Monday, April 27, 2009

Bat Tales...

I sit on my patio on this beautiful Monday morning and think over the events of a full weekend — a “fun” walk for charity, a patio breakfast with a good friend that included wonderful thought provoking discussion about God and His ways (our form of church these days), a first time visit to an “X’pressions Session” poetry night where I shared more of my writings in one evening than I have in a couple of years worth of open mics, and completing some much needed yard work and making firm plans for our upcoming vegetable garden. But, there is one thing not in this list that stands out because the effect of it is still causing me to take pause before I step into each room of my house...we had a bat invade our space this weekend.

Now, I don’t know if you have experienced one of these little creatures in your abode before, but most likely, if you have, you will not have forgotten it.

We had bats in our house on a few occasions when I was a kid. If you were lucky, you noticed them when they were still, sleeping above a doorway or in the corner of the ceiling. These were pretty easy to put his gloves on, grabbed an empty coffee container and snuck up on it, covered it with the Folgers can and slid the lid on, hopefully before the bat escaped.

If you were not so lucky, then you discovered the bat as it was swooping through the house, (usually at night) and then chaos would reign as you opened every door and window you could in hopes that it would find a way out. None of this happened without a fair amount of screaming, running and even hiding, everyone looking out for themselves, wanting to get a closed door between them and this scary creature.

Now, my dad kind of liked us to face our fears and so he would show us the bat after he caught it. Then, we could see that it did not really have the wing span of a vulture and it was actually pretty small and (unless it had rabies) harmless. He probably thought that seeing it captured would help us to not be so scared of it, figuring that at some point in the future we may be faced with ridding our home of one.

Well, seeing that thing up close, eyes bugging, mouth opening and closing, sometimes making that freaky squeak was kind of “cool”, especially since my dad seemed to have this thing secured (in my mom’s metal tongs which she used to fry chicken with every Sunday), but it also cemented the image in my mind of just how ugly these things are. The truth is, I am as freaked out by bats at 50 as I was at 8.

So, heres the scene of my latest experience: I wake up early Sunday morning to prepare for the patio breakfast a few hours away. I pick up around the house, do some dishes, sweep the kitchen floor, wipe down counters and assemble ingredients. We are going to have bacon, eggs and pancakes topped with sauteed spiced apples. I will make all this (except the apples, which I saute on the stove inside) on our kick ass grill we got last year that has an extra burner on the side with a cast iron griddle. Real maple syrup for the pancakes, fresh chives from my garden for the eggs, a bold cup of coffee or perhaps a latte...I anticipate a lovely morning.

I get done with my chores in short order and as I survey my tidy kitchen I realize there is plenty of time to sit and relax before I need to wake Bill up (he loves sleeping in on the weekend). I make a latte and grab the Sunday paper. It is just getting light outside as I settle in, still a few hours till our patio breakfast.

I’ve made it through the ads, the Parade magazine, obituaries and world news and am thinking about checking my email when I hear this weird’s something banging against metal. So, I move off the couch I am on and over to the love-seat in front of the window, because I figure it’s someone outside messing with a car. But, I quickly realize the noise is just below me, in the cold air duct under the love-seat. I listen for a minute and I don’t feel good about the sound — not good at all. So I get up and seek assistance from my sleeping husband by going to the bottom of the stairs and yelling, “Bill, come here! Bill, theres a noise down here!” One of Bill’s least favorite things in the entire universe is me yelling up the stairs...I know this very well, but my years of habitually doing just that (first to my siblings and then to my own kids) overtakes me because of the urgency I am feeling. There was something in there making this noise and I did not want to be the one to find out what it was!

