Comfort. Wonder. Sunlight. Family.
Sunday, June 14: Comfort, Texas, 9:00 PM CST:
The cicadas, crickets, and grasshoppers are clicking, buzzing, and singing, each pushing for evening air time here, running their tiny bows across symphonic bodies like an orchestra warming up before a performance. Only this is the performance, one among ancient cypress trees. It's dark now, but I spot a deer in the meadow across the brook. Hank, my opinionated son, with whom I am driving to California, insists it's only a stump. We debate it for ten minutes during which neither my position nor the deer itself have moved. I relent. The final lesson of this Sabbath day is that you can't take a pictures of fireflies with an iPhone. God simply makes you enjoy them in the moment.
Monday, June 15: Comfort, Texas, 7:00 AM CST:
Growing up, we had plastic placemats on our kitchen table. One had pictures and was called, ?The Birds of Texas.? Well, they?re all out here this morning, their carols rising with the sun. I hear the rapid knock of a committed woodpecker. I can't tell from what direction it's coming from other than ?up there,? which as directions go, is a good one. Near the porch, a hummingbird pivots miraculously over a honeysuckle, her wings humming with speed. Next, a yellow finch with a black cowlick arrives, alighting on the railing in front of me. When he departs, I think of the beautiful economy of the word, ?flit.? Above me, a cardinal the exact color of a Stan Musial cap chases a flagrant blue jay around a tall oak tree which brings three more things to mind: there was another plastic placemat called, ?The Trees of Texas;? ?swoop? is a fine word; and this place is aptly named.
Monday, June 15 - Outside of Marfa, Texas, 8:00 PM CST:
Texas is a ?beg, beg state? and the wide expanse of the Presidio County landscape emphasizes the miles. That's 357 clicks today. As the sun sets and the night busies itself hanging stars, Hank and I stop at what's irresistibly named the Marfa Mystery Lights Viewing Area. Here, a plaque tells us that Robert Reed Ellison, a young cowboy, first recorded seeing the mystery lights in 1883 while tending a herd of cattle. He thought the ?ghost lights,? which appear in the mountains to the southwest, might be Apache campfires, only they kept disappearing, merging, then re-appearing. Later theories ranged from the mundane (ranch house lights) to the scientific (the moon reflecting off mica in the soil), to the science fictive (UFO's or spirits of dead Conquistadors). The lights remain unexplained, yet there they are. Just as amazing as the Marfa lights though, is the paste of stars above. Though explainable, they remain unbelievable with respect to their numbers, distance, and size. Still more compelling to me, at least tonight, are the sporadic sightings of satellites crossing the night sky at steady velocities. On this Sabbath, I saw so much of God's wonder, my eyes hurt.
Tuesday, June 16 - Outside Tucson, Arizona, 107 Fahrenheit:
...but it's a dry heat, right? The skies are brilliant blue and the sun is beating down on us as we make our desert crossing. To the extent the Coronado National Forest is a forest, it's a forest composed mainly of enormous rocks stacked atop one another, many of them balanced precariously where I assume they've been since the time of Coronado himself. It looks like giants placed them here and no one dared move them. Also, as a bonus today, I used the words chaparral and mesa in context. I first discovered I liked to write years ago not far from here. The desert compels such things.
Wednesday, June 17? Joshua Tree, California
I want to feel sunlight on my face
I see that dust cloud disappear without a trace... I'll show you a place,
High on the desert plain,
Where the streets have no name.
Thursday, June 18? Los Angeles, California, Redbird, 7:00 PM PST
My sister, Susan, lives in Los Angeles. Now Hank does too. I?m glad there's more than one of them here now. We all need back up.
Thank you for Sabbath. It seems luxurious, a privilege, especially in these times, yet You know what I need more than I do, then You settle the matter by command. It's my part only to obey, and thank You for the gift. I pray how I live this week - mind and body graced with rest, perspective changed, and soul restored now blesses You. Might all of us find something like this. Amen.
? Greg Funderburk