Tiny White Flowers

Tiny White Flowers

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Psalm 91

This version of Psalm 91 was sent to me in the morning of the day the bear arrived at our house.

 *   *   *

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and Peace to you.

                  Psalm 91

If you totally trust God,
          you're already in heaven.
You're inside God,
         and nobody can take you out.

God stands between you and what scares you,
         between you and all the dangers.
Like a mother bear,
         she's got your back,
something serious.
         Don't worry.
Spend no fear on the terrorist from afar
         or the cancer from within,
the fretting that wakes you in the night,
         or the bridge you know will collapse.

Yes, suffering closes in around you at times,
         and tragedy walks your neighborhood.
But this is not the title of your story,
         not your end.
Learn to see with clear eyes
         how love never loses.
When you live inside the Beloved,
         and the world is a house that is God,
evil can't define you, can't change you,
         can't find you at all.

The Creator of the world fills it
         with those who bear her love to you.
They hold you in their invisible arms,
         they secretly catch you when you fall.

So stand up to what overpowers,
         don't flinch from what scares you.
You will meet monsters, learn their names
         and tame them with love.

Love says, “Here. Come settle in my heart.
         Nothing can take you from me.
When your soul cries out, don't worry—
         I'm already holding you.
In your worst trouble, I'm with you.
         I set you free. I honor you.
I give you the joy of life lived deeply.
         You will shine in me forever.”

Deep Blessings,
Pastor Steve

Copyright © Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

Deep Blessings,
Pastor Steve

Copyright © Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

Word Association

  1. Return ::  to a state of normalcy; to a child for a day
  2. Alarms :: bread in the toaster, still in the toaster
  3. State ::  Anxious
  4. Picture frame ::  Shell waiting
  5. Wreath ::  Blanket
  6. Arrest ::  Those who run bear farms
  7. Sincere ::    Well-wishers
  8. Nathan ::  a friend of my son
  9. Bag :: ball and chain; a necessity
  10. Arched ::  A spine out of imprint
Word Association, from : Unconscious Mutterings

So, the words are provided weekly from the above site, and the reactions are mine.  Each week 10 words are given for you to "answer."

    My Visitor, the Bear

    Last Friday, as I was reaching for a cookbook to make a cake for a birthday, three days late, this visitor came to eat my apples.

    Bear Thoughts

    So, my themes for right now coincide, themes of grief and the Bear.  These next few posts will simply share different views of bears, and maybe of grief, too.

    The first is a powerful poem by poet Galway Kinnell.  This was shared with me several years ago, and it sticks with me to this day.

    The Bear

    In late winter
    I sometimes glimpse bits of steam
    coming up from
    some fault in the old snow
    and bend close and see it is lung-colored
    and put down my nose
    and know
    the chilly, enduring odor of bear.

    I take a wolf's rib and whittle
    it sharp at both ends
    and coil it up
    and freeze it in blubber and place it out
    on the fairway of the bears.

    And when it has vanished
    I move out on the bear tracks,
    roaming in circles
    until I come to the first, tentative, dark
    splash on the earth.

    And I set out
    running, following the splashes
    of blood wandering over the world.
    At the cut, gashed resting places
    I stop and rest,
    at the crawl-marks
    where he lay out on his belly
    to overpass some stretch of bauchy ice
    I lie out
    dragging myself forward with bear-knives in my fists.

    On the third day I begin to starve,
    at nightfall I bend down as I knew I would
    at a turd sopped in blood,
    and hesitate, and pick it up,
    and thrust it in my mouth, and gnash it down,
    and rise
    and go on running.

    On the seventh day,
    living by now on bear blood alone,
    I can see his upturned carcass far out ahead, a scraggled,
    steamy hulk,
    the heavy fur riffling in the wind.

    I come up to him
    and stare at the narrow-spaced, petty eyes,
    the dismayed
    face laid back on the shoulder, the nostrils
    flared, catching
    perhaps the first taint of me as he

    I hack
    a ravine in his thigh, and eat and drink,
    and tear him down his whole length
    and open him and climb in
    and close him up after me, against the wind,
    and sleep.

