Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Dragonflies!

As I began to descend the hill where the greenway opens into the park, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. All across the lawn, the air was filled with dragonflies—zillions of them! Soaring and zipping around and around, their activity forced me to stop and look intently to see what they really were.

My cousin would have loved them, but not even her fancy camera could have captured even a single one. I wanted to stand there and watch them. There were so many; they were amazing. But, I could not. Pressed for time, I continued down the hill, leaving the dragonflies to their frenzy. But, right before I crossed the bridge, I noticed two go whizzing by—the first to leave the fold. Perhaps they’ll find the lily pads and waterfall in my backyard—

Hovering just above the grass
To soaring heights into the skies,
My eyes beheld a gathered host
Of frenetic, frenzied dragonflies.

Over rivers, dales, and hills,
I sense you by and by—
Not downcast with your grief and tears,
But, dancing with the dragonflies.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Under the Rain Clouds

Some think I live a charmed life, but it is not so. Our lives are as normal as the next person’s. We did do incredible and exciting things this summer. We saw all four of our children, their spouses, and all nine of our grandchildren—no small feat considering where they all live. But, I also looked deep within myself, and I didn’t like what I saw, a discovery made more perplexing because I didn’t know what to do about it.  And sometimes in the midst of the spectacular, a pall of sadness would settle in. Sometimes life is like walking under the edge of a storm cloud.
It rained this evening and I thought the storm had passed; but though the sun was shining when I stepped off the porch, it was still sprinkling. But, as the evening was waning, and I intended to walk an hour (and I’d just put on a second coat of nail polish that I wanted to dry as I walked), turning back just wasn’t an option.
Now, how can the sun also shine in the rain? I don’t know, but it can. As I entered the park, the clouds revealed a rainbow—not one of the spectacular ones we sometimes see, but a rainbow nonetheless. Clear run off gurgled through the drainage ditch—and I walked. And as I walked—across the park and up the hill—the rain and its rainbow melted back into the clouds. Eventually, a coolness washed off the strength-sapping heat of the day.
Maybe walking under the edge of a rain cloud can make us wiser and stronger. I hope so; God knows I need it.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

What Are the Odds?

One of our local supermarkets is playing Yahtzee. So, one afternoon shortly after returning from the UK, Jay and I dragged in our jetlagged fannies, put away the groceries, and sat down at the kitchen table with 9 Yahtzee cards. Jay handed me a coin and we took turns scraping off the silver coating as we made our dice selections. Carelessly, we rarely got two matches in a row. Then, on one card I started at the last row—one 4, then two 4’s, 3—Now, we were more awake—4 and 5! Five 4’s in a row! We’d scratched off what the prize was on all of the other 8 cards: one dollar.
The commercial had said you could win $20,000. I didn’t scratch off the prize on my winning card because I was afraid I was supposed to wait. And, I tucked the winning card in my purse to redeem after church Sunday morning.
On our Sunday morning walk, I said, “What if I won $20,000?” Jay looked over and said, “Honey, you’ve won one dollar.” “Well, if it’s $40, we’ll take the kids out for lunch, and I’m not cooking.”
Later, at the supermarket service desk, the lady said it was perfectly fine to scratch off the prize before bringing in the card. So, expecting to reveal my one dollar winnings, I carefully removed the silver coating to reveal—I’d won—2 more Yahtzee cards—
After we made a few purchases to cook lunch, I held 3 new Yahtzee cards. Jay handed me a coin: “Rub them off right here.” No matches for me, but 2 of the cards’ prizes were for one dollar, and one card, 2 bucks.
What are the odds of selecting 5 matches on a Yahtzee card? Then, what are the odds that that card would be the only one out of 12 cards with no monetary value whatsoever?
That’s why I don’t gamble; that’s why I’m not much of a risk taker. That’s also why I got up and went to work this morning—and the reason I’ll do the same tomorrow.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

The Thames

Do not be alarmed if I should write of sadness, as life has its natural ebb and flow, not so unlike the River Thames. Daily, the Thames rises and falls with the tide—as much as 20 feet, I’m told.  And I believe it, for I’ve seen it with my own eyes.
On an early afternoon, while crossing the Millennium Bridge, a foot bridge over the Thames in London, I noticed it was full, clear to the brim of the containment walls that Londoners built—I don’t know, maybe centuries ago—to hold back its daily influx.
Then, in the hours that followed, Joel and Kim saw a play in the The Globe, and we and the children took the tube across town to Hyde Park because Breck and Helen chose playing in the park and eating ice cream over a river cruise.
Arriving back (somewhat late) in the early evening, the tide had carried out the flood, revealing a shoreline along the Thames, accessed by a set of stairs along the retaining wall. In its decline, it’d left 400-year-old ceramic pipe stems and shards of broken pottery, all treasures for adventuresome children—and adults. Once they knew what to look for, they were on the hunt, seeking out “treasure” left by the river as it had bobbed along the tops of the walls. Soon, Jay was pulling plastic bags from his pack to hold their loot. The only mishap was an unexpected wave from a boat that swept over Helen’s shoes, soaking them through, which did cause considerable consternation for a time.
As evening turned to nightfall, which is still quite light in London this time of year, we turned our back on the Thames. Reaching the stairs, his face aglow with the excitement of success, Breck handed me his bag and exclaimed, “This was the best day ever!”
Hundreds cross the Millennium Bridge in a continuous stream. I wonder how many consider the river’s ebb and flow, and the flood that would bring destruction if not for the walls and the wake that deposits history—treasures for a child, broken though they be. I don’t know how many ponder the river’s ways. I’m only glad that I have.