I write, simply write Tuesday, Jun 25 2013 

Sunrise SpringsWhen there’s nothing left to do, write! This piece survives since a 2005 National Writing Project retreat in New Mexico. It’s a re-blog from a year more memorable than any other in my life, but re-blogs are OK.

Composed At Sunrise Springs, New Mexico
June 2005

Out here on the veranda overlooking Sunrise Springs
I’ll just write for me …
But I don’t know what.
I don’t know what because not a sorrow
Disturbs my peace.
My soul is fat,
Sleek,
Blessed beyond measure
Because this heart
Feels no hurt that God cannot heal,
Weighs no grief that hope cannot bear,
Knows no longing that love cannot satisfy.

So be it sufficient
To write about idle things, like . . .

Shimmering aspen leaves touched by the sunswept breeze.
Glistening trinkets splashing in fountains,
Dancing on ponds,
And ripples scurrying shoreward
Beneath over aching boughs of willow and cotton wood
Under a cloudless canopy
Of blue mountain sky
As I write,
Simply write.
Thank you, Lord, to be so blessed.

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Sensory word play: An early morning thundershower Friday, Jun 21 2013 

The Gulf Coast radars have been lit up most mornings this week of summer's debut.

The Gulf Coast radars have been lit up most mornings this week of summer’s debut.

Bored in a workshop yesterday morning, I amused myself with pen and paper. Maybe this by-product of invention will turn into something poetic one day. For now, I preserve it here as a sensory artifact that may be useful one day in a larger creative project.

An early morning thundershower
on the first day of summer
smells like mildew,
musky and dank
in laden air:
heavy to breathe,
easy to sweat,
nicer to sleep
late.

Outdoor living at home: The creation of “Happy Place” Monday, Jun 17 2013 

The Happy Place is shrouded in green shade, surrounded by blooming flowers and shrubs.

The Happy Place is shrouded in green shade, surrounded by blooming flowers and shrubs.

The happy place is steps away from the patio.

The happy place is steps away from the patio.

Other times at this blog, I’ve shared memoirs and photos of the backyard outdoor dwelling that so gloriously takes place in our back yard. Oddly prompted by the imposition of hurricanes–Lili in 2002 which blew the 10′ X 10′ storage shed off its concrete foundation and Gustav in 2007 which took half of the corrugated fiberglass sheets off the patio cover–we modified those spaces for different adaptations over the years.

This year’s significant expansion of that outdoor living area incorporated the formerly fenced-off corner of the back yard known once upon a time as a dog pen but more recently as the wood yard. This was the space with the bare 10 X 10 slab set aside, post-Lili, for cutting, splitting, and stacking firewood. We obscured its unsightliness with a five foot hedge that also hid about 200 square feet of the southeast corner of the backyard.

With the recent decision to abandon use of the fireplace, and ergo the need for a wood splitting/stacking area, we decided to open the area and capitalize on the concrete slab to make what Sarah calls our “Happy Place.” The Happy Place is o’ershaded from the east (the rear) by sprawling Live Oak branches growing from across the alley and from the north by a burgeoning Wisteria vine that we’ve given the liberty over the years to crawl and expand along 60 or 70 feet of backyard fence combined. The Happy Place is linked to the covered patio by a 15 foot brick walkway.

We’re still planting and landscaping, but the result to date has been not just gratifying, but downright enchanting. The openness of the improvement to that space, abetted by removing the boring hedge that cut off all view past six feet from the patio, created an aesthetic. In fact, the allure of the Happy Place from the patio draws the observer to move from the patio into the verdant shade in that corner of the yard.

The site remains a work in progress. As the plants and shrubs mature, we envision an increasingly peaceful retreat just feet from the back door, framed and enshrouded by nature.

Just For the “Well” of It! Thursday, Jun 13 2013 

All's well that ends well, especially in the  doctor's office.

All’s well that ends well, especially in the doctor’s office.

I completed my annual wellness procedure yesterday afternoon when I dropped off the hemoccult kit at the family doctor’s office. Just a few hours later, I noticed I had missed a call on my phone–I recognized the doctor’s office number.

