I love this picture! The sunrise this morning was miraculous! The camera on my phone did it no justice but if you look closely at the reflection on the hood of my truck…how much more awesome the image is. We are that way too, if we allow it, taking in all the love and beauty that the world has to offer and then reflecting it back out into the world. If we do that, then it becomes more of a clear image of just exactly what love is all about. How all the wonderful things in life when reflected on a smaller body tends to show a clearer more intense image.
The old broken, forgotten fence that ran through the pasture still had stretches of wire stretched tight in places. The barbed wire rusted and old in places had snapped, I am sure with a groan. The mesquites, the prickly pear, and the prairie grasses huddled up close to the fence here and there. The posts were weathered from years in the Texas sun and the wind and the rain had taken their toll too. Walking the fence line in the early morning, searching an empty pasture for things to shoot and hoping that the dove hunters have not set up shop in the same place. There just isn’t much competition in a gun and a camera….. The fence was a surprise because it was way down in the pasture and there was nothing there but trees and cacti. For some reason this morning I laced up the steel toes and donned the jeans for the morning excursion. So about a mile from the house down a country back road, I climbed between the barbed wire and venture into the pasture and down into the hills and dry creek beds searching for something new and exciting to shoot.
Down a sloping path that cattle long gone had tread upon I wondered. I saw a few rabbit scurrying here and there, a snake lay basking in the sun off of the trail, and a few birds here and there. I asked mister snake ” what kind of snake are you?” His reply made me stick to the path and hurry on my way….”raatttttlllleee”. The path began a gentle descent towards an old creek bed and I continued on my way still taking in all that the dry and dying countryside had to offer. Sometimes I hate when I am on a mission, in search for the “right” thing to fill my viewfinder. There are many things that are beautiful and many things catch my eye but they are never that specific item. Bad thing is I never quite know what I am looking for until I see it.
As I got to within rock throwing distance from the creek bed I realized that beside the path was a fence post. Just a fence post and nothing more. The wood white with age, smooth to the touch from years in the weather, and lonely. About 4 inches from the top was bands of barbed wire that once was strong but now with the rust held tight to the single post. I walked down into the creek and took a good look around, even ventured for some time down the bed. The sides were getting taller, the rocks began to show signs of being weather-worn by flowing water long since dried up in the Texas drought. Getting frustrated by the lack of pictures that I am taking, I turn the camera off and just walk. I come to a place that the cattle have long ago made a ramp out of the deepening ravine and I climb to the top.
There again is a lonely fence post. I realize that this isn’t one of those pic taking journeys but instead it is just a journey. Someday’s are just about the journey in life.
I look back along the creek and notice that the fence had once been just along the creek. I walk back along the fence line through the mesquite and the cacti, being very careful to watch and listen for snakes. A sun lizard was basking on the next fence post, enjoying the sunshine and the height of the current landscape in which it perched. The barbed wire that held the post tight was to no significance to the lizard. The middle strand of rusty old wire was still holding tight to the next post and the top strand made loops along the ground half-way in between. The bottom strand I did not think was still there until I saw it wondering through a prickly-pear patch a little way in the middle. The third post I came too was pushed to one side by a mesquite growing tall and strong with the help of the weathered post. I looked closer still following the barbed wire, it ended where the tree started and began again on the other side. Closer investigation and I figured out that the tree when it was young had incorporated the wire into its own being. The wire that had caused scars and pain when the tree was young was now a very part of the tree. A little farther I came to the last fence post before my starting point. There it looked like it had grown up with the cacti that surrounded it. Born different than it’s brothers but nurtured by the same sun and rain it was like a family portrait. As I got back to the beginning, I sat on a big sandstone rock looking back at the fence row and thinking how much like life and people each of the fence posts had been. Though we are all incredibly different, we are all just the same…..humans. Much like each post is wood, weathered by the same sun, drenched by the same rains, and sanded smooth by the same winds. Each one had difficulties becoming the beautiful pieces of the landscape. The trees, the cacti, the grasses, the barbs and the wire all were outside influences. The hurt, they supported, and they became the very part of the lives they touched. Life is like that too, all those things that hurt us, that mold us, that help build our very character and souls become a big part of our very structure too. If we would all take the time for a simple journey once in awhile and look to see….we would remember that we are all still just people the same in so many ways but unique by our experiences……
Standing in the rising sun the day begins to unfold before me, the warmth of the morning engulfing me gently, showing me such beauty in nature. I stand quietly taking in all the sights and sounds of the amazing world around me. It’s love and beauty reflects my very heart and soul. It reflects the wonder and awe that resides deep inside me. I look out across the pasture and breath in the morning air. I take each step with gentle hope. Even in nature I see struggles and heartache, but I also see the will to live, to love, and to blossom. A mesquite tree growing there entwined in the fence. The barbed wire of years gone by encompassed in the very trunk of the tree. Rusty and old, the barbs seeming to have been sharpened with time, but still strung tight like a thicket of roses it stays vigil in its task of protecting the animals inside. Like a parents arms protecting a child, the barbs are the times when that parent has to be stern but whose arms are always strong and protecting. The tree started growing there innocent and sure, as the years past the wire began to cut the bark of the young tree making scars as it did. Like circumstances in life scar the heart. As the tree matured and encompassed the wire was like how we tend to grow and learn and mature in life. The scars are still there, the things that cause the pain may still be there too, but we grow and finally embody the source. Does not impede the beauty that we have, or the love that we share or even our purpose but instead it becomes an interesting part of us.