    And dream
    of lumbering flatfooted
    over the tundra,
    stabbed twice from within,
    splattering a trail behind me,
    splattering it out no matter which way I lurch,
    no matter which parabola of bear-transcendence,
    which dance of solitude I attempt,
    which gravity-clutched leap,
    which trudge, which groan.

    Until one day I totter and fall --
    fall on this
    stomach that has tried so hard to keep up,
    to digest the blood as it leaked in,
    to break up
    and digest the bone itself: and now the breeze
    blows over me, blows off
    the hideous belches of ill-digested bear blood
    and rotted stomach
    and the ordinary, wretched odor of bear,

    blows across
    my sore, lolled tongue a song
    or screech, until I think I must rise up
    and dance. And I lie still.

    I awaken I think. Marshlights
    reappear, geese
    come trailing again up the flyway.
    In her ravine under old snow the dam-bear
    lies, licking
    lumps of smeared fur
    and drizzly eyes into shapes
    with her tongue. And one
    hairy-soled trudge stuck out before me,
    the next groaned out,
    the next,
    the next,
    the rest of my days I spend
    wandering: wondering
    what, anyway,
    was that sticky infusion, that rank flavor of blood, that
    poetry, by which I lived?

    from Body Rags, Galway Kinnell (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1967).

    Tuesday Poem

    Today's poem on Poets.org:

    9773 Comanche Ave.
    by David Trinidad   

    In color photographs, my childhood house looks
    fresh as an uncut sheet cake—
    pale yellow buttercream, ribbons of white trim

    squeezed from the grooved tip of a pastry tube.
    Whose dream was this confection?
    This suburb of identical, pillow-mint homes?

    The sky, too, is pastel. Children roller skate
    down the new sidewalk. Fathers stake young trees.
    Mothers plan baby showers and Tupperware parties.
    The Avon Lady treks door to door.

    Six or seven years old, I stand on the front porch,
    hand on the decorative cast-iron trellis that frames it,
    squinting in California sunlight,
    striped short-sleeved shirt buttoned at the neck.

    I sit in the backyard (this picture's black-and-white),
    my Flintstones playset spread out on the grass.
    I arrange each plastic character, each dinosaur,
    each palm tree and round "granite" house.

    Half a century later, I barely recognize it
    when I search the address on Google Maps
    and, via "Street view," find myself face to face—

    foliage overgrown, facade remodeled and painted
    a drab brown. I click to zoom: light hits
    one of the windows. I can almost see what's inside.

    Thursday, September 16, 2010

    Paper Cranes

    Paper Cranes [30/07/09], originally uploaded by KayVee.INC.

    I'm looking up images tagged with the word leukemia, which is what my dad has.

    Photo note:

    "Art by: Nanami Cowdroy
    Tattoo by: Rian (Cold Steel America)

    Tsuru: The Japanese Crane

    Throughout history, birds have been viewed as animals of special value and have been endowed with meanings often drawn from legends and stories that have endured over many generations.

    For the Japanese, the crane—or tsuru—is considered a national treasure, appearing in art, literature, and folklore. The Japanese regard the crane as a symbol of good fortune and longevity because of its fabled life span of a thousand years. It also represents fidelity, as Japanese cranes are known to mate for life. Over time, the crane has also evolved as a favorite subject of the Japanese tradition of paper folding—origami—as children and adults attempt to master this art.

    Shortly after the end of World War II, the folded origami cranes came to symbolize a hope for peace through Sadako Sasaki and her unforgettable story of perseverance. Diagnosed with leukemia after being exposed to radiation after the bombing of Hiroshima, Sadako became determined to reach a goal of folding 1,000 cranes in hopes of being rewarded with health, happiness, and a world of eternal peace. Although she died before reaching her goal, the tradition of sending origami cranes to the Hiroshima memorial has endured as a symbol of the Japan’s ongoing wish for nuclear disarmament and world peace.