He emerges from the bedroom, half awake and not happy in the way I have gotten him up. “Whats going on?” he asks and I tell him of the noise. We both go to the love-seat and listen. Sure enough, something is there in the duct making this noise. So, he moves the couch out and takes a look in the grate but can see nothing and asks me to get a flashlight. I do this and after a minute or so he says “It’s a bat; want to see?” I am in disbelief that this noise would have been a bat...I was thinking bird or mouse...and I put my knees on the love-seat next to him and lean over the back to take a look. I’m thinking it’s going to be kind of far down the duct, where there is a lower ledge...a safe enough distance to observe it from. So, when he shines the light on our little visitor, I am surprised by how close it is to the opening of the metal grate. The bat is still when Bill first shines the light on it, but then suddenly moves and it startles me and I let out a yelp and jump back. This action startles Bill and he barks at me that my “freaking out” won’t help, or something like that. Well, this does not go well with me and does nothing to comfort my racing heart and so I grab my laptop and stomp off to the family room where I figure I’ll be safe from the bat, my husband’s attitude and will check my email in peace, closing the door behind me and leaving him to figure out what to do.

It is only a few moments before Bill follows me and apologizes for his harsh words and I am just about to forgive him when through the open door of the family room, in flies the bat. Our family room is small and this bat is flying in circles around it above our heads (I should note that Bill is a foot taller than me, so his head is closest to the flying bat). This causes Bill to let out a shriek (a very manly one for sure) and my response is to hit the floor and just scream. He is right by the door and steps out in the hall and says “Come on sweetie, get out!” “I can’t, I can’t” I scream as the bat swoops back and forth above me. Covering my head with my hands, I curl up on the floor, lamenting that in tidying up that morning I removed all the throw blankets to be laundered. “Yes you can, just come on!” Bill yells at me. So, encouraged by his voice, I do a “run/crawl” towards him on all fours and he slams the door behind me.

If we could have had a video crew at that moment, I would win the big prize on the funniest video shows! I could spend my next vacation at some fancy all inclusive resort in an exotic locale with all the money we’d win. I must have looked insane. I can laugh now, but at that moment...

Bill holds me, tries to calm me down (as I am in tears by now) and again apologizes for snapping at me. He admits that bats “freak him out” too (thus the manly shriek) and we both just stand there for a minute while our hearts stop racing.

We plan our attack. He prepares himself with a hooded jacket and gloves. I tell him of my fathers trusty coffee can method and he grabs the old red “Hill’s Brothers” can I have sitting on top of my cupboard for decoration. We attach a blanket over the doorway first, so that just in case it tries to escape as Bill opens the door, it will be trapped. We take one last look at each other, I say a “God be with you and grab my laptop” blessing over him and he cracks open the door, coffee can and lid in hand. He looks around, but does not see the bat flying, and steps all the way in and closes the door, while I retreat to the adjacent bathroom and close the door behind me - I am taking no chances.

A few moments go by and he emerges with the news that the bat is once again in a cold air duct. He knows this because he can hear the familiar banging. What are the chances of this? Like I said, I have had experience with bats in my house before, both as a kid and later in my first marriage (that’s another crazy bat story). I’ve never had one in the ducts! Now, I am kind of freaking out again because if it is in the ducts, it could emerge anywhere in the house...and how would we know which room? Bill assures me that the cold air ducts, or “return” ducts as he calls them, are different from the “supply” ducts (registers). So, all we have to worry about is covering up those return ducts. But first, he has me turn on the furnace fan, since it has some air cleaning, “electro-static” thing that would hopefully shock the bat if he tried to “cross over” to the supply ducts (registers). While I go to the fan control he goes to the basement to see if he can hear where the bat is. My next task is covering up all the return ducts, which do not have levers to open and close them like the registers.

What to cover them with? Having just completed our taxes, I have a large supply of empty file folders close at hand and opened up, they are the perfect size to cover the ducts. Some openings are large and require two, but no worries, I have plenty. I go room to room covering up the openings. As I do, I eye the registers as well. Now, while I do trust my husband's knowledge of duct work and such, I still take the time to close the open registers in the rooms that I go through, just in case the bat breeches the divide between these two systems. You just never know...

Next, we open up the window above the duct in the family room, where we last saw the bat. Then we take the afore mentioned blanket and secure it around the duct on the floor and the open window above it. Bill removes the duct cover and goes to the basement to bang on ducts in the hope that the bat will emerge through the open window. I watch the window while Bill bangs away. I watch for a few minutes, but see nothing.