It has been a week of thought and searching. Putting words on paper is easy, to put my heart and my feelings into words on paper is easy. To actually speak those words isn’t always easy for me. I have a tendency to get quiet and shy, I may call every friend I have each one getting but a sentence or a paragraph of what I am feeling, but never the whole thought. I can call someone a hundred times to try to get that thought out, but only to say “I just called to tell you that I care and I love you so much” but never letting my heart talk. I don’t know how many times I called Kristen, called Lillie, Carrie, and Heath. I don’ t know how many times I called Betsy and just could not get relief. Kristen and Carrie both sensing a need in my voice asked me more than once if I was “okay”. Betsy kept asking why I was so quiet and so far away. It took me three days to find broken sentences, single words, and unshared thoughts. It took me three days to even begin to try to write a paragraph to share my heart. I hate to try to vocalize my feelings for they never come out right, in the right order, in the right context, they are stumbled upon like a small child learning to walk. Then when I stumble over them, falling and climbing back to my feet, standing there looking around wondering how to take that next step. I tenderly try it again… I am so blessed to have friends that look at their phones when I hang up at those times, cock their heads and know that something is going on. The patiently wait and gently prod knowing in time I will find my own stride…..
As she awoke with tears washing over her cheeks, the wee morning hours still dark. Too early to be up but staying in bed did not seem the right option either. Slipping into her slipper socks, she checked her phone but no missed calls. She placed it on the desk and padded quietly down the hall to the restroom. Quietly closing the door she did not even bother turning on the light. Keeping quiet was an old habit that had not seemed necessary to break. Her cheeks still wet from the flood of tears, she crept back to the office to check the time. Sitting in front of the computer with the clock blaring 3am she logged onto the social site to see if there was anyone on. Early mornings were her time, time to think, to read, and to do research. Quiet, peaceful, and all her own.
She sat in the darkness the only light was that from the computer and tried to make sense of the tears. Trying in earnest to remember the dream that caused them. A strange dream….. sitting in a field of green at a tiny white table with tiny white chairs drinking coffee in a sunlight akin to that muted by the fall. The woman across from her was happy and bubbly and spoke with kind, loving words. Her hair shown in the muted light, long and brown. Her voice was soothing and wrapped the young girls heart in warmth. The brown haired woman was showing a movie, a movie on the very fabric of the sky. A movie of happiness, of incredible sadness, and of love. The images were people that the young girl knew and loved. As this movie in the sky played out, tears of love began to flow and the brown haired woman took her hand. As she looked down at her hand aglow from the computer screen there was still a warmth there. One hand was warmer than the other.
What people had she seen on the big sky screen? She laid her in her hands and closed her eyes hoping to recall the images. A flash of light took her back to the giant screen of her dreams. On the screen, was her father standing there holding hands with the brown haired lady. Both were smiling and glowed with happiness and a love that is everlasting. There was again a flash and her daughter was standing there holding a bundle. Wrapped in pink and glowing softly in the muted light. Her daughters face was not expressionless. It was full of love and wonder. She was happy. Then the flash went again and on the screen was herself, standing not alone. Standing hand in hand with a familiar person. There was love and happiness between them also. The her on the sky screen waved and blew her a kiss, her heart was filled with a love that she had never before felt. A love that was unconditional, a love that was not hurtful, or hateful.
The brown haired woman squeezed her hand gently three times. She knew that signal. It was one that she had taught her own daughter as a small child, one that her mother had created. She created it so that the girl would not always verbally express “I LOVE YOU” three words, three gentle squeezes.
The people on the big sky screen had vanished but there was a beautiful scenery a gentle brook babbling along the rocks. Like love moves along through hearts and souls, the brook represented the love she felt for each of these people. The people showed her what kind of things that were held in store for her and them. Her loving father was reunited with her mother, her daughter was blessed with a child, and herself would be loved and know what it was like to share a wonderful love.
