Thursday, May 23, 2013

God Bless Us All and Thank Those who gave their Lives

The Symbol

Every Memorial Day I hang the flag that draped my stepfather’s coffin, every year except for one. That year I did not look forward to the holiday as I had in the past. I did not hang the flag on Memorial Day, for I had hung it on the front porch on September 11th   of the preceding year and had yet to take it down.
That September 11th was a nightmare of a day, and my heart ached as I watched the flag unfurl in the breeze. The reason I hung the flag was sad. The reason I owned it was sad. They both dealt with death.  The flag hung through a complete cycle of the seasons and throughout that year I would look out the window and see the flag twisted into a tight spiral. It seemed appropriate that Old Glory wound around upon itself since my feelings were also twisted tight within me.
There are no words for how I felt. It was as if my ability to express emotion was shattered in the explosions that shook our nation that September. I stared at the tangled flag and could not summon the energy needed to set it free. There was a void inside me. The internal essence of the United States of America, that treasured part of my identity, had been damaged and I was afraid. I grieved.
Then one day as I stared at the flag the wind changed and this special piece of cloth unfurled and snapped in the breeze as if irritated at having its independence stifled. In a wild, daring dance of red, white and blue it cavorted, made me grin in spite of my fear. I watched it and my heart relaxed, the pain eased. I smiled deep inside for the first time in months. You can’t kill a good idea, I realized.
The spirit of America is meant to be free, not twisted and confined. We are a people who dance upon the winds of our dreams. So today I will take a long moment to thank my stepfather for the flag that lay across his coffin. Then I will go outside, hang his flag, place my hand over my heart and salute the vision that symbolizes our country. I will twirl around, synchronize my movements with those of Old Glory and I will celebrate the ones who released me from fear. They gave so much for me. The least I can do is honor Memorial Day for them.

Always and Forever

A rainy, read a book kinda day outside my French doors. Of course, that won't stop me from slogging to the barn, throwing down hay, distributing grain and filling water buckets as horses drip over the fence, ears pricked waiting, always. I can see one from here trying to send me mental messages. Will he go in the run-in and eat hay? No. He'll stand there, watching me look outside, while he looks inside, those big brown eyes and quivering muzzle saying, "Feed me. Never mind that I have green, green grass, a dry place full of hay. I want grain." I give him my best glare. He doesn't even flinch. This staring contest could go on forever. Guess it's time to go find the rain gear. Time to take care of the creatures I love. Always.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

When the Tornado Hit Oklahoma

Outside my French doors, the landscape pulses with new life, swollen with the ripeness that signals the health of our Earth. My mind shifts to images telegraphed over airways in the past two days, stark smears upon the surface of Oklahoma, lives swept away in a fury of nature. Having seen the destruction of a tornado up close, though I personally wasn't affected, I sense the pain of sharp shards under the feet of the survivors, the raw wounds that will leave lifetime scars on those living this nightmare in the Midwest. 

We cannot know what all they deal with as they shift through the rubble of their lives. It seems so little to simply hold them close in my thoughts and prayers, but I remember survivors eyes when we showed up to help patch a roof, when they heard of an offered prayer. The people of Oklahoma need even the little things to move forward. May God bless and keep them through this difficult time. May we hold them tight and continue to let them know they are in our hearts.