Wednesday, February 23, 2011

He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven

William Butler Yeats

Had I the heaven's embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half-light,

I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Some Word Vomit About Judgement.

We all know that God is the only one who has any place, judging anyone. So why do we take it upon ourselves?

I don't know how many times I have made judgments on people I didn't even know and then, once I spent more time with them, thought "Wow, this person is amazing. How could I have ever thought that about him/her?"

It's humiliating that God knows every judgmental thought I have had.

Let's be honest, the task of judgment can really wear a person out.
Basically, what I'm trying to get out through all this word vomit, is that I'm tired. Tired of judging. Tired of being judged. Tired of my friends judging and my friends being judged. I'm tired of my family judging and my family being judged.

Why can't I love the way Jesus loves?

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The River-Merchant's Wife: A Letter

Ezra Pound

While my hair was still cut straight across my forehead
I played about the front gate, pulling flowers.
You came by on bambo stilts, playing horse,
You walked about my seat, playing with blue plums.
And we went on living in the village of Chokan.

At fourteen I married My Lord you.
I never laughed, being bashful.
Lowering my head, I looked at the wall.
Called to, a thousand times, I never looked back.

At fifteen I stopped scowling,
I desired my dust to be mingled with yours
Forever and forever and forever.
Why should I climb the look out?

At sixteen you departed,
You went into far Ku-to-en, by the river of swirling eddies,
And you have been gone five months.
The monkeys make sorrowful noise overhead.

You dragged you feet when you went out.
By the gate now, the moss is grown, the different mosses,
Too deep to clear them away!
The leaves fall early this autumn, in wind.
The paired butterflies are already yellow with August
Over the grass in the West garden;
They hurt me. I grow older.
If you are coming down through the narrows of the river Kiang,
Please let me know beforehand,
And I will come out to meet you
As far as Cho-fu-Sa.

Number 3

I realize that anniversaries don't actually count until you are married, BUT today Sam and I have been together for three years; which, in my humble opinion, is a good excuse to spend a night with only him and fondue. We could probably use some more practice with the cheese fondue, but the the chocolate was AMAZING.

Three years goes by fast enough by yourself, let alone when you have a boyfriend as great as Sam to share each moment. Best friends make the best boyfriends. Side-note: I have no idea why our fondue looks like butter. It was cheese, I promise.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

What I'm Reading

Long Day's Journey into Night
By Eugene O'Neill
Possibly the most depressing play I have read. It has some good insight on human nature, but lacks resolution (which I'm finding rather common in modern literature).
Grammar Snobs Are Great Big Meanies
By June Casagrande
This book contains all those rules about grammar that everyone just assumes you know, but really you don't. I can now confidently use "lie" and "lay" correctly.
All My Sons
By Arthur Miller
This play is also pretty depressing, but it has more plot than Long Day's Journey into Night and the characters are much more likable.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Making the Mundane Magical

Just a personal narrative I had to write, recently. The title comes from one of my favorite blogs: Since I was writing for a class, this might sound rather cheesy; but it's all true, none-the-less.

Making the Mundane Magical

Normal day let me be aware of the treasure you are. Let me learn from you, love you, bless you before you depart. Let me not pass you by in quest of some rare and perfect tomorrow. Let me hold you while I may, for it may not always be so.

-Mary Jean Iron

You can spend your whole life trying to find that one friend. The kind of friend who when you meet you just “click.” I was given such a friend at the age of two. My sister and I have always been close, which is a claim that not everyone can make. We have a way of understanding each other, however ridiculous our issues may be. Our friendship hasn’t developed from great or significant events, but by the everyday happenings we shared. We shared time, we shared moments; we shared a place.

This place was in northern Wisconsin, down a long gravel road, across a cornfield from the Mennonite church, on the bank of the Chippewa River. A white house with a chimney, covered in ivy and plants, sits there surrounded by five very tall and old oak trees. Across the driveway is a barn, a calf barn, and a hay barn. Surrounding all these buildings are pasture, river, woods, swamp, hayfields and cornfields. This farm was the place where my sister and I spent most of our childhood years and it was a place where the term “sister” meant more than just a blood relation. This was a place where everyday things happened to ordinary people; a place where my sister and I spent every ordinary moment together, making the mundane magical.

It was the first day of summer. The days of snow tunnels and sledding were over for the short four months that Wisconsin can offer. I was ten years old and I had, according to my mother, honey brown hair. My sister, LeAnne, was eight with sunny golden locks that I always preferred to my own. We both had blue eyes and crooked smiles. We loved to play and we loved our farm. We finally emerged from the fort in our room and into the bright summer sky. Where snow had once lain, piled high, was freshly cut grass, the most brilliant shade of green. The river was full from the snow that had melted and streamed down the bank. Stepping into the fresh country air on a sunny morning always gave me a strong sense of endless possibility. Where should we explore? What should we play? There was always the classic game of house, but perhaps today we would branch out and set up an archeological dig somewhere; probably down the trail in the sand pit, just before the woods began.

Like most children, before running off to our plans and newly thought up adventures, my sister and I had chores to do. We had started helping on the farm since the time we could hold a bottle to a calf’s mouth and that was our primary duty; mixing the replacer for the young ones and hauling buckets of water for the older calves. Everything on the farm was full of life in the morning. Every bird, calf, dog, cow and cat seemed to be chattering in their own way, fully rested and as ready to start the day as LeAnne and I. When the chores were finished, we checked on our new kittens. We spent so much time with them each day that when the heard us talking they would waddle toward our voices, there eyes still kept shut. LeAnne who was always quiet, except around me, had a big piece of her heart devoted to her cats.

