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quiet. new chalk. [not-so-flawed wednesday]

life is grace sleep

quiet.  we walk in quiet most of the time.  even our longer hikes are quiet.  it is a time of rest for us, rest from the noise of the rest of life, the noise of worry and angst, the noise of dispute, the noise of too much bad news, the noise of chaos.  we listen to the birds and our footfalls on the trail.  we listen to the wind and the sound of creatures rustling in the underbrush.  the quiet calms us; the quiet lifts the cellophane from the magic slate cardboard, it shakes the etch-a-sketch and takes it all back to zero, back to start, back to a rainwashed driveway waiting to be chalked all over again.

having run out of everest, k2 and annapurna footage we are watching appalachian trail and pacific crest trail and john muir trail videos these days.  on our own treks locally we decide which one of these to take, listing the specific merits of each.  make no mistake, these are serious treks.  the AT is 2190 miles from georgia to maine.  the PCT is 2653 miles from the border of mexico to the border of canada.  the JMT, joining with the PCT some of the way,  is 211 miles through the sierras, high elevation pass after pass.  clearly, the training needed would be intense.  but, as we envision this extended trekking, we are drawn to the quiet.  the noise of this world has become raucous and the woods and the mountains seem to beckon with absolution, with grace, with rejuvenation.

there used to be a button on the cassette player that you could push that would quicken the pace of the tape to the end: fast forward.  it would seem these trails, this quiet, like sleep, would fast forward through the dark and bring you to the light once again.  these trails – this quiet – remind you that next comes.

and so, the noise of the day will cease.  and you can listen to the sound of your footfall on a new day, ready to be chalked.

read DAVID’S thoughts this NOT-SO-FLAWED WEDNESDAY

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a clean blackboard. [merely-a-thought monday]

clean blackboard copy

you wouldn’t know it looking out the window today, but it is spring in wisconsin.  under barney, the old piano in the backyard, green is sprouting up through the mulched-up-leaves and mess leftover from winter.  along the back fence are some reminders that, indeed, there are plants there.  in the front yard, next to the old brick wall, the daylilies are insistent and green shoots  are rising amid the dried beige of fall’s version of ornamental grasses.  spring.  a time of new.  out of the fallow, out of the dark.

yesterday, in the meditation book jonathan gave us, there was this sentence, “please give me a clean blackboard today and help me to do the writing.”  do you remember writing on the blackboard in elementary school?  it was always an honor to have that chance.  the feeling of chalk on your fingertips, eraser dust in your nose.  stretching to reach high enough, that sound when your fingernails scraped the board.  and those days that the teacher chose to use chalk in many colors?  it was nothing shy of pure excitement.  funny how simply colored chalk could change things.

i loved this reading.  the vision in my mind’s eye of a blackboard – or an etch-a-sketch – or one of those magic slates where you can still hear the “pfffffffft” sound in your head as you lift the cellophane off the cardboard pad to clear the picture you drew with the plastic stylus.  a chance to do it over.  draw it again.  live it again.  spring.  green out of beige and brown.  grace.  another chance.  color.  new birth.

as i awake each day this spring, i cannot imagine a more grace-filled thought than please give me a clean blackboard todaypffffffffft!

read DAVID’S thoughts this MERELY-A-THOUGHT MONDAY

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