We in Oklahoma
may complain
about the weather—
wind, rain, drought, temperature—
and about the state legislature,
politicians, our representation in Congress—
well, anyway….
When the list gets long
and we sink into
demoralization,
and think
again
that we need to think
about moving somewhere,
anywhere…
but, realizing we really don’t want
to do that,
some Oklahoma button in our brains
goes off automatically
and we suddenly remember
the sky.
Oklahoma swoons over
the sky—
especially the morning
and evening
sky.

We all have seen the sky turn beautiful colors
in the morning and evening
in other places.
But Oklahoma’s sky is almost always
beautiful. And sometimes,
it is exquisite—
as the western sky was last night.

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Standing long,
watching the changes,
trying to take in the beauty
deeply
is a balm
for practically everything.
Doing so
instantly creates a shift
in perspective.
Indeed: Morning,
evening,
Oklahoma looks to the sky
above this rolling land
and remembers,
one more time,
one rather significant reason
we stay.

 

The surprises that come
in Spring
can be breathtaking.

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Ann and Frank were walking along
the pond dam,
along the more remote,
more wooded,
northeast corner of the pond
when a moth on a tree
took their breath.
It was the biggest
they had ever seen.
Turns out,
the Hyalophora Cecropia
is the largest moth
in North America!

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I was driving
south
as the sun was about to appear
in the east.
It was raining…raining!
Enough to use the windshield wipers!
Clouds in the east
made the sun’s appearance quite beautiful
and I was trying to pay attention
to the road
and look back over my shoulder
at the sky-sun-clouds.
When, suddenly,
a full-blown bright rainbow
appeared hugely
right on the road in front of me.
And a fainter sister
alongside.
I called out…
and thrilled aloud again
when sun appeared fully
and turned all the landscape
to the west of the rainbow
golden.

 

Seems like
what the sun looks like
in the evening
as Earth rolls up,
is often replicated
next morning
as Earth rolls over
and sun is revealed once again.
If the sky is pastel in the evening,
seems like it will be pastel
next morning.
If the sun is a red ball in the evening,
seems like it will be a red ball
next morning.
Lately,
the sun has been a giant red ball
in the evening.
And one morning this week
it looked like a red ball
then too.
Doesn’t matter, really.
But every human viewing the sun
at horizon
does matter.
Stopping
morning and evening
to remember
that sun is the
center
of our existence,
holding us in space,
warming us,
creating life on this planet,
is prayer.
And what a beautiful
prayer it is.

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Evening Sun, May 25

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July 3

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July 13

Last evening,
the sun didn’t show as a red ball.
It lined storm clouds in gold.

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And then,
just before Earth rolled up,
and we lost sight of it for the night,
the last golden light
shone across the cloud cover
turning a giant V-shaped piece of sky
pink and purple.

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Amen.

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It is U.S. Independence Day
and here in our country
the day dawns
softly.
Before I can see it,
the sun colors clouds —
and the bowl of waning moon—
pink.
This July morning is not brassy and hot.
It is not shouting and exploding.
It is whispering.
Meadowlark’s clear notes
ring through the sweet hush.
Mockingbird sings a few songs,
until Kildeer cries.
Doves coo off in the distance
and,
too long absent,
two hummingbirds whir passed
the sugar water waiting on the porch.
Sister Mockingbird comes to sit
close, on a branch,
again.
When I find her face among the leaves,
looking my way,
she says something in one soft syllable.
I weep.
It is interdependence day
in our country.

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Coming home
from two weeks in Palestine,
requires transitions.
It’s been three days now
and I’m still there,
here.
There, in the clutch
of a people
occupied and oppressed.

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In the warmth and hospitality
of their eagerness
for us to know them,
their lives.
There, in their struggle
and resistance.
Images cling:
of fertile agricultural valleys,
a tall, cement wall that separates,
a blue sea that’s really a large lake,
ancient olive trees,
tables laden with food,
winding, steep, bumpy roads,
churches and mosques and synagogues—
some ancient crumbles,
some with spires rising to the sky.
Faces,
black and white scarves,
red scarves,
black hats,
long robes,
faces.
Children’s faces.

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Above all,
a sense of place
so profound
I can still sense it
here,
at home,
on the prairie—
where I now can see
what I caught no glimpse of there:
the color of the sky
before the morning sun,
the color of the sky
after the evening sun,
a short spectrum of rainbow
in the clouds this morning;
I can let the stars in the cold, black
big, welcoming sky
take me.
I don’t know what to do
about many things:
global warming and drought here,
the injustices of occupation in Palestine.
I just know,
now,
and stand
under the stars,
remembering,
the streets of Bethlehem.

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Home on the Prairie

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Streets of Bethlehem

Something bright
catches my eye
and I look up,
then watch
the male pheasant
walk from the line of cedar trees
across the grass, the driveway
and into the yard,
his bronze breast glowing
in the morning sun.
He is alone,
come to find the seed
I’ve strewn in the straw covering
the garden.
He doesn’t eat long
and then walks all the way back
to the tree line
without ever taking flight.
He seems to walk gingerly,
as if he’s carrying a precious gift.
And of course,
he is: beauty.
Then, before he ducks into the shade of the trees
he stands in the sunshine facing east.

Morning Sky 22 October 2010

A photograph never captures
the sky in the morning
as Earth rolls over
and reveals Sun.
For one thing,
I am rarely up watching
the process unfold,
at first light,
which arrives imperceptibly
even when I am sitting in the dark
watching.
On the most colorful mornings,
the light and color change
seemingly
in five second intervals.
The color grows strong
and then as we get close to seeing
the sun
it fades
in the brilliant
uncontrollable
expanse of golden light.
There is no way for me
to capture that in a photograph.
Only one second
is captured in the lens.
As beautiful as it may be,
there is nothing,
no image,
no word
that can express
the growing expanse of brilliance and beauty
that awakens
in the watcher.

Morning Sky 25 October 2010