On listening and learning and living

Listen. The cicadas are chanting. Their anthem has several parts, the refrain swelling with raucous confidence. I’m no expert, but even I know those males are announcing to the females that summer belongs to them… that they own the tree-tops and all of Texas and this blazing inferno named “July.” They sing with all the bravado of those who don’t know they’ll be gone in a few weeks, such a short-lived escape from the underworld. Or maybe they sing so wildly because they know they’ll be gone in a few weeks, such a short-lived escape from the underworld…

Listen. The wind is shifting and shuffling through the oak trees, like waves of sky crashing on shores of leaves as they play ocean together. Like a mother softly hushing her baby’s sobs. Like heaven exhaling grace over this whole place, because it hears our sobs…


we are dying

ND Wilson, Notes from the Tilt-a-Whirl

We are dying. We must die. The road is well traveled. We need not fear the dark, for the way is lit with Christmas lights.


Storms of All Kinds

It was far too dark for 10am, thunder booming like cannon fire. The rains made war against the earth; winds beating branch and leaf and limb without mercy. And for the first time in the last eight months we lost power at our house. Howls of delight resounded from the man-cubs who a) sensed this meant at least some degree of interruption in the school day, and who b) declared affectionately that it felt like Africa.

Precisely three things happened in the next ten minutes, two of which were fully normal and then a third which I found strangely unsettling. Firstly, the boys gathered all available bedding they could find and set to work constructing the finest fort their imagination and engineering could afford. Secondly, Paul and I grabbed our mugs of morning hope and fled to the covered porch in the back. We gave our eyes and ears to the rain and drank our coffee and reminisced about Africa, sitting there like two people who really do know that sometimes grownup work needs to be interrupted by coffee dates in the rain as much as man-cubs need to build forts.


extraordinary things

GK Chesterton, The Everlasting Man

We know… that extraordinary things do happen; that queer creatures support themselves in the empty air by beating it with fans of various fantastic shapes; that other queer creatures steer themselves about alive under a load of mighty waters; that other queer creatures walk about on four legs, and that the queerest creature of all walks about on two.


Deep as Night

Waters pour from charcoal skies,
drench the earth
defy the sun that warms and dries
labor for the birth
of a land where wet lies
deep as night.

Sarah Stehlik
April 2015


There Was a Garden

It was a garden…
where You broke through emptiness, brought forth life, birthed a son.
Spoken word divided meaning from nothingness.
Shared breath emptied air into lung, grace into heart, eternity into spirit.
It was a garden where You set rhythm to life.

And then we wandered…


you learn to love by loving…

Francis de Sales
You learn to speak by speaking,
to study by studying,
to run by running,
to work by working;
and just so, you learn to love by loving.
All those who think to learn in any other way deceive themselves.


The Most Important Thing About Soccer

We are down by a couple of goals, and I am on my feet even though I have a perfectly good folding chair sitting on the grass right behind me. It is soccer season, and we have waited long for it. It was Africa when my boys last had others to play the game with; soccer fans are not as plentiful here. But this pitch is gloriously grassy, and their patience has paid off, and time is running out if we’re going to come back and win this thing.

Soccer Feet

The other team is fast and disciplined. They are few in number; no subs for them. Unfortunately for us, this is irrelevant because they are all strong enough to play this whole thing out with force left over. One of our players- we’ll call him “Jack”- is bested by their striker. Again. And there goes another goal.



Rise and fall
watery wall,
you gather your forces-
stand up tall
and threaten all
as you pound the shores
with your thunderous call:


Life, believe, is not a dream…

Charlotte Bronte, from “Life”

Life, believe, is not a dream
So dark as sages say;
Oft a little morning rain
Foretells a pleasant day.
Sometimes there are clouds of gloom,
But these are transient all;
If the shower will make the roses bloom,
O why lament its fall?