Mound View Cemetery – my happy place

Mound View Cemetery

Long have I walked among the stones

They taught me how to read

I rode my bike along the roads

With Daddy guiding me

 

He took me up to “Dirt Bomb Hill”

We played with clods of soil

He led us to the old oak tree

Where squirrels often toil

 

Some days rounding the last bend

Un-pocket chosen stones

Racing, kicking them along

While beneath lay silent bones

 

The yard was always peace to me

Until sweet Caroline

Baptized in holy water

Drank communion wine

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A Puzzling Secret Message

As an avid reader and hobbyist writer, I’ve come to realized that my everyday life is mundane and extraordinary at the same time.

No, I don’t go on dragon killing adventures in Middle Earth in real life, but some days I escape lava, disable evil robots, and shrink to two inches high – while babysitting of course.

I’m not the heiress to an enormous fortune, nor am I in a poorhouse washing bottles.

A novel about my life would be downright boring, because I avoid conflict at all costs, and any good storyteller knows that conflict drives a story!

This December, however, my life became a little more exciting. A mysterious letter with two stamps arrived from my “Secret Santa”.

Now, I had signed up for a Secret Santa letter writing thing with some of my writer friends so I knew something would be coming, but the enchantment and mystery only increased from there.

When my first letter arrived, I filmed myself opening it, and I had to continue after that.

I have come to realize that I have very strange reactions when I am excited about something.

I guess it all started back when I was 10 (or at least that’s when it first was documented).

I opened what was at the time my favorite movie:

a recording of Stratford, Ontario Theatre’s “The Pirates of Penzance”.

I am known as a very enthusiastic person…if you haven’t picked up on that already.

The second time around for my puzzle letter, I had my friend and Mom help me out (with some commentary from Dad).

And then lastly we come to the end of my puzzling saga in which I whip out several musical and movie references.

(Those of you who know me personally know that 87% of my vocabulary is quotation. )

This was a wonderful pre-Christmas journey! My life doesn’t have too much excitement – except for the excitement I bring into it myself – so this was a fantasmigorical thing to look forward to!

Now, whenever I feel that my life is uneventful, I can re-watch my excitement and wonder.

I’m Dreaming of a Brown Christmas

I’m sure good, old Bing had no idea how many children’s dreams he would crush with his long-beloved song.

Forget the dancing sugarplums, I dreamed up white fluff covering our minivan and sidewalk Christmas Eve.

Many a Christmas morn, I tore open my daisy curtains only to find dead, brown grass on the front lawn.

We occasionally get snow for Christmas, but we almost always have snow for Valentine’s Day. We even have snow on some Easters. So I guess it’s a question of whether we want snow celebrating Jesus’s birthday or the day He rose from the dead.

I know a lot of people who dislike snow. They may even use the word “hate” to describe their emotions, but I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt.

Think of it this way.

Particles of hydrogen and oxygen are floating upwards and collecting themselves into an enormous assembly – also known as a cloud. That cloud gets cold and the hydrogens and oxygens huddle together.

Then, when the cloud just can’t take it anymore, the huddles start to flake off and hurdle down to the ground. The first brave ones dissolve into the dead, brown floor, but the next troops stand and bear the weight of the reinforcements.

Together they concenter, unifying with the association that – yes –

They. Are. Snow.

And together they reflect the sun as infinitesimal prisms, blinding eyes and warming hearts.

Isn’t that remarkable?

Wouldn’t you dream of that?

The Living Tree

A tear of blood and water fell onto my chest dying the white muslin. A reddening pool spread across my blouse as if I’d been shot. As if it were my own blood.

I held the little head beside my heaving heart and looked forward instead of down. Along the path children sat dusting their eyes.

Their burning eyes. Their bleeding eyes. The dust made tears. The tears washed the dust and the blood.

None of the children cried out. They only cried with their eyes.

I stared forward at The Father’s hut.

He would have the answer. He always had the answer.

The setting sun danced between the branches of the Living Tree. I stomped my feet on the rag mat and tapped the base of the door with one bare foot.

“Who?”

“Sha, Father.”

The door opened inward.

I ducked inside holding the little head close.

“So you’ve come.”

“Yes, Father.”

“I couldn’t help the others.”

“I will help the others.”

He furrowed the white bushes above his clear, clean eyes.

“You?”

“Yes.” I laid the child before his leather knees. “I will taste the Living Tree.”

“For her?”

I sat straight and stared at him.

“For all.”

He stared into my clean eyes.

“You know – “

“I know.”

He stood hobbling out. The wet, pink muslin stuck to my skin. He returned with a four-petaled flower.

I took it, stepped out, and tasted it in the light of the setting sun. Their blood was now my blood.

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Lonely Postcard

{A dear, dear friend of mine gave me a story box as a graduation present. It has old books, miniature candelabras, baby sneakers, and among other things old post cards. My story box is for inspiration. Here is my first inspiration from my story box.}

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58 Pillars.

I’ve counted them hundreds of times.

Arches, arches, arches – plants in a walk-through garden.

I see the stark white sky and the deep darkness of the ribbed ceiling.

To the eye, the pillars shrink off to the deadened left side.

“Palermo – Chiostro Monreale”

I don’t know where it is, but I long to be there.

The plants rustle in the wind – or maybe the stagnant air presses down and one retreats under the pillars for shade.

I have held this card more times than there are pillars.

I glide my finger across the worn back side.

The blank side.

If I had any money, I’d go to “Palermo – Chiostro Monreale”

and send myself this postcard.

Earth Out My Window

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“Hey diddy dee,

A kitty’s in the tree,

Don’t climb high,

You’ll skin your knee.”

Her breath blew into my hair.

“Iym puddle diddy,

Hey diddy dee.

The sun sets low

On the big blue sea.”

She swayed with the words in an even, slow cadence.

“High puddle

Low puddle

Hey diddy dee,

Tell me true,

Do you love me?”

Her soft lips pressed the top of my head. Warm air from her nose rustled my hair.

“Some day, Xavier,” she said, holding me close. “You will see a tree. Maybe a kitty cat too.”

“Hmm,” I said.

“Yes, you’ll like kitty cats.” She rubbed her cheek against my head. “They say, ‘Meow meow’, and they have hair all over.”

“Emm hmm!” I said.

“Oh, yes, they are very soft.” She shifted her weight and turned us away from the window.

“Eh ahh!” I protested. I wanted to see the Earth.

“Now, Xavy, you know its time for moon rise.”

Yes.

I knew.

I knew everything.

“High puddle

Low puddle

Hey diddy dee,

Tell me true,

Do you love me?”

A Body of Cement

I’ve never seen cement poured and spread before today. I found it fascinating.

I stood by in my color splashed, zebra stripe rain boots ready for action. Men from my church laughed at me and joked around pretending to shovel the wet gravel into my boots.

Then they put me to work.

I wielded a mini sledgehammer to tap the air pockets out of the wood rimed driveway, I hosed off the tools, and then I sank my boots into the grey quicksand spreading and pulling the cement to the edges.

As the last truck with red and white stripes left, we stood admiring the filled driveway – just as the rain started.

Before today, the thought had never crossed my mind that the Body of Christ is kind of like cement. We are messy, we come from different places, and we have to be pushed into place. Individually one piece of gravel doesn’t do much, but by sticking together with others of different shapes and sizes we can accomplish quite a job.

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(Photo taken by my brother Ben Haws.)