Now, I still have our friend coming to join us for breakfast soon, so I tell Bill I need to get breakfast going and leave my place as window guard. He stays in the basement to listen for the bat. It’s there, he hears it, apparently pretty low in the system, close to the furnace. Bill bangs away at the ducts, hoping to coax the bat to leave, perhaps from “whence he came” (although we don’t know where that would be exactly) or through our very scientifically rigged open window.

He gives up on this after hearing no activity for a time. We go about the morning, having our delightful breakfast on the patio, looking up periodically at the open window in hopes of seeing a bat emerge. We tell our friend about the craziness of the day and he almost pees his pants laughing at our tale, imagining my screaming run/crawl out the door and Bill’s manly shriek.
The three of us banter about the enormity of power these bats have on us and we each admit how silly it is, but that it is there nonetheless.

After breakfast we listen and the ducts seem to be quiet. Now, this should reassure me shouldn’t it? But we never did see that bat come out of the window, so I just can’t be sure where it is. What if it did get through the barricades somehow and it is in my house, just waiting to be discovered. So, now I go back to the very beginning of my tale...that pause before I step into each room of my house. As I mentioned before, I have some history with bats. The flying bats are quick to be noticed and the commotion they cause considerable. But, when those bats are asleep, they find a nice little corner to rest in, or a door jam to light upon. And you just never know when they are going to take flight again. So, as I go into each room, I kind of duck my head and quickly scan all the corners, making sure there is not a little black blob attached to anything. I have a couple of scares as I see a hook in the ceiling or shadow on the wall.

Every noise is subject to investigation for the rest of the evening (that fun walk took us away from home for several hours during the day), but we never hear the original cause for concern, the banging metal. So, we hope for the best and pray the bat has not given up the ghost in the ductwork, rotting away in the warming weather.

Since we got through the night with no bat flying around, I am feeling pretty good as I walk through the house when I get up this morning, but I am still checking those corners and doorways. I can even smile as I recall yesterdays drama. But I have to admit, my heart jumped a little as I realized that Bill would be off to work soon, and I would be left here alone...I really hope that bat made its escape.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Turning 50...

In November of last year, I reached the age of 50. Many people look at this age as walking towards the end, but for me, it has been a new beginning. I was not depressed, discouraged or sad about my age, but counted myself blessed to have reached it and looking forward to the future. I decided to celebrate it with a gathering of friends and family where there was singing and dancing, food, poetry and surprises. I wrote this poem for the occasion.


Fifty years alive on this earth
I decided to greet it with merriment and mirth

Half of a century, the “middle” part of age
What it would feel like was hard to gauge

Is life really half over, or has it just begun?
Cause I gotta tell you, I am having a lot of fun!

God has brought joy unspeakable to this heart of mine
The table of my life is full of rich food and great wine

This age finds me loved, at peace and secure
Grateful for all that I’ve had to endure

So, I look back and ponder fifty years of life
Some years calm, some filled with strife

Theres been the darkness of abuse by the neighbor Mr. White
My silence assured by shame and fright

Innocence lost, but somehow regained
By the love of Christ and the power in His name

I watched as my sister got beatings and bruises
Too weak to walk away from the chaos and abuses

My counselor’s had a couple of vacations dealing with those things
But in the end, there was healing that gave me wings

To fly away from hurt and loss
Proving to myself God has always been boss

I’ve birthed 3 children, been married twice
Living a life not always sugar and spice

In my fifty years I’ve seen trouble and pain
But hope and peace have been my life’s gain

I’m a wife and a mommy
I’m a friend and a grammy

I’m a teacher and a lover
I’m a dancer undercover

I’m a sinner and a saint
I can love and I can hate

I’ve buried my parents, a sister and in-laws
Spent many years mulling over my flaws

The middle age spread I swore I’d never get
Has caught up with me sure, but I’m not giving up yet

I’ve got tapes aplenty to help work off my weight
And God give me strength to turn down a plate

Theres been giving, theres been taking
Theres been loving, theres been faking

I’ve been a worker outside and a mommy at home
Had a business that I could call my own

I’ve traveled to different countries, seen the ocean and water falls
I’ve broken through barriers and torn down walls

Walls of words that loomed over my head
Words of doubt, tales of dread

Not everyone was sure I’d make it this far
But you’ll hear about that when I write my memoir

So many things left still to do
I don’t know if I’ll ever be through

Adventures to write, stories to tell
Lives to touch, books to sell

I’m not afraid of what fifty will bring
Theres joy in my heart and to that I cling

My joints may creak, my eyes may play tricks
But my heart is still strong beating tick, tick, tick

It’s what pushes me through good times and bad
And for that, I am surely glad

So that I can see fifty and many years beyond
To love family and friends of whom I am so fond

Asking myself what fifty would be…
I look in the mirror and I see me!

