Morning Has Broken ~

“I can see how it might be possible for a man to look down upon the earth and be an atheist, but I cannot conceive how a man could look up into the heavens and say there is no God.” **Abraham Lincoln

In the Arizona backyard, 5:30 am, still dark, I’m writing by my phone flashlight. I contemplated turning on the patio lights, but I really want to see the morning break. The skyline is silhouettes of palm trees and cactus. There is a hint of pink just above the rooflines and the stars are beginning to fade. I love to imagine the bunnies that live in a cozy burrow beneath the lantana bush are still a-snooze and the quail are roosting or nesting, whichever it may be. In an hour or so, when the sun trades places with the half moon, but before the heat of the day, I will enjoy a wild life show.

“No clouds are in the morning sky, The vapors hug the stream, who says that life and love can die in all this northern gleam? At every turn the maples burn, The quail is whistling free, the partridge whirs, and the frosted burs are dropping for you and me. Ho! Hillyho! Heigh O! Hillyho! In the clear October morning.” **Edmund Stedman

There is a block of birdseed in the yard and daybreak will bring the covey. The quail circle and peck and talk, as a family around the breakfast table. Soon a pair of flickers flit down from the palm tree they’ve been tat-tatting on, which must serve as an invitation to the bunnies who venture out and warily hop on the scene. The hummingbirds aren’t seed eaters, but they zoom in and around before zipping off to the bright yellow and orange blooms that nod in the light breeze. Bless the beasts.

I always kind of chuckle and think of how I really was conditioned by Walt Disney every Sunday night. From his desk, he’d welcome us into a wonderful world as we welcomed him into our living rooms. Lonesome cougars, mischievous racoons and playful otters. Not to mention the forest friends; squirrels, mice, birds, who all worked together to make sure Cinderella made an impression at the ball.

Is my view tinted rose? 2020 has been quite a year and we’ve a quarter of it to go. It’s hard not to get caught up in the despair that pours out daily as if the floodgates have been opened. There is a real struggle to balance ‘being informed’ with ‘argghhh’, not only by all of the current events, but the pall lingering from loss on so many levels.

This morning as the sky lightens (Ha! I can turn off my flashlight!) there is a whole new flock of birds at the seed block. Something between a quail and a dove. The bunnies have slipped from their cover and they nibble as the birds peck and they share sustenance in the light of dawn. I wish I could sketch. I could pull the shades of gray away from the tumbled stone in a way my camera cannot. I’d love to draw the flash of white when they spread their wings, and the soft gold of their downy breast. Instead, I will tuck these images into my heart and view them in my minds eye through my rose colored glasses, while humming an old Cat Stevens tune…

Have a Wonderful Day

Peace. Love. Amen.

Happy Birthday, Big Mike!

Gayle, Mike & Me in Sunny AZ

“Siblings: children of the same parents, each of whom is perfectly normal until they get together.” **Sam Levenson

Oh man, that quote says it all!! It cracks me up as I read it. Nobody can make me laugh like my siblings. We call them ‘Laugh Attacks’. Those crazy fits that truly bust a gut, that when I try to tell someone how funny such and such was, they look at me like….”Okay… yeah… that sounds hilarious…” as they roll their eyes. I remember sitting around the dinner table as kids and having to divert our eyes from each other. Getting tickled by something only we could see, a ‘laugh attack’ with the accompanied snort and possibly milk coming out of our noses was frowned upon by our parents.

Jill, Mike & Me… 1961

There were four of us, growing up on twenty acres at the bottom of Bunk Foss Road. Once in awhile a cousin would come to play, or some of our parents friends who had kids our age would come to visit, but mostly it was us four Campbell Kids. Together we blazed trails through the woods and built forts beneath the canopy of towering evergreens. Up on the hill behind our house, there was an old chicken coop. I don’t think we ever raised hens or gathered eggs, but sometimes we would get ambitious and sweep it out for a make-do clubhouse. A Transparent apple tree grew beside it and in August when the apples started to ripen and fall, the deer would come, feast on the windfalls and rest in the shade. One time we (Mike) came up with the brilliant idea to capture one of the deer for a pet. I’m not sure how we lured the poor creature into the coop, but when that door closed, and she was locked in, the term ‘wild animal’ was defined for us. Lurching and rearing and searching for an escape, it’s a miracle none of us were trampled before we got that door opened and the deer bounded away.

As teenagers, we moved from the country into a house in town. With a rec room in the basement and a pool in the backyard, our house was the gathering spot. I think we moved in mid winter, but on the first sort of nice day in March, Mike was the first one in the pool. I’m pretty sure there’s an eight millimeter movie somewhere of the fastest jump, splash, exit in history.

Mike wrestled and played football for the Panthers. Friday nights found our house full of friends and family of all ages, eating snacks around our big dining room table and rehashing the game. Glory days for sure!

A couple of years ago when we were all in Arizona, Mike invited me on a road trip. “Hey, do you want to take a drive on the Apache Trail? Everyone says it’s beautiful!” How could I resist? He picked me up early and away we went. It’s not often as adults that we get undivided time with a sibling, but there I was. We were on the road for about ten hours, exploring historic spots and stopping at every scenic viewpoint. Reminiscing our shared times, and listening to him replay some of his shenanigans was an experience I will never forget!

Today I celebrate my baby brother and wish him a happy birthday. Growing up with built in best friends was great fun, growing old with them is even better! Love you baby bro!

My Baby Brother

Peace. Love. Amen.