It seemed to take Dad forever to pull the last milker off and let the cows into the pasture but soon enough it was time for breakfast. Sitting at the kitchen table we would eat with Mom and Dad and our three older brothers, if they were home. It happened today, that they were. We were all home, which happened far more often in the summer that any other time during the year. The boys were high school age and off at boarding school during the majority of the year. But today we were all home and today was Sunday; pancake day. LeAnne and I sat at either side of our father, in our “rightful” spots. We were too old for him to fix our pancakes for us, but we knew he would if we asked. So we ate our buttermilk pancakes, smothered in butter, strawberry jam (homemade, because there really is no other way), and maple syrup; laughing at Dad’s jokes. We waited all week for this. One thing was unpleasant about Sunday mornings and that was the enormous amount of dishes that awaited us when breakfast was finished. Not having a dishwasher can be a very terrible thing in the minds of 8 and 10 year olds. Reluctantly, perhaps hoping that our mother would offer to do the job, we picked up the plates, cups, knives and forks from the table.

As we washed and dried the dishes, we pondered how to spend our day. We stepped outside and soon found ourselves wandering through the woods and pasture, not playing any game in particular; sometimes we would just walk and talk. The hot June sun beat down on our backs as we continued on our way; bare feet, the smell of dandelions and indian paints lingering around us. We walked through a pasture filled with old machinery that had been left from many years and followed the old junk to the edge of the woods. I would call to LeAnne to come look at what I had found and then laugh as she encountered a big black spider spinning its sticky web in the window of an old Ford. I was, and continue to be the best at making her mad. Once I had begged for her forgiveness we stepped inside the green canvas of wood that smelled of moss and wet leaves, continuing on our walk. The ground was cool and damp and squirrels scampered up trees as we walked past.

In these woods was an old, worn down hunting shack. Of course, we didn’t know it was a hunting shack. I was convinced that someone had actually lived in it at one time and I longed to further investigate, but unfortunately it was surrounded by poison oak. We continued, somewhat disappointed that we may never find out if there really was a skeleton inside and that it was, perhaps, lying next to an old diary that would tell the story of living in the woods and fighting the elements.

Our day continued like this; walking, smelling, talking, starting games and getting bored of games. We made our way back to the house, first stopping in the calf barn, up in the haymow to see the kittens. The pancakes from breakfast had worn off so when we got inside the house we rummaged for something to eat. Our mom only cooked breakfast and supper; the rest was up to us. Our options usually came down to pb&j or leftovers. Needless to say we were exceptionally good at making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Our brothers were inside, playing video games. It was a rare occasion for them to come outside and play with us anymore. But if they were going to be fishing in the river they would usually let LeAnne and me tag along. It happened that on this day they were not going fishing. In the wintertime we were content to sit and watch our brothers play video games for hours, but on a beautiful day like it was, our attention was not being held; not even by Zelda. It was me and her most of the time, but we liked it that way.

Once we were back outside, the day continued much like before. We wandered down the riverbank; one of our favorite places. The bank was steep and rocky and full of trees, the perfect setting for mountain climbing adventures. Apparently trash disposal hadn’t been the first thing on anyone’s mind in the past because garbage had been dumped along the riverbank.. Many might think such a thing would ruin the beauty of such a place but not to us. It was a gold mine for old tin cans, glass bottles of all different colors, doors and window frames; perfect for building outdoor homes. When our brothers had built forts for us they usually forgot these important details. And so we passed the moments of our day housekeeping in the mountains.

As we played we could hear the water rushing by us; strong and forceful but never frightening, to me. The fragrance of our riverbank was pine and the color was purple from the little violets that freckled the ground. Although it was well into summer the water was still too cold to swim in. We were gradually getting used to the cold, wading in a little further each day. This is where we liked to talk, wading in the river, our troubles being washed down stream as soon as we spoke them to each other.

The afternoon was soon approaching and with it would come more chores. Back into the barn we would go. We knew that we had to get the calves fed before Dad let the cows out; any later and we would take up all the room in the milk house. The big silver bulk tank took up over half of the small room. We often wasted time by laughing at our distorted figures in its reflection.

Some days we would get all our chores done right away and have the rest of the night to play, but this time we lingered in the haymow with the kittens. We jumped over and over again into the massive pile of straw until every particle of dust was stuck to our sweaty foreheads and arms. Reluctantly we made our way down to the milk house. We stirred the milk-replacer and carefully poured the sweet smelling mixture into each bottle. Feeding calves can be tricky business but we had mastered it. Unfortunately it took getting a bottle thrust into our stomachs to learn the proper way to feed a calf. We put fresh straw in each stall and gave water to the bigger heifers. Not long after our responsibilities would extend to scraping calf pens in the main barn. Then, the dreaded chore was handled by our brother, Casey.

Right around dusk, when you can feel the grass get cool, we finished chores. Up we climbed, onto the roof of the hay barn; from there we could see the barnyard on one side, the pasture where the cows were headed, and on the other our huge grassy, hilly yard. Along the edge stood a white fence that separated the lawn from the cornfield. The corn had been planted and was starting to poke through the ground, only inches high; but our anticipation was that it would, of course, be knee high by the fourth of July.

Lying on our stomachs at the peak of the shed we watched our mom bring the cows to the pasture. We knew that this was her favorite part of farming. When she was no longer in view, we turned to the other side and watched the sun sink down behind the cornfields and gravel roads. The milk pump turned off and the farm was quiet and still. And at that moment a feeling of peace and contentedness of a simple life stretched across our farm. We lay there longer, rolling from our stomachs onto our backs, watching the stars poke through the sky one by one.

This day wasn’t out of the ordinary, in fact, it was quite typical. But then it’s usually the common things that we look back on most fondly. Everything that my sister and I shared that day is engrained in our memories. It isn’t always the big things that bring people together; for LeAnne and me, it was the everyday moments of working, playing, talking and laughing that made us sisters.