Sue Barnard October 2008

Bob Funkhouser, artist extraordinaire

Food prepared by my son, Chef Job

Dancing the Night Away

My baby Anna surprised me by flying in for the party

Janet Norris sang "Superwoman" like no other

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Making Calls For Daddy...

“Hello?” I answer in my best I am already awake voice. The phone call that woke me up is from the hospital. The voice on the other end says “This is Mr. Crabill’s nurse. He’s not sleeping and we need you to come and get him settled down.” I look at the clock and it’s close to midnight. “I’ll be right there.” I don’t ask any questions because I already know what’s going on. Several weeks ago my dad had a stroke. He has been in the hospital ever since, pretty much confined to his bed. At first, he did not speak much, but has now gotten his voice back with a vengeance. He cannot swallow very well, so he has a feeding tube (which he has pulled out several times) and can’t handle solid foods. The first week or so we weren’t sure if he was going to make it. But there he was, at 84, fighting his way through to stay alive and letting everyone know about it.

Dad does not sleep well and the nurses call regularly. My sister Patty and I share the task of going to sit with him and calm him down.

Since he has been in the hospital, Dad disturbs everyone with his calling out and making all sorts of racket to get their attention. His favorite thing is banging his “pull up” bar that hangs above his bed. Intended to strengthen his arms, it looks like one of those dinner bells in the shape of a triangle you see in old westerns. The cook comes out and bangs it with a piece of steel to let everyone know “chow’s on”. Well, my dad must remember those scenes too because that’s what he does – bangs this bar to get someone’s attention when he is bored. Which happens a lot. One night when I came after one of their calls, they had his bed pulled out in the hallway, near the nurses station because it was the only way they could get him to quiet down. His vision is very poor, so being able to hear activity helped.

So, after this latest call, I throw on some clothes, tell my sleeping husband what is going on, and make the 10 minute drive to the hospital. I come in, greet my dad and get “Susie, I’m so glad you’re here!” He seems oblivious that it is late at night and I should be home and in bed. So, I smile and ask how he is. These visits usually go the same each time; we chat a little, I ask if there is anything he needs, then after he tells me how glad he is that I am there, he calms down, and I try to sleep in the recliner in his room. It gets quiet, save for the TV that is on 24/7. Many times, as “Nick at Nite” or CNN drones in the background, I would just begin to fall asleep and he would call out to me – “Susie!” “Yeah dad, what do you need?” I would say to him. He would respond, “Oh, nothing, I just wanted to make sure you were there.” Several times a night this would go on. As I said, Dad doesn’t see very well, so perhaps he needed the extra assurance of my voice to convince him of my presence. “You sure you don’t need something Dad?” I’d ask. “No, no, go back to sleep” he’d usually say.

But one night, hearing my voice was not enough. He was wide awake and wanted something. He wanted me to make some phone calls for him. “Dad, it’s 2 a.m., I can’t call people now. Who do you need to talk to?” I asked. He began naming people he wanted to call. “Why do you want to call them now Dad?” He all of a sudden got hit with the urge to “right” some things…there was $20 owed here, some guy he talked bad about there. One guy he just wanted to check on because he was concerned about him for some reason. But everything he was telling me about happened 30 or so years ago. “But dad, it’s late, let’s wait till tomorrow” I said. No deal. He was very insistent that he needed to talk to them right then, it could not wait till the light of day. I pleaded with him to wait till morning but he was on a mission and would not be swayed. He even remembered their phone numbers! I could hardly believe it. I mean, he had not even seen some of these people since before I was born I bet, but he could recite their phone numbers, using the old alphabet exchange for our area - CE (23), short for “Central”.

