Friday, October 23, 2009

So, Singing, Self Saw Salamander

For the sheer sake of blogging something random...

I had my voice lesson this morning.

We moved to the grand piano in the choir room because it was so warm in our practice room.

All of a sudden, Brother G. stopped playing and got up. I looked over and there was a newt crawling on the tile floor! He picked it up gently and we looked at it. It had dust all over it and was starting to dry out. Brother G. took it outside and set it under some rain-soaked leaves.

When we checked on it after the lesson, the salamander was gone.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Ebenezer (look it up)

Thus far by the grace of God...

Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it.

Clinical Practicum is over. Next week I take Exam III and the Theory Final. God-willing, I'll move on to Geriatrics.

I couldn't have passed this test without help. I barely began studying for it prior to yesterday. Lord knows the other classes, life changes, and distractions heaped on my plate. Yet, I feel that I knew the information I needed to; I predict a passing score. Not an excellent score, but a passing score - and that is all I need. For a sufficiently clear mind, alertness beyond my current sleep status, and a good memory, I thank the Lord.

Now I'm about to do something I haven't done in a week. I'm going to go take a walk by myself for pleasure. For no other reason than that I want to be in the air, sun, trees. I'll leave the Care Plans, the Nutrition reading, the exams behind for an hour. They won't go anywhere.

I've a sudden strange sensation of living a life different from what I thought it was. A life where I'm not in control, but controlled by another for my good. Life shifts in it's fluid course. On Christ the solid rock I stand: all other ground is sinking sand.

Saturday, October 10, 2009


This Post Not For the Squeamish. Death and Decay discussed.

Who knoweth the spirit of man that goeth upward, and the spirit of the beast that goeth downward to the earth?

Today I gathered bones.
In August, Chatter, my 2nd original goat died. I heard her cry out from the barn, but I thought nothing of it for the sound ceased as abruptly as it rang out. My goats often cry when they hear people's voices and I was busy. On a "rough day" scale of 0-10, it had been about an 8 already(one of those days where in order to keep my mind and body from pathologic thoughts and acts I hurtle myself into the woods to run till I cannot breathe and movement requires more than will). I was barely holding together as it was, dead tired from readying projects for entry to the county youth fair the next day. So, when conscience pricks drove my weary feet toward the barn, my foggy mind only considered it a routine animal check.

Her body still and bloated. Limbs outstretched. She did not answer my call. A glance told all.

When a foggy mind is slapped with something it is unprepared to handle, it goes haywire, shrieks, calls for help, pleads. But only for a moment. Negative feedback kicks in and the mind goes numb, for one must be able to act logically in crisis, even an emotional crisis.

Dad summoned, I returned to the barn. I touched her; stroked her face, her flank. The children came weeping. Perhaps I was a bit short with them. Dad sighed. It was already growing dark outside. Every piece of equipment capable of digging had broken down. We'd never manually dig a large enough hole that night. But something had to be done. It was warm and there would be no time the next day or the next week to shovel dirt.
"Sarah," he said, "It's the only good choice."
"Alright," I said. "I'll help you drag her."
We laid her 14 year old frame on a hillock under a single tree at the lake farm. Heavy but frail she seemed: I could not help but remember the stubborn, strong doe I first met. I touched the reddish black curls for the last time under the stars and glanced into the darkness. Were the coyotes already gathering?

I had not wept.
Today I gathered bones.

The leaves rustled beneath my feet. I carried a white cardboard box - probably used for bulk foods. The chill wind nipped around my ankles and the edges of my sweater. I thought of nursing and giving life. I pondered dirt, things that live, that grow, as weeds tangled my feet. Toward the tree fled my feet, my thoughts far away.

My feet stopped. I sniffed the air and set down my box. Clean, crisp autumn filled my nostrils as I pulled on vinyl gloves. Though I appreciate physical contact with my work, somehow, even symbolically, I didn't want this dirt on my skin or under my nails.

White, brittle pieces of mineral. The scavengers and elements cleaned well. Gently, I gathered every bit - some bones had been carried a few yards away. Some were missing altogether. Into the box, rib by rib, every tooth and chip, every dried scrap of sinew. Even three hooves remained. For some odd reason, this brought a joy to me, remembering how much difficulty Chatter had given me during hoof trims. Three locks of the glorious red coat also lay preserved, finding their way to the box as well. Last of all, I found the skull. Off all the bones, this was the only one I could clearly visually identify as Chatter's. I could see the smooth grove I used to stroke my fingers along while her eyes closed and head relaxed, the prominent ridge I used to itch for her. I laid it atop the pile. Having combed a 50 foot radius around the spot where we laid her, I broke off dry grass plumes and cushioned the rest of the box.

