Sunday, September 14, 2014

Rainbow egg

The sky was remarkable today. I knew before sunrise that it would be. A few feathery clouds to the south were drifting casually as if they had no where in particular to go on this Sunday morning.

A jet smaller than a mosquito raced off toward the west leaving a thread of vapor across the sky.

Flipping out my mat and punching the play button on my player, I started breathing slowly. Intentionally.  

As I flexed and stretched, the morning came alive around me. 

After finishing, I punched the brew button on the coffeemaker, and sat on the couch reading. I heard Jilda stir. The aroma of the coffee had brought her to life.

This afternoon I had a meeting with our songwriter group to discuss out gig next Sunday. 

Heading for home I saw an oval in the sky. The sun played on the moisture in a cloud making an egg-shaped rainbow.

Pulling to the side of the road, I snapped a photo out the window of my truck. The picture doesn't do the scene justice, but it will remind me that I saw something remarkable.

Saturday, September 13, 2014


I mentioned last week to our friend Asa Faith that I had been reading books about writing. "I think I have one you might enjoy," she said.

Later she sent a text saying she had some books for me. Jilda felt well enough today so we went down to fetch them.

One of the books in the pile was F. Scott Fitzgerald on writing. Flipping through the first few pages put a smile on my face. It looks like another good one.

Jilda also shared an interview by Oprah with  Paulo Coelho who wrote The Alchemist. I've read that little parable more times that I can count. Jilda has read it more than me. It always gives me hope.

Pulling the dog eared book from our shelves, I put it on the pile to read again.

Jilda has read all her life, but I wasn't a reader at first. I high school, I only read required reading. I wasn't much better the first few years of college, but somewhere along the way something changed.

These days my desk has a stack of "currently reading" books, and I've listened to 480 books on Audible. I couldn't tell you how many others I borrowed from the library.

Reading a good book has a way of lifting my spirits when I'm feeling down.

So, are you reading any good books? Care to venture a guess of how many books you've read in your life?

A host of hot habaneros

Friday, September 12, 2014


When I was a kid I heard that if the sun shines when it's raining that the devil is beating his wife. 

Yesterday I heard the rain coming before I saw it. Looking outside, the sun was as bright as a flash on our garden not 30 yards away, but buckets of rain was pouring off the tin roof.

I thought about the old saying and smiled.

Had I found a clearing that let me look off to the east, I would have seen a rainbow, but lightning crashed too close and going outside would have been unwise.
After a few minutes, the clouds raced off to the east leaving the sun to do its work.

I hope you all have a remarkable weekend.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

A silence you can hear

I know within a few feet of where I was standing at 8:46 a.m. on September 11, 2001. I'd just poured a cup of coffee and was getting ready to go into a training class.

I remember a classmate saying, "A plane just crashed into the World Trade Center." I stood there trying to wrap my mind around that fact. 

Was it a small plane?
Had the pilot had a heart attack?
When we found a television and the pictures began pouring in, I was shocked.
We continued with the class but our minds were elsewhere as each story more tragic and horrible than the last.

All I could think was, "The world will never be the same." And it hasn't been.

The thing I remember most about the following days was the silence. I live in rural Alabama, but even here, there is rarely a time when you look up that you don't see a plane overhead. They are so common, that we've suppressed the sounds and pay no more attention to them than cicadas or treefrogs.  

But when that sound disappears, you can hear the silence.

Today was a beautiful day. We had rain in the afternoon, but on the way to a meeting this morning, I snapped a picture out the window of my truck.


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Things we give

There are things we give that will outlive us. This train of thought pulled into my mental terminal this afternoon while sitting on the back deck watching our great nephew Jordan play in our back yard.

His mom had to work late and his nana had a doctor's appointment, so I picked him up at school.  

I asked him if he'd eaten. "I had a little fudge bar, but I'm pretty sure that's not really food," he reported. I snickered at this observation from a six-year-old kid from rural Alabama. So we headed out in search of some chicken.

Back at our house, he headed outside after he'd eaten. He loves for me to give him challenge runs and time his efforts. 

OK, you have to run down and touch the gate, circle the hemlock tree three times, rattle the chicken pen fence, touch the rotting stump and then back to the steps before I count to ten.

