She stands about fourteen hands tall with a whisky-barrel-colored coat of velvet, and a white striped forehead from eyes to nose. Her pose is strong and steady; her eyes fixed and curious; her breath like steam from a locomotive. The morning sun illuminates her form like a yellow halo. This mare stands like a majestic statue overlooking hallowed ground. She patrols her triangular parcel of pasture with grandeur. Even her grazing is graceful. She is the equivalent of an equine Joan of Arc: brawny, brave and beautiful.I fell in love with this girl the first time I laid eyes on her a couple of years ago. It was winter then, as it is now. Snow covered the ground. As I passed by the pasture and noticed her, I stopped, just as I did yesterday. On both occasions I got out of the Jeep with camera in hand. Then, she came to me and we talked a moment. This time she kept her distance, but was unafraid…she simply wanted to continue grazing. A freight train passed behind her and a caravan of cars in front, yet she didn’t flinch. I guess we all become accustomed to our surroundings. I don’t know about you, but I think she looks the same now as two years ago. Lovely, isn’t she? I think I’ll call her Brown Sugar.
I tried so hard, my dear, to show that you’re my every dream Yet you’re afraid each thing I do is just some evil scheme A memory from your lonesome past keeps us so far apart Why can’t I free your doubtful mind and melt your cold, cold heart?
There was a time when I believed that you belonged to me But now I know your heart is shackled to a memory The more I learn to care for you, the more we drift apart Why can’t I free your doubtful mind and melt your cold, cold heart?
Hank Williams, the legendary country singer, wrote and recorded this song, Cold Cold Heart, in 1951 (he was 27 and died two years later). Rather than recite all four stanzas, I copied the first and the last. The two middle stanzas simply reveal more about the confusion and heartache expressed in these lyrics. As I gazed at the melting ice from our trees this past Saturday morning, I grabbed my camera and went outside to take several shots. For some reason this song-which I haven’t heard in years-came to mind. I suppose it may have been the cold temperatures finally warming and the melting ice which caused this song to arise to my consciousness. After some self-evaluation, I asked myself how do the lyrics of a sad ballad correlate to a beautiful act of nature…for it was a grand sight to witness the frozen tree branches shed their layer of ice and drip with the new life of cool water. The melting ice glittered like diamonds under spotlights!Slowly, almost imperceptibly, I began to understand the link. There is beauty all around us, but at the same time there can be ugliness, pain and sorrow. Paradoxical, isn’t it? Joy and pain, beauty and the beast, clarity and confusion-all can co-exist. Where love is found, hate is not far behind. Where peace abounds, conflict can be just around the corner. And where some relationships nurture and grow, others can wilt and die on the vine. Such is the result of a fallen world. But, alas, our lives don’t have to exist in a state of bitterness, heartache, failure or confusion. True, these are our realities at times, but they don’t have to define us. I am not advocating that we ignore the negatives for that is wishful thinking. As difficult as it can be at times we must face the trials head on, hang on to an anchor of hope (for me this anchor is Christ) and endure. Strive to find beauty in this world, even when you feel abandoned, are depressed or lonely, are being seriously misunderstood or may be grieving. Light will shine again; hold on and wait for the melt.
Good morning! I had the privilege of witnessing another stunning sunrise earlier today. In the eastern sky was the sun peaking above the horizon and to the west the moon was fading down towards the opposite horizon. I wondered how I could have captured both with one photograph, but lacked the knowledge, the equipment, and most importantly, the perspective, as both were approximately 165 degrees apart in our midwestern sky. Morning has broken, like the first morning.
Blackbird has spoken, like the first bird.
Praise for the singing, praise for the morning,
Praise for them springing fresh from the Word.
Sweet the rain’s new fall, sunlight from heaven.
Like the first dewfall, on the first grass.
Praise for the sweetness of the wet garden,
Sprung in completeness where His feet pass.
Mine is the sunlight, mine is the morning.
Born of the one light Eden saw play.
Praise with elation, praise every morning;
God’s recreation of the new day.
Morning has broken, like the first morning.
Blackbird has spoken, like the first day.
Praise for the singing, praise for the morning.