Category Archives: Musing

Pile of construction trash

Cleaning The Idea Closet

(A five-minute read, if you mull these over properly)

I’m trying something completely different this week. Here are things I hauled out of the writer’s junk drawer…

“Gosh, where to start?” The writer’s dilemma, the correspondent’s nightmare, and the friend’s angst.

I love the phrase “no creditability.” As a poet, I have to note that this says it all.

Sometimes as a writer, I’m actually a short order crook.

An author on deadline is nothing less than someone strapped down on the writer’s block.

It is most embarrassing to be caught naked from the neck up.

I don’t analyze things. I Alanyze them.

It takes fast footwork to remain slow in a world built for speed.

If activists try to change the status quo and I disagree, does that make me a passivist?

Crypticism: A helpful suggestion that is too obscure to be understood.

Enjoy a Free Sample of my memoir The Lie Called CancerDownload it here.

New Potatoes

(a one-minute read)

On the last nice day of October, before the winter rains come in earnest, I dig potatoes. Dozens of pounds of potatoes. The soil so carefully prepared yields to the fingertips. The spading fork used at the bottom of each hill is mostly for show, the soil is that good. Cleaned, but not washed, the spuds are packed carefully in their boxes, by type, between layers of straw.

Holding a potato in my hand, it is cold. Not the cold of death; it is the hand of a mittenless child. Deeply cool, but with life inside. The warmth of life stored against bitter days. Starch for the winter, fuel for the fire.

Yukon Golds, like baby ginger. Long fingerlings full of creamy tenderness. Pontiac Reds, many large enough to make an entire meal. Russets, the staple of staples.

Some of each I hold out for their eyes, for planting.

Like me, the potato is blind to the glory of its future. Yet with guidance, like me, they may see their way into becoming next year’s crop.

The Dandelion

[A 3-minute read]

At the end of its blossom cycle, the dandelion waits for the breeze. It has come again to the pinnacle of its existence. Life-giving nutrients have poured in from the earth, navigating the tubercles, the hair roots, the secondary roots, through the tap root anchoring the plant firmly in the soil.

Day after day, the plant has turned its happy yellow face to the sun, combining water and minerals from below with carbon dioxide and sunlight from above: creating energy. By osmosis through its veins, nutrients get to each cell. I am like the dandelion. My water and nutrients come through my system and into the blood, also moving through veins, deposited in each cell of my body.

The dandelion is all potential and no pretense. When it is ready, it goes. There is no hesitation. The dandelion is faith in action. It is what I would be if I had no doubts. Although I too have potential, I’m often held back by pretense.

Each of the dandelion’s 2,000 seeds has the potential to produce anther plant. There is no pretense in this either; it knows what it is about. It is following God’s command to ‘reproduce after its kind’ The dandelion is certain of its identity, and unconcerned about its future.

A seed may land just a hairsbreadth from its parent, or on a calm sunny day ride a thermal for half a mile. But it matters not to the seed. When it goes, it is ready to go, and it flies without fear. It is ready to go be a dandelion.

The future of the seed is held in the nature of its landing place. If there is good soil with good growing conditions, it prospers. If not so good, it may still prosper, if it is hardy enough. But, if it lands in stones, or water, or on pavement, or becomes some creature’s meal, it will not sprout at all. The seed’s potential to be a dandelion will be lost.

I see myself in this too, spiritual being than I am. Because I have imagination, I unwisely concern myself with my landing pad. My brain insists on knowing about the landing pad before the launch.

However, faith does not work that way. Faith is leap first, look later.

As it is, God has yet to let me down when I leap. In spite of His faithfulness it always seems that, as I ripen into seed, I question whether what He’s prepared will be good, or at least good enough. And – is it safe to go?

In those moments, it is important to remember my advantage over the dandelion. God plants the seed, but I can do my part to help Him prepare the soil. By staying close to Him, by fixing my heart on Him, I remain able to follow His command to be fruitful and multiply.

Yet the dandelion has an advantage over me. It is not a thinking being with doubts and fears and anxieties. It never questions whether God will disappoint. It never ate of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil like I did. It knows no shame.

The dandelion boldly pushes ahead. It always has more than enough seeds to fulfill what God asks of it. You know what? So do I. The secret is choosing to let Him work and only help when He asks me to.

Not all my seeds may find the best landing place. But I can improve their odds, and that is the best advantage of all.

If you liked this essay, you might also like this poem.

(Photo used under CC licence from PiccoloNamek at Wikimedia Commons)