I was not sure what to do. I knew that most likely the phone numbers were no good anymore. But, what if the number did have a home and I got a hold of someone? It was the middle of the night! The chances that it would be who dad wanted to talk to were pretty slim, but I’d be waking somebody up, that was for sure. And even if the call was from a long lost buddy, I did not think the person on the other end of the phone would be any too happy about being called in the middle of the night, even if it meant getting that twenty bucks returned. But, he was very insistent that I call.

Now, even though I was in my 30’s at the time, married and had three kids of my own, I was still very much his little girl when it came to his instruction. His tone of voice could still cause me to tremble a bit, so with reluctant obedience, I picked up the phone. He called out someone’s name and repeated a phone number. My heart was pounding as I dialed, and inside I was praying that no one would answer. God’s mercy was there and the number was disconnected. I breathed a deep sigh of relief as I told him this, thinking it would bring him to his senses and put an end to the task.

Nope, there were more numbers, others he wanted called. I pleaded again for him to wait, but he would not be reasoned with. There would be no peace this night until I made these phone calls. Realizing I might not be so lucky on the next call, and someone might actually answer, I made a decision that makes me cringe to this day…I dialed time and temperature instead of the number he was reciting. I can’t say I felt good about it, but at the time, felt it was for the best, since in case someone did answer the phone, I knew there was a pretty good chance it would not be who he was looking for. I mean, my dad was 84 at the time, how many of these people were even still alive? So, I told him there was no answer. I guess I was more willing to face my dad’s disappointment than having a stranger cuss me out at 2 a.m. I was more than willing to call them later, at a more reasonable hour, so I figured there was no harm done.

After these two attempts, he gave up, satisfied that I had tried. We talked a little about the people he was trying to reach and why, which seemed to help. Then he let it go, never bringing it up again.

There would be several opportunities like this in the next few years to get to know my dad a little better. It was only when he got sick and began to share some things about his life that I realized how little I knew of him. My dad was 50 when I was born, so much of his life had already happened, out of my sight. He was from a generation that didn’t share much of their struggles. But his sickness changed that. Stories of childhood surfaced, lost loves, dreams, and unfinished plans. I saw for the first time just how much pain my dad lived with every day. Not a physical pain, but a pain that was on the inside. He was tormented by many things that happened in his life. Harsh words and actions from his childhood that had taken root and had never been resolved, like never being good enough for his dad and his mom resenting him from the moment he was born because he weighed 13 pounds.

I thought about this quite a bit afterwards and wondered what brought on this sudden urge to make things right after so many years? Was it his brush with death because of the stroke? Was it our talks about God and heaven? Whatever it was, I am thankful for the chance to know him a little better, even though it meant exposing his pain and hurt.

It’s hard sometimes to imagine your parents as “real” people, separate from being “mom and dad”. But to do so gives you much more insight into them as adults and the way they parented you. Some of the bad stuff I experienced in my childhood was due to the bad parenting my mom and dad had, but so was much of the good. They fought against many of the painful things they experienced and refused to subject their kids to the same pain. As rough as my childhood was sometimes, after talking to my dad while he was ill, I realize it is miraculous that it was not a disaster.

It’s an odd thing being the child of an ailing parent. Roles are reversed and you become the caretaker, the protector, maybe even the decision maker. The fine line between treating them as a child and respecting their place as your parent gets crossed sometimes. You get as confused as they are in how you should handle situations. I was fortunate to have a measure of grace in dealing with my dad. Realizing he could not do much anymore, yet at the same time understanding his need for some “control”, to feel he still had some independence – to respect him and all that he had been to me. In those last years of his life, much of the “bad” stuff from childhood became less important to focus on.

While at the time those late night visits were rough, exhausting and frustrating, I am so grateful for them. When I think back, I can even smile at his noise making, calling out and odd requests. He was with us only a few more years after that stroke and he became even more challenging, especially for my mom, who chose to care for him at home till his death. But, the older I get, the more precious I realize time is. My dad spent a lot of his life locked up inside, carrying the burdens of guilt and pain. My experiences with him helped me to understand his life better and to remind me to keep my slate as clean as possible, not holding onto things that could weigh me down. Even in death, his fathering continues.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


A perspective is a view or a vista that one sees
But it seems we can’t see the forest for the trees

You see things your way, I see them mine
It’s been this way from the beginning of time

You see things one way, I see them another
But in our differences must we smother each other?

