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Monday, August 29, 2011

A Place of Our Own

Oh to be hiding in the burrow weeds.  Just me and my brother, like mice snuggling in our cozy grass tunnel out here in the field. 

“Mike-y!  Steve-y!” 
“Shhh!  That’s mom again.  She’ll never find us.  And besides, we don’t want to go in.”
So long ago.  Yet I can still smell that comforting grass.  And see Steve, his adorable smile illuminating our burrow.  Now, fifty years later---just when I needed it---I found such a place of my own again.  Like our burrow weeds, how you get there matters as much as the place itself.
When stars yet beckoned, I rolled out of bed.   Ah, I love to look upon Linda’s sleeping face:  so peaceful  Not easy to keep it that way in our one room cabin.  Mouse-silent, I open the refrigerator and find my prune juice (I am 55).  
Cradling my tea thermos, laptop on my back, I click the door behind me and float beneath the shadowy trees to my dew streaked Prius.  Headlights lead me down the hill, past Sandy Dietz (I know she’s drinking her coffee in her breakfast window) to our driveway.  Even before I turn, I feel the thrill.  Misty dawn streaking red upon the valleys.  With something near reverence, I approach the barnwood clad shed. 
I push open the side door and peer inside.  Just enough light leaking through the little windows to see my way across the gravel floor without tripping over the tractor’s 3pt hitch.   Fortunately, my feet know the way up the wooden stairs, each step darker.  Last step.  My right hand probes the rough, unfinished wall.  There it is:  thin, cold steel.  Snap!  Snap!  Down come the locks.  Creak!  I swing the window open.  Ah, the moist breeze upon my face.  And light!  Golden dawn, fresh from the fields, now entering. 

Turning around, I can see it:  my chair, a welcoming on the other end of the room.  

But wait, the ritual is not yet complete.  The best remains.  I squeeze between my chair and the boxes lining the short walls and find again the thin, cold steel.  Snap!  Snap!  I hold my breath as I swing the big hayloft door wide. 
Ho!  My!  Gosh!  The Land!  Fog blankets the distant pond.  Leaves of grass, gray yet in their beds, shiver with the promise of day.  The promise of life!  Hope, sometimes stifled by the night, now rekindled in all its glory.  And here I stand, looking out upon it all from this, this hayloft door, this place of our own.
Like the burrow weeds, the hayloft gives me so much.
Especially solitude.  Unlike Superman’s, my place is not a fortress.  Rather it welcomes.  Not only me in the morning but the Land, dawn, the bluebirds, and you on that glad day you arrive.  For all indeed are welcomed, welcomed into solitude if so desired.  For with solitude comes so much. 
Perspective for one.  “My house is made of sand, isn’t it, Steve?” The excavator, just getting used to my off-the-beaten-path talk,  looked at me crossed eyed.  “I’ve been watching from the hayloft, truckload after truckload of sand dumped and tamped into the foundation of our house. 
Last week, I thought my house would be made of concrete.  But if we were to pour all this sand on one pan of some gigantic scale and  all the concrete on the other, which way would the balance tilt?”
“Never thought about it before,” said Steve.  I could see the wheels turning.  Admit it or not, he enjoyed this perspective.  “Let me see.  Last week we poured 9 loads of concrete, at 9 yards a load.  Today we backfilled 24 loads of sand at 12 to 14 yards per load.  Concrete weighs a little more:  3000 pounds a yard.  Sand is 2700.”  Smoke rolled out of Steve’s ears.    “Figure 500,000 pounds of sand.  Way heavier.  Put that in your blog.”
I don’t know why for sure, but this place of my own also brings courage.  Courage to be as me as I can be.  To write this blog.  To pursue my calling---my novel, a vision of hope---illuminating the veiled wall that separates humanity from divine destiny and  inspiring a generation to tear it down.  To let words, guiding images, take shape. To dare to not only discover but to bring the vision forth.  Absolutely crazy?  Yes!  Absolutely engaging?  Yes!
So beware if ever you come to the hayloft, or discover a place of your own. You never know where that cozy tunnel of solitude might take you.
“Mike-y!  Steve-y!”
I wonder who’s calling us now?

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