After Harvest

Corn Field After Harvest

The last of the crops are gathered now, and the fields settle in for their season of rest.  They’ll sleep in peace beneath the coming snows, glad for the quiet, glad for the memories of all they could contribute to the the children of the earth.

And November will bless them with lullabies that sing, “Well done,” and send them the thanks of earth’s children on the last of the warm autumn winds.

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A Radiance of Hope

Rainbow in Storm Clouds

All day the winds roared, pummeling the trees, ripping limbs, downing branches, hurling everything it could catch across the fields, the lawns and roadways.   Clouds that dwarfed mountains rushed across the sky like speeding freight trains, late to deliver rivers of rain.

All who could take shelter did, man and birds and beasts alike.  Whispers of “Danger!” flew through the air.

But then, as if the Yes itself sought to remind, a radiance of hope arched across the sky and all who saw it forgot their fear and were filled with awe at its beauty.  And the clouds gave way to the sun, and the winds became a healing breeze in answer to their trust.

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Watching the Geese at Dusk

Geese at Brady's Run Lake

Watching the geese at dusk, their silent dance moving in and out of the shadows as the day’s light and colors fade, you want, somehow, to hold into this moment for another hour or two.

Let the motion stay, but hold the light right here, just long enough for the peace of it all to become indelible memory.  You take the fragrance of it into your lungs.

Your wife and your dog stand at your side, content, alive, watching.  The ballet goes on, timed to the ripples on the water’s surface.  This is all you ever wanted.  This moment of standing on the shore at dusk, watching the geese.

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The Dream that is November

Geese on November Lake

In the dream that is November, geese swim on a green lake.  The quiet murmuring between them is the only sound.  The air is still.  The lake is still and wears a skim of sparkling ice and the colors of the red oak leaves that reflect from the hill at its edge.

The geese linger to feed on the echoes that are beyond human hearing: the singing of rippling waters after a bass breaks their surface, the laughter of children at play on the shores, the splash of a canoe’s paddles, the ricochet of bird calls and chattering squirrels, the patter of summer rain.  They will feed until they are filled.

And by then, the sparkling ice will cover the lake completely, and the dream that is November will have flown away on their broad, strong wings.

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Sky Promise

Winter Sunset

The last time I passed this field, it was golden with ripe soybeans and edged with still-green thistle.   Now, as if it were some quick-change artist, it suddenly wears a crusty snow, striped with the harvester’s tracks.

But it’s not the field that catches my eye as much as the glow of the day’s gentle sunset, written like a promise on the southwestern sky.  Its color is a blessing after a day of low-slung heavy clouds and dreary frozen rain as a childhood rhyme floats through my mind:  Red sky at night, sailor’s delight.

I smile, remembering that.  Tomorrow we will see sun.

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Jack’s Back

Frost on Window Glass

Even the cold has its compensations.   It’s good to count them when your nose and toes complain.

The mosquitoes, for instance, have gone.  You can be awake to see the sun both rise and set and still get plenty of sleep.  You don’t have to mow the lawn or empty the air conditioner’s bucket.   You can put your collection of afghans to good use.  You have all the excuse you need  to eat those yummy comfort foods.

And if you have an eye for finding beauty, you can revel in the sparkle of freshly fallen snow, of the diamonds of ice on slim branches.  You can watch long blue shadows roll over the curves of a snow-smoothed field.  And if you’re lucky enough to have a few old windows, you can wake on frosty morning and hear yourself exclaim, “Jack’s back!  Jack’s back!” as you marvel at the etchings on the glass.

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Power lines at sunset

Even without the lines, the Yes gives us light and carries our innermost thoughts from heart to heart.

That we have learned to borrow and direct its power is part of the design, a play of its creativity within our own minds.

Unseen are the connections that spark our ideas, that quicken our hearts, that let us touch one another with love across time, and miles, and dimensions.

And all of it is glorious, the seen and the unseen, and is the singing of the miraculous song.

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Tricks Up Her Sleeve

Winter Berries

Chickadees aren’t afraid of snow.  They play their merry little games of tag regardless of the weather.

Some creatures just come with childlike trust.  For them, it’s a given that Nature will provide.  She plays her games, too.  She has her moods.  But they have her number.  They know that when push comes to shove, she always has a few tricks up her sleeve.

Even in the deepest snow, if you look, you’ll find the berries, and they’ll be bright and just waiting for you.

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Family Farm

Pennsylvania Farm

It’s just another of those family farms that dot the hills.  But for the red barn, it would be easy to miss it altogether, dwarfed as it is by the landscape, its white buildings blending into the snow.

The livestock is tucked away now, the cattle, the sheep.  All that stirs is the wind, and it sweeps unbridled across this open land.

But oh, behind the walls, what industry thrives!  The accounting, the taking stock, the planning, the purchasing and repairs.  The care and feeding of children and beasts. The running of the homestead.

And in the long nights, soft murmuring passes between the husband and the wife, warm beneath their quilts as history whispers from the walls and stars dance with snowflakes in the deep sky.

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The First Snowfall

Snow on Tree Branches

The shower of glistening flakes began just after dark.  You could tell by the way it was falling that this was a “real” snow, the kind that would be there in the morning.

And so you fell asleep to images of it, powdering down.  And when you woke in the morning, it was your first thought and you ran to the window, as excited as a child, to see it.  Snow! The first snow!  How magical!  How wondrous!

It was as if the breath of the Yes had turned solid and kissed every curve and corner of the world, and now everything was transformed and made lovely in its light.

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