graves & gardens

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written August 9, 2011

Daily, I beat the dawn.  Demanding full control over my body, I jumped, ran & cantered on…  In those quiet markers of ordinary collegiate mornings, I often found myself running the perimeter of the cemetery resting directly across the street from my Alma mater.

Zealous youthful days purged themselves into quieter, sometimes darker occasions.  As a college student grappling with a deep, personal loss along with an intrigue into the world without, the world within, and the world beyond, I forged for places to tarry alone.  Please don’t misunderstand me.  I fully immersed myself into study groups, student government, and hilarious friends.

Yet, I had to snitch away from the curious, clever crowds.

Wondering.  Wandering.

Is there a hardiness, an eloquence within this bantering, busy      carcass of mine?

However, on some days, my unyielding spirit charged through the interior of this final domain.  Sometimes, I just drank in the silence.  {…heel.  toe.  heel. toe…}  Name after name… date after date… and dead flower after dead flower… I ran.  With only slivers of sunlight sifting through the lingering night, my extremities dripped with haste.  heal. toe.  Breathing steady. Thoughts jostled.
{…heel.  toe.  heel.  toe. heel.  toe.  heel. toe…}
 Other times, my ears filtered the sounds of a preselected cassette tape in my vintage Sony Walkman.  On one such occasion, I needed something new.  Kindly, my roommate had loaned me a mixed cassette tape with an variety of singers highlighted on it.  Quite a novelty of the time actually.  Unlike now, we select one song at a time to purchase for our MP3 idevices; then, we were obligated to meet and enjoy or endure an entire collection of a band or artist.
So, this particular cassette introduced a selection of single songs by different artists.  As I ran through this grave garden, one of those songs reached through the cool, misting haze.  My present moment seized and liberated all at once.

Church In The Field

The sky was one vast ceiling that vaulted out and on
Down to starry stain glassed windows of sunsets and of dawns
An out of doors cathedral day by day revealed
I remember church in the field
I remember church in the field
The rain fell like a sacrament on the alter of the soil
And mixed with sweat that fell from hands content with honest toil
The faith of spring saw harvest that seeds and earth would yield
I remember church in the field
I remember church in the field
There were blazing colors
There were lovely smells
I encountered passions my poetry can’t tell
Mere religion hadn’t tamed me yet, my reverence was all real
I remember church in the field
I prayed there without thinking
I worshiped from no cue
The flashing summer thunderstorm
And wild roses fresh with dew
And to mysteries and music always just concealed
I remember church in the field
I remember church in the field
There were blazing colors
There were lovely smells
I encountered passions my poetry can’t tell
Mere religion hadn’t tamed me yet, my reverence was all real
I remember church in the field
Written by Phill McHugh

The song… the stillness…the rhythms…  the rising resilience… demands a remembrance.  The remembrance demands a response.

My response… is a summons really…
“Down to starry stain glassed windows of sunsets and of dawns
An out of doors cathedral day by day revealed…” 
Worlds begin and end.  Gardens & Graves.  Days begin and end.  Graves & Gardens.  Yet, He alone always remains.  Reverence untamed.
{…heel.  toe.  heel.  toe. heel.  toe.  heel. toe.  heel.  toe.  heal.  toe.  heal.  toe.  heal. toe …}
 

 

“Though the fig tree does not bud
    and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
    and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
    and no cattle in the stalls,
 yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
    I will be joyful in God my Savior.

 The Sovereign Lord is my strength;
    he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
    he enables me to tread on the heights.”

Habakkuk 3:17-19 (NIV)

photo taken by Heidi L. Paulec on a lonely rural road in Illinois 2010 
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