She raised her head and realized why the tears, mixed tears of happy and of sad. But knowing that all would work out and be okay. As she glanced back at the clock it was not 5am and time to get up……
She picked up the cell phone and sent a text, on that she hoped might show just how much the weekend had showed her where her heart really was. How much she loved the texts recipient. She had been distant for the rest of the weekend and wondered why….. for the love in her heart was matching the brook babbling on the sky screen.
TEN YEARS…..I remember as a small child every anniversary of Pearl Harbor my Granddaddy Holt would tell me the story of where he was the day they bombed Pearl Harbor. “Becki I was delivering out at Reese Air Base for the Atchison Topeka & Santa Fe. I had pulled on base and got off the train as some young man came running up and said, ‘ we can’t unload you right now Clarence, they bombed Pearl Harbor!!!’ I had to sit there with that train for hours.” “Bec I hope that you never experience anything that leaves that kind of mark on you.” I hate that he had to be effected that way, but I remember him telling me about it like it was yesterday so it effected me too. He taught me so much about pride in my country, pride in myself and what love was all about.
So there comes a point in my life that effects me deeply, 9.11.2001. I had awakened early, put Kristen on the bus to school and was sitting in our den watching the news and talking to Mom. Mom had come to Brownwood to stay with Daddy that had just opened the Honey Do Shop. They didn’t have any television at the time (Brownwood only got Abilene and San Angelo stations and only if you had a honking antenna) and they were still not very hip on the internet yet. I was watching a news cast live from the street in NYC. They panned to the plane hitting the tower. I am telling Mom what I am seeing and we are talking about it. A short time earlier a small plane had hit a building in NYC and we were talking about the bad timing and that there would be a third. As the second plane hit. I remember the fear in my Mom’s voice. I remember her promise to me. “Rebecca Jean, I will get to you one way or another. I don’t know how I will have to travel but if we go to war and I can’t drive there, I will get there. I know a few people down here with horses, if I have to I will come for you and Kristen on horse back.” I remember sitting there in shock but thinking to myself, ‘my little momma is gonna steal a horse and ride 200 miles. OMG’ I told her not to even think about it that it would be easier to get Kris and I to them. I remember the days following being out in the cotton fields and there being NO air traffic. How unsettling that in itself was. If you did see a plane it was military and it made you wonder what was going on. There was military planes from all over the world sitting on the tarmac at the Lubbock airport. I remember taking Kristen out there to see the big Russian air plane that was built to put out oil field fires.
Ten years later…….. what a life time has passed in the past 10 years. Mary Helen, Grandma, and Mother are gone now, as well as many other friends and relatives. Kristen has turned into a wonderful young woman. She has graduated high school, been off to New Orleans to go to college, fallen in love and married. I have been in business, moved from Slaton to Bangs. I have wrestled with religion and had my faith shaken to its very core. I have found my path and actually have plans for a future time. Daddy ran his business that was new until we lost mother and now he does everything he can to help me. I have watched as his health deteriorates, I have watched as John’s health has failed so much. I have reunited with old friends and made new, I have found love and found happiness. I have seen many changes in our country and in this world in those 10 years. New laws, the war, young people that I actually know have gone to war and life continues. How amazing that it lives on in our hearts that we could actually be attacked but some things will carry on just as before………
As a feather is wafted downward
From an eagle in his flight.
I see the lights of the village
Gleam through the rain and the mist,
And a feeling of sadness comes o’er me
That my soul cannot resist:
A feeling of sadness and longing,
That is not akin to pain,
And resembles sorrow only
As the mist resembles the rain.
Come, read to me some poem,
Some simple and heartfelt lay,
That shall soothe this restless feeling,
And banish the thoughts of day.
Not from the grand old masters,
Not from the bards sublime,
Whose distant footsteps echo
Through the corridors of Time.
For, like strains of martial music,
Their mighty thoughts suggest
Life’s endless toil and endeavor;
And to-night I long for rest.
Read from some humbler poet,
Whose songs gushed from his heart,
As showers from the clouds of summer,
Or tears from the eyelids start;
Who, through long days of labor,
And nights devoid of ease,
Still heard in his soul the music
Of wonderful melodies.
Such songs have power to quiet
The restless pulse of care,
And come like the benediction
That follows after prayer.
Then read from the treasured volume
The poem of thy choice,
And lend to the rhyme of the poet
The beauty of thy voice.
And the night shall be filled with music
And the cares, that infest the day,
Shall fold their tents, like the Arabs,
And as silently steal away.