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Like a cunning lover, last week’s snowfall wooed autumn’s dismantling within the rigors of winter: Leafy branches sported white overcoats; spindly shrubs stooped in supplication; fence posts peaked with medieval turrets. A solitary cardinal flashed toward a neighbor’s woodshed, then alighted and preened like a celebrity caught within the blitz of paparazzi. From a snow mound poked the handle of a red wagon. Flurries outlined swirls of breezes that fashioned ghostly images upon the asphalt street and tousled the green muffler flapping around the snowman’s neck nearby. Only random cars moved about.

All was still: Its pregnant hush evoked an OH! The first morning of creation must have felt like that.

Such OHs burst with silence, trip breathing, balloon joy, and open onto the companioning Sacred within our depths. Yet a tinge of sadness lingers in their wake, such OHs! so fleeting and evanescent. Would that we could hold onto them. That being said, we can still watch for them and give thanks when experienced.

And this year, do watch for OHs! around Thanksgiving tables, graced with family and friends. Go beyond well-worn traditions and bring something new: a new dish, a new prayer, a new listening.

“Bidden or not bidden, God is present.”

Happy Thanksgiving!

 

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“I can’t!” says a towheaded three-year-old, leaning upon the handlebars of her blue bike and looking up at her mother. Her sneakers grip the asphalt path in the park, alive with birdsong. Ahead, breezes tease the leafing weeping willow like a violinist tuning his strings before a performance.

“Oh, but you can!” says her mother steadying the seat of her bike supported by training wheels. “You’ve done so well—this first time out. And look how far you’ve come—And we’re so close to home.”

She looks over his shoulder, then slowly grins. “Yeah!”

Is it not all about balance? Managing to schlep through challenges whenever and however they come?

In a deeper sense, it seems like life’s developmental challenges also require “training wheels:” parents, teachers, coaches, mentors, pastors, supervisors, counselors, doctors, lawyers—the list goes on. The secret is to know whom to approach when swamped by yet another glitch. Only with its resolution do we grow and become more helpful to others.

Indeed, such daily discipline enables practiced souls to rely upon Spirit of Truth to steady their spirits and lead them to their ultimate home. It works that way.

 

 

Ahead of me on the asphalt path leading toward the playground at Broughton Park, other walkers paused, looked down, moved a few feet, again paused and looked down. Some scratched their heads and smiled at their partners. On the slope next to us, winds frolicked tips of Missouri Honeysuckle beginning to leaf like a newborn’s hair. Empty swings pumped as if by phantom children.

Curiosity piqued my steps. I moved along, then stopped. Suddenly, the path writhed with sayings chalked in five-inch squares, some horizontal, others vertical, still others parallel with the path. Thomas Edison reminded us that “Many opportunities are missed because of being dressed in overalls and requiring work.” And Albert Einstein’s, “Logic takes you from Point A to Point B, but imagination takes you everywhere.”

Like those ambling in front of me, I took my turn, ingesting wisdom sayings from Socrates to Virginia Wolff to Helen Kelleher to Gandhi. We were in excellent company. During the rest of my walk, I wondered about the artist who had played with chalk and enlarged our worlds.

Then rains came and washed away the enlightenment of centuries. Broughton Park took on its accustomed ambiance.

A few days later, I returned to the park, empty save for a mother swinging her toddler and her preschooler sitting on the slide. In the distance, a young girl in a turquoise shirt and Capri pants crouched over the path, working on something in front of her.

Then, again at my sneakers, new wisdom emerged from Meister Eckhart: “Be ready at all times for the gifts of God, and always for new ones.”

Delight spirited my steps, moving me through more centuries of wisdom, surrounded by blue cartoon figures. When next I looked up, the girl was gone.

 

 

colored pavement chalk

 

Available on Amazon

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