to his senses and let Bill separate him from his prey. The two of them came back to shore.  Rescue completed.  I am sure that Mama Duck would thank us if she could, or maybe not.  Maybe she would scold us for our poor obedience training. We hurried back along the ever disappearing shoreline picking our way through the rocks in time to get to the non-disappearing part of the beach. When we came home Archie, planted himself in his favorite chair and slept the rest of the afternoon away.

 

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Birdsong

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I am paying close attention

to the birdsong

this spring.

They stop me at the window

in the yard

on a walk or

on the way to the car.

“We have something to say to you!”

“Are you listening?”

 

As a small girl

I would lie down in the cool

shaded grass

looking up into the green leaves

deciphering the birdsong

code –

the chattering, whistling,

singing from one branch

to another:

“Come to tea!”

“Don’t forget to feed your babies!”

 

Now they are singing

sweet reminders:

“Slow down,

no need to rush.”

“Don’t take life

so seriously.”

“Enjoy this moment with us.”

“We have a secret

we want to sing to you.”

 

© 2014 Julie Clark

 

Categories: beauty, Birds, Life, Poetry, Seasons, Trees | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

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