My perspective says go slow; yours says we must go fast
I guess I don’t care if I get there last

I say we must confront, you say give it more time
You are bent to be a little more kind

Even quoting the bible can make things clear as mud
As different denominations create their own buzz

One says sex by themselves for satisfaction does suffice
Another will say it’s the devil’s device

Some say that divorce means you can’t go to heaven
Is this the truth or just the devil’s leaven?

I’ve heard it’s better to be righteous than right
This may mean walking away from a fight

Now, I don’t mind fighting if the purpose is true
I just don’t think the fight is always with you

“The man in the mirror” as the song goes
Is usually the one that deserves the most blows

I fight my flesh that wants always to be heard
So I can shut my mouth and listen to your words

We must go to our heart and it’s intent to make choices
Because the world is full of confusing voices

To trust that my right and left will be guided
By a view that is not always right or left sided

That the colors I choose will be for beauty
Not out of a sense of self-serving duty

So you go your way, I’ll go mine
I pray we end up at the same place at the same time

And on the road to getting there we’ll cherish those met
Living our lives without judgment or regret

Sue Barnard 10/07

Sunday, April 19, 2009


Spring is coming. It’s a promise, a given, consistent and known. Yet every year, it amazes me.

I have witnessed the change of seasons for 50 ye
ars. Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall. All the seasons bring something unique and different than the other. But Spring…it is a “rebirth” of sorts, and because it follows the harshness of winter, provides the most hope in nature and in my life. Spring brings with it great promise of things to come…Growth, flowers, color, fragrance – life. Just as sure as winter brings death and dormancy, spring brings life and activity.

Snow can be beautiful, and the cold weather can bring about hot chocolate, warm fires and lots of snuggling. But for me, the moment Christmas is over, I am through with winter and look forward to Spring. I begin counting the months, then the weeks until its expected start. After each wintertime gas bill, I calculate how soon before I can turn the heat down. If I can just keep my mind on the first crocus, or sprouting leaves on trees, or the extra money I’ll save on the gas bills, it gives me hope and I can then trudge through the cold, snow and ice once again, to clean off my car.

Spring. I look for it, hope for it, pray for it and tell myself over and over “it’s coming”, and I still get as excited as a 3 year old when the first signs appear.
When my kids were little, it was always a big deal the day we saw our first robin. I can still hear their excited voices say “Mommy, I see a robin!” and I’d smile and make a fuss just like my mom did when I was young. It was always a day to take note of and it meant that things were different now, like the robin held some magical power to change the weather. With that same sense of wonder from my youth, each year on the day I see my first spring bird, I will exclaim “I saw a robin today!” to a friend, or my husband, or the check out lady at Martin’s. Sometimes it’s met with equal exuberance, but more often it is “hmmm, that’s nice”. Their reaction to my excitedness about spring seems to be – it happens every year; what’s the big deal? So, I would call my mommy and tell her I saw my first robin and with the same delight as when I was little she would say, “Did you? That’s great! That means spring is coming!”. She died last May and I missed sharing the news with her this year.

Spring isn’t a date and comes when it sees fit. It decides whether it will agree with the human calendar. Spring is a change, and change brings possibilities to me. Maybe this spring will bring more physical activity, which could bring about the desire to exercise, which might bring about a love for walking, which would bring weight loss, which could bring about…you get the picture. It seems nothing is impossible in the spring. Maybe this yea
r I will get my yard in order…or lay those new stones…or hang clothes out to dry…or clean out my car…anything could happen!!!

Spring brings about gratefulness. When I step outsi
de and feel the warmth of the morning instead of bitter cold, I am grateful. Even when the sun isn’t shining and it’s raining out, I am grateful that it is not snow. The saying from childhood pops into my head: “April showers brings May flowers” and I am grateful for the assurance that something good will come of gloominess of rain.

