Time will tell

Went on vacation last week and upon returning, a discovery
that only the female hummers come to my feeders now.
Quite possibly, the fiery-throated males have migrated
to central Mexico or Panama. —How I miss them.
These females are suddenly voracious drinkers…preparation?

Previously, the sugar water in the feeders lasted several days until I had to change it to keep it from fermenting in the high heat, i.e, avoiding drunk hummingbirds. Now the feeders are drained in a day and half. Males migrate first…maybe these females really are stocking up. I have also read that in some parts of North Carolina, hummingbirds occasionally remain in residence all year. Time will tell…in the meantime, the feeders stay out until I see them no more.

I do

Do you remember
how it stormed
on that long-ago morning
and your mother cried
because it was raining
on your wedding day?

I do.

Do you remember
that the ceremony
was over
in ten minutes
(my aunt looked at her watch)?

I do.

Do you remember
how hot it was during
the eternal photographing
(especially having to wear
a black tux with tails
in August)
and how much you hated
that part?

I do.

Do you remember
my going-away outfit
that my mother made
from sky-blue cotton
and how I wore
a big straw hat
with a big white bow
and that just before
we said our good-byes
she took off
her double-strand
pearlescent beads
and put them
around my neck?

I do.

Do you remember
as we drove away
from family and home
and childhood
toward all our new tomorrows
that the rain had stopped
and the sun had come out
and the clouds pillared
up from the horizon before us
like backlit rosettes
on wedding cake
and you said it was
all in celebration of
our just being married?

I do.

I remember it all
nearly four decades
two sons and
two granddaughters
later.
Even the clouds
in their radiant array
seem to remember
today.
While marriage
is sometimes
more blister
than bliss
I can tell you this:
I lift my eyes
to the eternal skies
with a heart
full of wonder
and gratitude
that ours has grown
deeper and richer
each day
since we vowed
I do.

The cover of our wedding album:
“God has created your spirits with wings to fly in the spacious firmament of Love and Freedom.”
—Kahlil Gibran

Excerpt from our wedding album, in a space commemorating the first anniversary.
I wrote, at age twenty-one: “We can’t believe it’s been a year since we’ve been married, but it’s been a happy one and a good one and God has indeed blessed us well – may He bless us for many years to come and let our marriage grow deeper and richer each day.”

—God has.

Tongue of hummingbird

“At a feeder, a hummingbird extrudes and withdraws its tongue thirteen times a second. Hummingbirds do not sip nectar; they lap it. The tongue is forked, like a snake’s, with absorbent fringes along the edge of each fork…The tongue is so long that, when retracted, it extends back to the rear of the skull and then curls around to lie on top of the skull.”

—Sy Montgomery, The Hummingbirds’ Gift: Wonder, Beauty, and Renewal on Wings

Tongue of hummingbird outside my window.

The only way I can get such a photo is by videoing and going back, frame by frame, to select a still shot.

Utterly mesmerizing, these tiny creatures and the way they are designed. They have the largest brain and heart of any bird in relation to its size, plus a skullful of tongue.

—Wild.

Immersed in Van Gogh

Let’s not forget that the little emotions are the great captains of our lives
and we obey them without realizing it.
– Vincent van Gogh

3D bust of the artist with light and shadows playing across his face

I spent a short while immersed in the world of Van Gogh (visiting Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience) and what I come away with is profound sense of contrasts…

-glories of nature against dark anguish of the human soul
-wholesome serenity of pastoral life against psychosis and extreme loneliness
-wonder at scientific evidence that a man who used so much color so brilliantly was likely color-blind

I stood in a dark room illuminated by his swirling sunflowers, floating bursts of fiery light. This is the flower most associated with happiness; the tortured artist loved them. His doctor-friend planted them on his grave.

I took a virtual journey from the bedroom at Arles past the bright wheatfields where crows lazily took flight, through the peaceful woods (Van Gogh loved long walks in the woods) into the village where fireflies danced around lampposts, to the riverside of the Rhone, where the stars gleamed above… the journey ended with rising into the stars and landing back in the bedroom at Arles where the floor, walls, bed, stand with pitcher and basin, straw hat, and strewn paint supplies materialized around me. I know Van Gogh’s famous quote about painting his dream but the quote that lingers is this: Let’s not forget that the little emotions are the great captains of our lives and we obey them without realizing it.