It's not that Chatter is in her bones, but they once were in her. I understood why we left Chatter's body to the birds, dogs, wind, sun and rain. It was sensible. It was necessary. Yet, part of me had always planned to bury her on the farm, next to Darey (my first goat) when he passed. When we left her clay on the hill, I thought of returning for her bones. One voice inside me pointed out that such action would be sheerly childish and sentimental, that there was no need. Yet another part of me quietly rose up, and, as if in defiance, resolved to go for the bones for the sake of practicing the childish and sentimental even while recognizing the sensible. I do many irrational things in my spare time which one could regard as silly - why not this as well?

There is nothing so much like a freshly plowed garden as a newly dug grave.

Two mounds near the pasture. Two more near the woods. The original herd and cat have passed. Even the doe I raised from a kid shows her years. The herd is unfamiliar to me now - I even have to ask the names of the younger ones.

My brother brought me two crosses. I was tempted to be annoyed, theologically. But the same part of me which brought back the bones squelched it. He meant kindly; he felt bad about the deaths, even though I do not. I laid them on the dirt for him, an adiaphoron. Even if Christ did not die to earn forgiveness of sins for animals, He certainly renewed all Creation by death and resurrection. Goats too belong to that created order.

Who knoweth the spirit of man that goeth upward, and the spirit of the beast that goeth downward to the earth?

Their Creator knows.

Thus Quoth The Patriarch: or Star Wars Plot Per Daddy

Star Wars plot according to Daddy:

"Beautiful girl
rescued by handsome boy
for dumb reasons
while doing exciting things
all over the universe."

Mommy: That sounds like a "universal" plot.

Children groan grinningly.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

His Blood Upon the Rose

Hello, Dear Reader,

I've not blogged for some time now, and all sorts of things are filling up my mind and making me ache to put them to paper, but time does not permit. Perhaps I'll find time for a few soon. Tonight, just one random point of interest.

My lovely sister introduced me to this song several months ago, but it never really caught my interest until recently. Like many other artistic works, it is the story in and behind Grace that most endears it to me. For me, underlying stories make up for many artistic defects. Symbolism in a song attracts me almost more than a story. So, when I tripped over the last verse, I sat back, puzzled, and scratched my head a tad (bit).

Now as the dawn is breaking, my heart is breaking too

On this May morn as I walk out, my thoughts will be of you

And I'll write some words upon the wall so everyone will know

I loved so much that I could see his blood upon the rose.

It seemed clear enough that "His blood upon the rose" was a symbolic reference to something or somebody, but who? My theological impulse of course brought a particular Man's particular Blood to my mind, but I shook my head. Couldn't be. Not in this type of song. But it couldn't be the singer's blood either, for he hadn't been executed yet, and even if he were envisioning the future, he wouldn't refer to himself in the third person, would he?

I asked my dear sister about this (or she asked me, or maybe we both asked each other) and we concluded that the best way to discover any potential reference would be to google the words, "his blood upon the rose." Having done this, she sent me this link. It appears that this poem was written by Joseph Plunkett, the singer in the song;

I see his blood upon the rose
And in the stars the glory of his eyes,
His body gleams amid eternal snows,
His tears fall from the skies.

I see his face in every flower;
The thunder and the singing of the birds
Are but his voice—and carven by his power
Rocks are his written words.

All pathways by his feet are worn,
His strong heart stirs the ever-beating sea,
His crown of thorns is twined with every thorn,
His cross is every tree.

It's beautiful. Really, it is. Creation seen in light of, contained in, and redeemed by Christ's Passion. All pathways by his feet are worn...His cross is every tree.

So the reference in the song is to Christ. Amazing. In the midst of tragedy, in his last twenty-four hours with his newly married wife, Plunkett wrote "some words upon the wall" there in the Kilmainham Jail. It is my guess that these are the words. Not words of sorrow over separation from his wife, nor of anger over his impending death, nor a hymn to the fighters for independence, but an expression of the significance of Christ's Godhead and Manhood for creation.

Particularly am I struck by the last line of the poem in the context of Plunkett's approaching execution. His cross is every tree. Though I have no way of knowing how Plunkett was put to death, I'd hazard a guess that hanging was standard procedure. With this in mind, I'd venture that Plunkett saw in his death a participation in the death of Christ - and an entrance into life. Now that's beautiful.

The song Grace retelling Plunkett's last day ends with the words, "I loved so much that I could see his blood upon the rose." Whom did he love? His wife? But that doesn't make sense, except in the sense that he looks into eternity to see a future reunion. Rather than that, it would seem that Plunkett loved a Savior, and his wife in the brilliant light of the the Same.

Anyway. There's a late night extrapolation on the basis of very slight evidence. However, I just couldn't get this out of my mind. Take it or leave it. I can't support my speculation - I just think it's awefully lovely.

Good Night! (Morning)