Michigan Meanderings of an Alabama Girl

Lilacs. I now understand Walt Whitman enthralled with lilacs in the dooryard. May twenty second and lilacs are having their glory moment. Walt was right; lilacs seem delicate but are mastering.

Birches. Frost wrote about birches, and I get that too. Birches’ trunks are their song to the world rather than limb shape or leaf play. Ash-white trunks, black ribbed, these tall proud ladies nod slightly to the lake wind and continue their long obedience.

Firs. Fir stands are the densest of north wood settlers. Dark and thick, Tolkien and Lewis both would have loved a Michigan fir stand.  It is alive with Narnian sighs and Mirkwood warnings.

Trillium carpets and cherry blossoms and clean lake wind and lake gulls which must be different from sea gulls, having chosen the non-salt life, and a little red cabin in the woods on the big lake. I expect any moment to see Pa with his rifle and Ma in the dark, mistakenly petting a bear instead of their friendly heifer in the pen.

Audubon Bluff Trail. Black squirrels are startling when you are used to plain-Jane grays. White tail deer, fiddle-head ferns conferring together, mosses and sequoias, swamps and cattails, dunes and a tame lapping lake today, Poe’s Raven cawing and Longfellow’s Hiawatha haunting. Michigan, I can’t figure out what you are!  But your motley is most beautiful. And oh all the poets, gone but still living, who breathe their cool observations and immortal words to inform my enjoyment. What an extra rich layer of pleasure to know they too stood in green, green woods glimpsing blue water and it came out as a song.

It’s hard to know whether to look inland or water-ward.

The lake’s the thing, Hamlet might have said, the vast breathing personality that draws the eye and clears the mind of all lesser things. The lake forces big questions: “Reckon with me,” it says. “If I am, then there must be something even bigger and deeper and bluer and colder and gustier and livelier and lovelier.”

Yes, it all leads to doxology.





A Thousand Mirrors


Some days God answers, ‘Not today.
Trust Me here; this is My love.’
A rainy answer, a cross-shaped hug,
Planned when my days were not yet one.

Some days His glory spills like sun
Through limbs of February trees,
Anoints my face, salves my disease,
Brushes soft my shook anxieties.

He wraps up suffering in the sun
And bathes me with the latter first
Before the pain clouds crack and burst
And jagged pieces are dispersed.

But here’s the thing with jagged rain,
Its facets form a thousand mirrors
To reflect the sun just that much clearer,
Than round drops ever could deliver.

I cannot love the jagged rain,
But, oh, I love the Sun it rides.
Like childbirth turns out our insides,
Rain magnifies what first it hides.

Divine Colorer

God has a crayon in his box called Light.
He holds that crayon in the sun’s fingers, and
As the sun tips the brow of Ridge Street, He colors the
Facing treetops, just the tops,
 that color – Light!
And their day’s singing, swaying work
Has begun. The trunks, though,
In the ravine’s depths,
Are still in yesterday,
Or last night,
Sleeping purple and
Blue sleep.
The Divine Colorer
Lights them in His
Own time.
He accomplishes so much with
One ball of incandescence and His infinity.


Elfstruck In Bankhead Forest On Sunday Afternoon

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This afternoon we stumbled upon Rivendell beside Rush Creek in Bankhead Forest. It was magical. We couldn’t understand why the Alabama woods were so clear of underbrush that we could stroll through like characters in an Austen novel.  Then we remembered the wildfires of last fall.

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We wandered through in separate directions following our own rambles as one beauty led to the next, breathing cold air and smelling water and tree trunks. I really did catch glimpses of elves in convocation.

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Can anyone go to the woods on a Sunday afternoon without thinking of the morning message? It was on obedience.  I looked at the mosses and barks and confirmed that it only made sense to obey a God who spoke breath-taking matter into breathing being.

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And we were dressed for a party, not a hike. Which made it all the more dreamlike.

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Amongst the ferns, a thousand hood-shaped leaves on the ground told us this was a cow-cumber grove. I didn’t know cow-cumbers travelled in groves.  🙂

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In the crook of her elbow, this Entwife had an eczema.


The elves love January. They are almost material in that bare month.


In the Addison Hyatt’s Market ladies’ room – back in civilization, but still elfstruck – I wondered at the situation that made that sign necessary.


Ode To January – Fight The Good Fight


January is sticks against the sky,
Bare enough to reveal that
Some Spring buds
Will labor longer, having
To push out and aside last Fall’s
Leaves that never fell.

In all their birthing fight to emerge,
Will the soft, bound shoots exclaim
To the lingering husks,
“Are you kidding me?
I have to overcome you?”

Yes, of course. Beauty
Be pushed through a sieve of strife to ever
Be born.

This sky – white, forsaken –
Is Beauty’s stirrup.
To wait for a sunny day
Is to decide
Not to obey the
Daunting call to

Hunger And Thirst

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This is my front yard. Today.
Red medley,
Green interruption.
Redness painted, redness draped,
Redness flung, Green interjected.
Looking at it begins the hunger pang, the
Longing for the perfect, the true,
For the know-and-be-known.
The red and green are keen, whetted,
I can taste them on the back of my tongue.

Like seared steak or tannin,
Or basil-oiled asparagus, the
Red and green
Water my eyes, and
All my cells want more, more, a
Deep gulp, an endless communion.

These reds and these greens pull me to the
Seated One, to speak His language without
Words, to open my mouth, awestruck, and silently
Point to the reds and the greens and to me
And to Him. And He gets me and smiles.

He smiles and is
Holy light and I want only to stand
In Him in the way required – holy, too.
And so my red and green front yard
Shouts of Jesus who
Grafts his redness into me and
Colors me holy so I can recognize Him and
He me.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they shall be satisfied.” Matthew 5:6

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Nova, Novem,

You are a



Ah, November.
You make me a

Ah, November.dscn6535Pictures:
*278 West into Cullman at Holly Pond, Nov 25
*Woodland St. Japanese Maples, Nov 26