Then he's off like a shot. I adjust the speed of my counting so that he is always barely successful.  He will do this until his legs are rubbery. 

When the self competition was over, we sat on wrought-iron chairs, and drank cool water. The shadows were getting longer with dappled sunlight falling on plants at the end of the deck.

A hummingbird buzzed in to drink nectar from the bleeding heart that is still blooming. Without saying a word, we both stood statue still, watching the tiny bird feed.

When it zipped off, Jordan stepped over and leaned in to smell the tiny white flowers with red tongues. 

I told him Jilda's grandmother Mammie gave her that plant long before his mommy was born. He had to turn that over in his mind a while and I could tell it was hard for him to reconcile how old the plant was.

I know that Mammie is somewhere smiling down on the gift that keeps giving long after she was gone. 


Tuesday, September 09, 2014

At the end of the day

I wrote on the screen porch this evening. Clouds had moved in from the south blocking out the baking sun, so the porch with its ever-whirling ceiling fan kept things real.

The 30-minute Tibetan bell donged letting me know it was time to stand and stretch my legs.

A cup of ginger tea seemed like the right thing to do so I stepped into the kitchen and punched the hot-water button on the coffeemaker and drew a cup hot enough to scald the hair off a pig.

While standing there, a doe peered back at me from under the apple tree. She seemed to be saying - "Hello! It's suppertime." 

Putting on my flip flops, I walked down and fetched a few cups of corn and headed down to the feeding spot.

She huff her displeasured and ran to the end of the field and stopped to watch me.  I dumped out the corn, and headed back to the gate.

On the way back, the sun was having fun with our Zinnias which are surrounded by weeds now.

I snapped this picture with the Hipstamatic app on my phone and walked back inside so the deer could eat supper in peace.

 So, that's pretty much how my day ended. Hope you all had a good one.

Monday, September 08, 2014

Rain ~ My column from Sunday's paper

We've had long stretches without rain here. The days are hotter than a dragon’s tongue, and the nights aren't much cooler. These past few weeks, clouds to the west and east had drenched swaths of Alabama, but it was almost as if Empire was under an umbrella.

This past weekend when I checked the radar, it looked as if the day would be no different, but Jilda woke up with aching shoulders and wrists. As I wiped sleep from my eyes with the back of my fists, she rolled over and said, “It’s gonna rain today.” But as added insurance, I washed my truck.

We didn't have a lot planned for the day, but Jilda noticed that my shoes were beginning to look a little gnarly. The instant she held the right slipper up and peered at me through the hole, I knew we'd be shopping before the day was out. I'd actually rather have an ingrown toenail than shop for shoes, but I knew resistance would be futile.

Jilda is a professional shopper and had I objected, she would have reeled off reasons why the health of my feet, my gait, and indeed my happiness hinged on whether or not I made the right decision.

So, we loaded up and headed to town to shop for footwear.

Jilda’s sister Pat went with us. While the clerk fitted me for shoes, Jilda and Pat looked at women’s dresses, makeup, shoes, handbags, and window treatments. Thank God, it took long enough to get the right pair of shoes, that I didn't have to shop for curtains and pillow shams.

After buying a new pair of spiffy new shoes, my mood brightened, and I treated the girls to lunch at the new Cracker Barrel that opened out on the freeway.

We took a seat by the window and as we waited for food, we could see rain in the distance. It looked like fog, but you rarely see fog at noon in late August. The temps were in the 90s but off to the east, you could see cloud to cloud lightning.

It rained for a moment at the restaurant, but only long enough to turn the parking lot into a sauna. I wondered if the rain had passed us again.

When we got home, it was overcast and I could hear thunder off to the west. Soon I heard the rain coming. It started out like static on an AM radio with the dial slightly off station. When it came closer, we opened the door to the screen porch. The wind drove wisps of mist through the screen and onto my face. It was cool and refreshing.

A gentle rain after a drought makes the world seem like a kinder place.

At first, the rain puddled on the hard clay of the yard, but soon the drops began to soak into the roots of the water oak, and you could almost hear it sigh.

We had more showers that night. The temperature dropped enough to make it comfortable sleeping with the windows up.

We fell asleep to the sound of rain on a tin roof, with thunder in the distance. There is no better sleep aid.
Weeds at the edge of my garden

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