FIRE AND ICE

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By Lisa Huddleston
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On the far side of land

Fire and ice holding hands

But I am not there

To wring hands with care

I sit up high with a wall made of glass

And watch sailboats sailing

And gulls flying past

But I cannot know what tomorrow will bring

Either fire or ice or all manner of things

Teach me to accept them all

With both hands

For all come from You

Both the ice and the sands

LEAVING THE CHICKEN HOUSE

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By Lisa Huddleston

Here in Tennessee we are experiencing a rare time of ice and snow, and everywhere I look I see a picture-worthy scene–as those of you who follow my Instagram and Facebook accounts can attest. Sorry for the overload, but there is just too much beauty to keep it to myself. I see that others of you feel the same, and I’ve been enjoying your pictures of snow angels, icicles, sledding, and cozy food!

"What's this white stuff?"

“What’s this white stuff?”

Of course, along with all this loveliness comes the stress and worry of interrupted schedules and dangerous travels.

My musician son who was anxious to head home Monday to finally celebrate Valentine’s Day with his sweetheart has been stuck in Dallas. Naturally, he’s not too happy. Also, there have been countless accidents on slick roads, people have been without power, and some of us are just plain stir crazy (I won’t say who–COUGH COUGH). Even the chickens are freaked out and had to be coaxed with treats to step onto the new white carpet in their yard!

Venturing out.

Venturing out.

This unusual wintry event–and our chicken chickens–have got me thinking about an insight my daughter recently shared. She works at a rehab center where she gets to know many elderly patients, and one thing she has recognized is that everyone is going through whatever stage of life he or she is in for the very first time. Sarah says that reminds her to be more patient with people–some of us just handle change better than others. That’s kind, deep, and very true. And it makes me think.

Some of us see fresh-fallen snow and want to make angels; others of us envision every potential slip and risk and decide to hunker down for the duration. As usual, balance is best, and I’m reminded to try harder to see both sides as well as to give those who can’t just a little more grace.

Good stuff to ponder on a cold, wintry day as I sit by the fire sipping from a hot cup and listening to the dog snore.

Baruch haShem!

TENNESSEE WINTER

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By Lisa Huddleston

Gray days offer little obvious beauty

Nothing gaudy or over-bright but

Straw-colored grasses

Waving white heads and dancing in the icy sun

Are pure delight

Reminder of last summer’s bounty and

Promise of what will come again

A perfect moment frozen in a single glance of joy

BURNING THE PAST

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By Lisa Huddleston

Leaf falling

I long to paint a portrait

I crave to craft a song

To memorialize my moments

To make them last for longer

Than just today

 

I know this is because

I miss the harmonies of my former life

The interweaving of the needs of others

With the desires of my heart

The constant giving and the taking and the weaving and the making

And now there is not as much

Not much giving nor much taking

And my days are clear and long and empty and full of significantly mundane moments

 

I think if I could grab the moments and

Throw them down on paper or canvas or track

Then they would live forever or

If not forever then at least for longer than for just today

They would matter more and last

 

But I have no right to clutter the world with moments

To fill the sky with falling leaves frozen in thick air

Full of meaning that may or may not be there

Once living creatures perpetually suspended in clear resin

To hold down my onion skin memories and images and dreams

 

Moments are fleeting and should leave when I do

Caught in the flames and lifted into the sky on wings of smoke

Not frozen

Not hardened

Not left as a burden to be carried by others

Fluid and lifting up into ever-thinning and evaporating rings

Finally gone and freed from both memory and artificial meaning

And carried away on smoke

RAINY DAYS AND MONDAYS

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By Lisa Huddleston

Little lamps can shed a lot of light when the day is dark.

Little lamps shed a lot of light on dark days.

It is both rainy and a Monday—actually it is the second Monday in the first month of this new year making it an especially dangerous day for those who like me have a love hate relationship with depression. The winter is a rough time with the gray skies and bare trees. Yeah.

Well anyway, it is nearly one o’clock in the afternoon, and I have done what I know to do. I read my daily Bible plan selections before getting out of bed–the same bed I have just now made. Between those two landmarks, I have knitted several rows on the scarf I am making for my husband, I’ve eaten toast for breakfast and salad for lunch, I’ve taken the lettuce and cucumber scraps to the chickens and collected three brownish eggs, and that’s about it.

