Friday, April 11, 2014
An eclectic group of people gathered in a shaded picnic grove. While the adults mingled, children ran around the weathered wooden tables playing a game of tag. Some of the women had prepared their signature dishes to share. The hostess of the event directed the women to place their crock pots and Tupperware containers on a long folding table with a red and white checkered tablecloth. A few men clustered around a charcoal grill to talk sports and offer unsolicited grilling tips to the hot dog and hamburger chef. When more folks arrived, there would be a new round of greetings, handshakes, and hugs. Once all the food was ready, a brief prayer was offered by a tall and slender gentlemen, and then the potluck feast commenced. People gathered together in natural social circles and swapped stories over lunch. Laughter and the smell of fresh potato salad filled the air. One young man sat by himself at the end of a table. On the other end of the table, two couples carried on a vigorous and passionate conversation about the newest primetime television show. The young man ate his food quickly and silently. A few times he smiled gently. After he finished his meal, he cleaned up his spot and left without any fanfare. Strange how one can go unnoticed and be so alone in a crowded place.
Thursday, April 3, 2014
An elderly man sat on a wooden park bench. Next to him rested a brown paper bag filled with bird seed. On the ground in front of him assembled a mixed flock of pigeons, mourning doves, starlings, and house sparrows. The man visited the park at the same time each day and sat on the same bench. The birds knew this. Shaky and skinny fingers reached inside the bag and grabbed a handful of seed. The man scattered the brown and black seed on the ground in front of him. The birds converged noisily, heads bobbing and beaks pecking. Other nearby birds were attracted to the fray. The man kept tossing handfuls of seed until his bag was empty. A gentle smile emerged on the man’s face. “I will see you tomorrow, my friends,” he said in a creaking and wavering voice. The man stood slowly, crumpled up his empty bag, stuffed the bag in his pocket, zipped his jacket, and leisurely strolled along the dirt path towards his apartment. Most of the birds scattered when the man stood up. A few remained and watched the man as he shuffled away. A pigeon cocked her head curiously, as if she was processing some complex thought. She would be back tomorrow-- same time, same place.
Tuesday, April 1, 2014
Wind through the trees. Blood red leaves dance to nature’s hidden rhythm. Birds join their voices together in harmony while emerald green insects add a buzzing drone. The forest comes alive with the ecstasy of life. In the midst of this age-old wonder, I am overcome by a sense of purpose and beauty. I cannot bring myself to believe that this elegant symphony is purely the product of chaos and chance. Nature’s symphony reveals the Master Composer.
Monday, March 31, 2014
Darkness dominated the first hour of the morning work commute. Cars hummed along the highway with headlights on and defrosters working furiously. A silent and still cold hung in the air. On the eastern horizon the dim glow of the rising sun appeared. The first light illuminated yellow, red, orange, and brown leaves. A misty fog hovered over the valleys. As the sun ascended into the sky, the warm rays drove away the frigid morning chill and thawed the frost. Life emerged from overnight hibernation. A squirrel worked frantically, gathering food for the coming winter months. A bird chirped merrily in a maple tree, delivering her grand swan song before migration. The bear readied her den. After his morning coffee, a man donned a knit cap and fleece jacket and set to work in his yard. There was much to be done; autumn mornings soon become long winter days.
Saturday, March 29, 2014
Where is God? The young boy asked his mother. The mother thought for a minute. She did not know how to respond to such a profound inquiry from such a young mind. The mother looked out the window. She tried to gaze beyond the horizon, beyond the sun, beyond the end of the universe. The boy waited for an answer with genuine interest. The mother’s heart raced. She could feel the thudding in her chest. What should she say? The pounding in her chest was becoming unbearable. Then the answer struck her. She placed one hand over her heart and one hand over her son’s heart. God is in our hearts, my boy.
Friday, March 28, 2014
Mark was the high school class bully. At lunch he made his way from one table to another, selecting unsuspecting students as his targets. First, he stopped by a table full of nerds. Mark picked up a small bowl of mashed potatoes and squashed it on Joe’s head. Joe went on to be class valedictorian; Mark failed gym class. So it goes. Next, Mark paid a visit to the band and theatre kids. He delivered two wedgies and one noogie. One of the three victims went on to become a critically acclaimed Broadway actor. The other two had respectable careers in their local symphony orchestras. Mark struggled to carry a tune on the kazoo. So it goes. Lastly, Mark visited a table full of socially awkward and dateless girls. He made fun of their glasses, their clothes, their hair, their waistlines, and their ankles. At their ten year class reunion, Mark tried to hit on one of these girls. Susan promptly poured her drink on his head. So it goes. Although Mark was king of the hill during adolescence, justice has a way of making all things right in the long run.
Thursday, March 27, 2014
Each morning a man performed a strange task. This was his daily routine: Before sunrise, he loaded his truck with water jugs and an assortment of yard tools. As the sun came up, he pulled out of his driveway and followed the quiet roads out of his suburban subdivision. Once he reached the open roads, he accelerated and headed towards the desert. He drove for about half an hour until he reached a gravel road. Taking the road, he drove to a secluded part of the desert and parked his truck. As far as the eye could see, there was only barren brown earth and the occasional green cactus. Reaching into the driver’s seat, he picked up a tray of pink and purple geraniums. In the middle of the empty wasteland, he planted the geraniums and watered them with great care. He tossed the empty tray into the back of his truck, which was littered with a half dozen other empty trays. Having completed his daily task, he drove away. The sun’s heat was just beginning to become intense. The man would be back again tomorrow to attempt the same futile task, growing flowers in a desert.