    Yay [explore - Jul 30, 2009 #81]"

    Wednesday, September 15, 2010

    Tree by Richard Jones

    Tree by Richard Jones


    When the sun goes down
    I have my first drink
    standing in the yard,
    talking to my neighbor
    about the alder tree
    rising between our houses,
    a lowly tree that prospered
    from our steady inattention
    and shot up quick as a weed
    to tower over our rooftops,
    where it now brandishes
    a rich, luxuriant crown.
    Should we cut it down?
    Neither of us wants to --
    we agree that we like
    the flourishing branches,
    shade like thick woods.
    We don't say it,
    studying our tree in silence,
    but we know that if the roots
    get into the foundations
    we've got real trouble.
    John goes back inside.
    Nothing to be done in summer --
    not to those heavy branches.
    I balance my empty glass
    on top of a fence post.
    In the quiet early dark,
    those peaceful minutes
    before dinner, I bend down
    to the flower beds I love
    and pull a few weeds --
    something I've meant to do
    all day.

    Richard Jones

    Saturday, September 11, 2010


    Let us remember today, nine years later, with mutual respect for the wonderful diversity that makes us who we are, and with a true sense of shared connectedness. Let us realise globally that we truly need each other, regardless of color, creed, and persuasion.

    Verse Daily: Letter to the End of the Year by Susan Rich

    Today's poem on verse daily is by Susan Rich, and it is wonderful. Great job, Susan!

    Below is the link to Verse Daily, and Susan's poem:

    Verse Daily: Letter to the End of the Year by Susan Rich

    Friday, September 10, 2010

    Amazing Grace History/"Amazing Grace" By Wintley Phipps

    Today has been a good day for music discoveries.

    Understand that it really doesn't matter what color, religion, persuasion we are, this is just good, inclusive stuff, and it just goes directly to the heart.


    Johnny Cash - Nine Inch Nails - "Hurt"

    I've been surfing music this morning. First, it was the song "I Shall Not Walk Alone," sung by the Blind Boys of Alabama. And, as my daughter and her friend were playing my Johnny Cash CD Hurt, I did a little more digging around, listening to the Nine Inch Nails (original) as well, and also found this note:

    *   *   *  

    This is from Songfacts:

    "Trent Reznor has confessed that originally he was angry that Johnny Cash had covered this, as it was such a personal song to him. However, once he heard Cash's heart-wrenching version and saw the poignant video, he changed his tune.
    Reznor recalled to The Sun Newspaper August 1st 2008: "The Cash thing was a couple of years into being clean I was very unsure of myself. Did I have anything to say? Could I still write music? Did anyone still care? I'd been out of the limelight for a while. I'd put the brakes on everything to try to get my life in order, to try to get healthy and stay alive. I'd been friends with Rick Rubin for several years. He called me to ask how I'd feel if Johnny Cash covered Hurt. I said I'd be very flattered but was given no indication it would actually be recorded. Two weeks went by. Then I got a CD in the post. I listened to it and it was very strange. It was this other person inhabiting my most personal song. I'd known where I was when I wrote it. I know what I was thinking about. I know how I felt. Hearing it was like someone kissing your girlfriend. It felt invasive."
    It was when Reznor finally saw the video that his attitude changed. He continued: "It really, really made sense and I thought what a powerful piece of art. I never got to meet Johnny but I'm happy I contributed the way I did. It felt like a warm hug. For anyone who hasn't seen it, I highly recommend checking it out. I have goose bumps right now thinking about it." "

    *   *   *

    So, from an artistic standpoint, I find both of these versions intriguing, and disturbing.  And yes, deeply personal.  There are several versions on Youtube of the Nine Inch Nails, two having many more views than the one I chose.  I'm posting this one, because it is one that was used in concert, with images chosen by them.  And that, to me, makes it all the more compelling.

    Blind Boys of Alabama - I shall not walk alone

    Wednesday, September 8, 2010


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