Thursday, March 29, 2012

Butterfly Dance

While in Georgia with the Pilot's family, we went to the Butterfly Pavilion in the Callaway Gardens, which is where the pictures– and the thoughts behind this post– come from. 

Faerie flash radiance
      And the colors bolt
The wings are touched with rainbow and I feel them flutter close
This is how to see Creation enfolded in flaming fancy
Whose finger fashioned feathers wispy as these?

Camera clicks, but dull technology cannot keep up;
The dance defies capture, feeble attempts by amateur hand
The best way is to stand, breathless
Breathe beauty winging round the face
Fantasize: will they light on an outstretched hand?

Does the dance make music?
The colors sing praise of the Painter
Butterfly dance into the Glory
God's kiss in the rainbow wings.

Friday, March 23, 2012


Clouds pressed in and wept and I took the Pilot to the tiny municipal airport– the Marsupial Airport we call it, picturing koalas and kangaroos running security– and left him there.

I've known this was coming for months now, and it's only a month, not a long separation, not by military standpoint. Fourteen months of being engaged is still a fresh imprint on the soft foam of memory, six hundred miles for six hundred thousand minutes, hearts struggling to learn to beat in rhythm with the distance between them. Only forty-one thousand minutes, this time. The heartbeats have had almost three months of togetherness to learn how to synchronize.

The things to be thankful for pile up like feathers in a soft pillow to soften the slap of being alone:

~ I am not lying awake at night, worrying for his safety. In survival training there is no question of survival; they will all be just fine. 
~ The Pilot's dates were pushed back from the original so he did not have to miss his only brother's wedding, and two weeks ago the Pilot was the groomsman and the handsomest of them all. I watched the two joke with each other, brothers, and then the Pilot pulled me out to dance at the reception and I was so glad I was in his arms dancing, not sitting and wishing he was there. 
~ Friends and prayers surround us both, I know, and Angela invited me over today. Months ago friends here were still a hoped-for, a wonder-if, and now I revel in Angela's sweet spirit, wondering how we could never have known each other before, and thinking that if not for Wichita Falls we never would have.
~ Downton Abbey– the long-hoarded treasure, dwelling in anticipation in the Netflix instant-queue– for much as the Pilot loves me I still know better than to ask him to watch anything faintly resembling Jane Austen– something to keep me company at night. My mother suggested I save designing our wedding album till now, too. 

So many ways that this apart-time is not as hard as it could be.

But still.

Introverts, both of us; the Pilot and I slipped upon marriage into the rhythm of each other's lives with few missteps, being together so natural, and he and I don't even have to talk or do anything, just me working on homework and he reading across the room and the heart of our lives beats for both of us. Take us apart and the rhythm is off. "It is not good that the man should be alone," God-words, a divine declaration that loneliness is unnatural, even in the perfection of Eden. If Eve had been created first I'm sure the same would have been said about woman, because I am woman and even after two days I know, this is not how I was meant to be.

Yet God gives grace for how it is. Comfort to know that. And comfort to know that the loneliness is legitimate, that this is the temporary not-good, and the good is being together.

Twenty-eight days.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Old Things

I had never been to Alabama, and then I plunged in head first, into an old farmhouse and a new house, joined together by one wrap-around porch, a linking of the old with the new. The stillness was the stillness of humid-weather bugs and soft warm air where the city is far away and old things move you away from busy-ness and slow the pace of your movements, your speech, your thoughts.

The story of the Pilot's grandparents' farm is an old story. I sat in the little front room, the scent of old hardwood floors curling through my nose to some relaxation trigger in my brain: the scent pleads with you to come and sit and be still.

It is these houses that have stories to tell. The worn cloth-bound books on the shelves, the paintings of flowers on the walls done by the brush of a great-aunt, pig figurines scattered about the kitchen, black marks on the hardwood floor in the living room where the great-grandparents' bed lived before an additional bedroom was built. The Pilot and I slept in a little bedroom that children long since grown slept in; I brushed my teeth in a little bathroom where the light over the mirror had a pull-chain.  

My father-in-law took the Pilot and I on a tour around the woods of the farm in a Kubota utility vehicle. The wheels gobbled up branches and pine needles and I sat in the Pilot's lap and hung on with one hand while we left the dragonflies behind. In the woods we stopped and looked at the creek. Every step crunched pine needles and dead leaves under my feet, and I reminded myself that all the bugs living in them couldn't eat much of me so there's no point to be worried.

 A yellow flower appeared in the leaves and it was a sunshine gift, just for me. I am a city-girl through and through, scared of the huge yellow-jackets buzzing sluggishly in the unusual warmth of March, skittish with other types of bugs, but here was the flower to remind me that gifts are everywhere and that humanity has lived with the bugs for most of time.

The terrain-hungry little vehicle jostled out of the woods and onto a red clay road that my father-in-law told us was probably hundreds of years old. Centuries. Did early colonists carve out the road on horses and carts? Did a settler stare into the southern jungle of trees and clouds like I did and even then feel the age of the land like a deep sigh exhaled?