Spring opens my eyes and ears. It makes me notice everyday things that we take for granted, but are really amazing. As soon as I can, I sit outside on my patio, morning coffee in hand and feast on the small sanctuary in my yard. Birds gathering materials for nests, squirrels foraging, breezes blowing and the tinkling of wind chimes making music. Over the years I’ve gotten to know several songs of the birds and as I hear the cardinal chirping or the morning dove cooing and the blue jay cackling, I love to spot them in the trees when I recognize their call. Sparrows bobbing up and down all over the yard as the males dance to win a mate. It amuses me to watch as the females seem to pay them no mind, flitting off to another waiting to woo her. Each year is a love/hate relationship with the squirrels. I love to watch them run and play through the yard, chattering, racing each other up the trees, and looking like circus performers as they navigate the electrical wires. “How do they do that?” I wonder each time I witness this feat. But then, they turn on me and dig up my newly planted petunias or shimmy up my bird feeder and pillage food meant for creatures smaller and weaker than them. Sometimes when I sit out there alone, meditating on all the activity, I think, “Does anybody else notice this stuff?”.

Spring is a gamble of sorts. Will those bulbs I planted come up this year? Did those pesky squirrels get them in their quest for buried nuts? Some years I have daffodils springing up in the middle of my yard, surely carried there by a well-meaning squirrel. And every year I look at the brown, dry, dead remains from plants that are “perennials”, and I think there is no way they have survived the winter. They are supposed to return each year, but I still look with awe and delight as the first green growth appears under the old brown leaves on my lavender or the red sprouts of new leaves on the dry branches of my rosebushes. Even the day lilies, which seem as if nothing could kill them, still amaze me as they sprout up out of the ground with the purpose of bringing flowers that will last only one day before closing up.

Easter comes in the Spring. We celebrate resurrection, faith, hope, and belief in power greater than us. That is Spring. Out of death and the hardness of a frozen ground there is proof that what we see with our eyes is not all that there is. That even in bitterness and unpleasant conditions, there is something else at work; beauty has not been discarded. That there are roots always alive and preparing for just the right time to sprout new growth. The assurance that even when it seems we are in our most unproductive season, there are things at work inside, underneath, waiting to be born, to come to life. Spring awakens sleeping beauty and calls back things gone away. Spring says to them, it’s ok, come out, come back; you are wanted – you can grow here, you are not forgotten. Spring reminds me that all that is true in nature about changing seasons is true of me. Promises and dreams just waiting for the right time, the right season to push through the hard ground of the limitations in my mind to bloom and bear fruit. That just like in Indiana you don’t grow corn in January, so with my life I must wait for the favorable season to bear certain fruit. These lessons in nature have given me hope. Spring has awakened me and helped me to see that my season has changed, Winter is over…

Something New...

April 17, 2009

I am starting this blog in one of my favorite places, a cafĂ©. What better place to begin a blog called “The Perfect Pour”?

First, I’ll start with explaining the name. For coffee lovers, the perfect pour is a cup of coffee that is strong and rich, bold enough to let you know it’s coffee, but smooth to let you know it’s fresh. Just the aroma of it pulls you in and tells you if it’s going to be good or not. If you top it off with cream, it’s a rich golden brown, not a dingy gray. For an espresso drinker, it’s the shot of espresso that is pulled just right, never run too long and has a beautiful caramel layer of crema topping the rich espresso. There is an art to the “perfect pour”, it does not happen randomly, but thought and experience make it a more enjoyable cup. If it is made by someone who shares your love of the drink, I believe you’ll have a better chance of getting that “perfect pour”.

My subtitle is “Where Creative Expressions Flow” hope for these writings is to blend these two ideas together - stories that are rich, bold enough that you know it’s me telling the story, but smooth enough to make it enjoyable to consume. They will be backed by much thought and the experience of a life well lived.

I love life and I love the written word. So, I combine the two in this new endeavor. There will be some stories, some poetry, pictures and perhaps some of one of my other (If you choose to keep reading, you’ll find I have a lot of loves) So, sit back, grab a cup of coffee (or perhaps a nice cabernet) and enjoy.