You are so right, Vincent. So right.

And so we paint our lives.

Immersed in swirling sunflowers

3D rendering of “The Vestibule,” in the Saint Paul De Mausole Asylum

Short clip: Scenes of Van Gogh’s self-portraits set to music

Milestone

Happy Birthday to the Baby Boy
a gogyoshi

You have been in the world
for twenty-five years
exactly 9131 days
and I am grateful
for every single one

So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.
Psalm 90:12

For this child I prayed, and the Lord has granted me my petition that I made to him. 
Therefore I have lent him to the Lord. As long as he lives, he is lent to the Lord.
1 Samuel 1:27-28

Thoughts while watching an Orson Welles marathon

Intense
Suspense
Plot twists
Narrative shifts
Brilliance
Resilience
Versatility
Palpability
Haunting
Daunting
Iconic tableaus
Ironic shadows
Magic art
Tragic heart
Antihero
Chiaroscuro
Life is hall-of-mirrors histoire
In gorgeous film noir

Orson Welles in The Third Man, 1949. John Irving. CC BY-SA

I’ve loved old movies since childhood but haven’t seen many of Orson Welles’ beyond Citizen Kane and The Magnificent Ambersons. Got caught up in watching The Stranger, The Third Man, and The Lady from Shanghai... I guess you could say I fell under Welles’ deep, dark spell. A magical respite from the sweltering, suffocating August day.

Nurturing the summer soul: Spiritual journey

Peace

Last day at the beach
I wake far too early
but I make the coffee anyway
and take a cup to the top deck

I sit in the chair
facing east
drinking in
the deepness
of solitude
the blessedness
of silence

Earth stirs a little
and sighs
like a baby in its sleep

Just ahead, high over the sea
Venus glitters and winks

I am the bright and morning star
I know you are

My waiting soul
cannot think
of anything else it wants
or needs
as black silhouettes
of pelicans
fly soundlessly by
against the sky
pinkening with light

Sunrise
signifying the end
of night

My view this morning: Venus over the Atlantic just before sunrise

Pelicans, while not in this particular shot, are plentiful here. As the sky grew lighter they appeared in silhouette, gliding gracefully against it. The pelican is an ancient symbol for Christ, often depicted in Christian art.

Revelation 22, the last chapter of the Bible, references the River and Tree of Life, the healing of the nations, the end of night, and the return of Christ with the words “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last…I am the root and offspring of David, and the bright and morning star(13; 16).

The best I can do is to describe this morning scene. The sense of peace, so often fleeting or not to be found when Earth is wide awake and churning, was honestly too deep for words. I shall hold these moments in my mind for returning to when my soul needs more nurturing, long past summer.

—with thanks to Carol Varsalona for the theme and for hosting the Spiritual Journey writers on this first Thursday in August.

Curious connection

gogyoshi: a Japanese poem with a title and five lines

The Curious Connection of Seahorses and Hummingbirds
(Two of My Favorite Creatures)

One is the slowest creature in the sea
the other, the most agile in the air.
One armor-plated, one gorgeously plumed;
what could they possibly have in common?
Fins and wings beating at the same speed.

What the sea teaches

“The sea does not reward those who are too anxious, too greedy, or too impatient. To dig for treasures shows not only impatience and, greed, but lack of faith. Patience, patience, patience, is what the sea teaches. Patience and faith. One should lie empty, open, choiceless as a beach—waiting for a gift from the sea.”

—Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Gift From the Sea

Lindbergh’s words come back to me as I contemplate the frenzy of living and the pull of making the most of every moment, especially on vacation (how often do we say we need a vacation after returning from our vacation?). Life is not always a matter of doing, of endlessly digging for treasure…but carving out time just to be and to see what treasures may come. For they will. And we will be far less likely to miss them.