Oh yeah, I also wrote a poem that I am afraid readers will not understand so I have carefully printed it and tucked it into the back of my new Monthly Planner to ponder for another time or more likely to lose in the scraps that will collect there over the next few months.

The poem kind of explained what I mean by a “love hate relationship with depression.” That cozy feeling of hiding in my fur-lined nest. And it really is like that, and this rainy day mirrors that feeling pretty well.

Soon I will head to the basement and walk on my old, well-worn treadmill that smells faintly of an impending electrical fire when I use it for too long. I will be sad to see it go. But today, hopefully, I will walk several stationary miles and digest a few more chapters of my current read, Wild. The irony of reading about the author’s journey on the Pacific Coast Trail while my feet count steps to nowhere in my basement will make me smile. It makes me smile even now.

After a shower and some more knitting, perhaps, it will be time to cook dinner and wait for my sweet husband’s return. Both the dog and I will be glad to see his headlights in the dark driveway.

All in all, it will have been a good day, a successful day. And that will be enough. Sort of like my lighting of little lamps to chase the gloom away–the very act that triggered this post. Nothing very special, but enough to light my way.

And tomorrow will be Tuesday, and maybe the sun will shine.

SLUBS, NUBS, AND OTHER BEAUTIFUL MISTAKES

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By Lisa Huddleston

Beautiful hand-thrown mugs!

Beautiful hand-thrown mugs!

This Christmas was the year of the handmade gift. My mother gave homemade chocolates. My mother-in-law gave homegrown fruit preserves and cucumber, green bean, and okra pickles. My daughter-in-law gave delicious homemade Russian tea cookies. I gave hand-knit wooly hats and scarves. We gave beautiful wooden bowls Chuck’s uncle made. And my daughter and her husband gave hand-thrown mugs. It was simple and unique and special.

Knitting a cowl for Christmas.

Knitting a cowl for Christmas.

And each day as I ate those goodies or every morning as I cup a comfortably off kilter mug in my hands, I think of their makers and celebrate their gifts and their talents and their love.

Homemade gifts are special. They aren’t quite as perfect as those you buy in stores. They have little flaws and quirks–we call them “design elements” to celebrate their specialness. They may not sit exactly flat on the table or they may not be the latest style, but you know that they say “love” with the raspy sometimes irritating voice of truth. And their nubs and imbalances and missed stitches remind us that while we’re not there yet, we are striving to make good things. There is beauty in the trying.

Midway into knitting a cap.

Midway into knitting a cap.

As this New Year begins, I find myself trying. I’m trying to get rid of the extra pounds I’ve collected over the past few weeks. I’m trying to get back into a consistent reading of the Word. I’m trying to spend time with old friends and to even make new ones. And I’m trying to lift my head up from my usual navel gazing in order to focus more on the grace of each moment. Yes, I am trying.

And, of course, my trying is not perfect. Already I see nubs and flaws and design elements weaving themselves into and around my perfect goals. But that is okay. And that is real. And that is good.

Happy New Year to you. May you set your hands to the good works God has placed before you–and may I. And may we all keep on trying to make good things full of design elements we never dreamed of, but that seem to make the whole experience just a little more interesting and lovely.

 

 

Ponderous, Pondering

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Tempus fugit.

Tempus fugit.

By Lisa Huddleston

 

Ponderous

Pondering

Heavy and fraught with

Meaning

 

The final seconds of

The final minutes of

The final hours of

The final day of

This year

Tick off and

Away

 

Well spent or

Wasted

Meaning full or

Lost

 

Either way

Time is spent

Never to be

Recovered

 

Tomorrow begins a

New Year

The first seconds of

The first minutes of

The first hour of

The first day

 

Still ponderous and

Pondering and

Full of meaning or

Not

 

And the weight of

Hope is the

Heaviest weight of all

 

Should auld acquaintance be forgot and

Never brought to mind

Should auld acquaintance be forgot and

Days of auld lang syne