In such moments, human nature cringes. Why are they calling so soon? When I call back, what dire announcement will I hear? Will I be summoned for further testing to clarify some irregularity in the result? that I’m being referred to a specialist because of some troublesome indication? that the test result dictates some grim diagnosis?

Oh, well. Come what may, gotta take this in stride! Gulp hard, take a deep breath, redial:

“Dr. Ware’s office.”

“Hello, this is David Pulling, returning a missed call from earlier this afternoon.”

“Oh, yes, Mr. Pulling. Just one moment.”

Put on hold. Silence intensifies drama. Shortly another voice picks up:

“Mr. Pulling, we just wanted to let you know that your hemoccult test came out clear.”

“Ah, that’s all? Oh, that’s great. Thanks a lot.” I cheerfully replied, suppressing the impulse to cry out a loud “Whodat” victory cheer.

Alas, the joy of wellness. Sooner or later, according to the hard and inalterable course of nature, it will end. Till then, I count wellness as one of those unaccountable commodities of grace that calls for thanksgiving: just for the well of it!

“The Love Bridge Waltz”: A Rare Moment, Surrounded by Legends! Monday, Jun 10 2013 

From last Friday morning: A rare moment for me, the amateur Cajun musician: playing here with the legendary Harry Lafleur (violin to my right) and Jane Balfa Cormier, daughter of the legendary Will Balfa (violin to the farthest right). My other friends are mortals like me–Matt Fruge playing the accordion to my right and Joy Cleveland playing fiddle to my left. I’ll remember this gig for a long time!

Farewell, My Friend Carolyn Ward Friday, Jun 7 2013 

Farewell, Carolyn. Should we be pitied more than you? After all, you left well in so many ways.

Carolyn Ward, too soon departed (for us, but not for her!)

Carolyn Ward, too soon departed (for us, but not for her!)

You cheated old age out of creaky joints and bedpans.
You will never again endure sleepless nights or tiring days.
You slipped the snare of dread disease: no Alzheimer’s, no terminal cancer, no debilitating illness to waste away your days in anguish or burden your loved ones.
You will never again be vexed by cocoa grass in your garden (your blessed mother’s bane, as well!).
You will never again have to clean house or pick up after Jerry.
You will never awaken to depressing headlines on the morning news, reminding us that we below tarry in a fallen world.
You will never again stress out over trivial mortal matters that always seemed so important but now really don’t matter.

Yes, we should be pitied more than you.

But not so much because we’re left below to worry about these earthly woes. No, like you, we with your faith will endure those carnal travails in the same good spirit and with the same steadfast hope that you endured. The reason we should be pitied, rather, is that our days now are deprived of your presence and walk among us. Forgive us if we seem selfish, but we so miss your place and presence.

Of course, we know that your return is impossible. We must remember that the intervening days or years or decades of our transient lives (who knows how long we have, as your sudden passing reminds us) are but innumerable grains of sand in the hour glass of eternity. Let us then live our remaining days or years or decades well, as you gave us example with your full and rich life, hoping and trusting and longing for one day when we dance with you on the other side where charming roses bloom forever.

God bless your family and your memory, and God bless all of us left here below, till we meet again!

From February to May, disgrace to glory: Baseball is a funny game Monday, Jun 3 2013 

Did Murray State have more to play for?

Did Murray State have more to play for?

On a Saturday in mid-February from the press box at Bengal Stadium, I watched the most embarrassing on-the-field performance I’ve ever seen by a college team when Murray State University got pummeled by the Bengals, 26-3. I looked up the box score from that game this morning: the starting pitcher only lasted 2.2 innings after giving up 9 runs on nine hits. Judging from the final score, obviously, the parade of pitchers that followed only perpetuated the ineptitude. In fact, I remember wincing during that game as the score and the embarrassment rose against the Oklahomans. Sure, I always want my team to win, but I also have a streak of humanity: carnage on the field of play, whether literal or figurative, isn’t good for the game.

And that game wasn’t the entire February weekend story for Murray State. Not only did they lose that Saturday debacle, but we swept them in the three game series, winning the other two games by not-so-close scores of 7-3 and 5-1.

Really, had someone predicted to me at the end of that weekend that LSU Eunice would play this team for the national championship at the end of May, I would have laughed at a foolish joke.

But what a difference two and a half months makes! Last Saturday night, the same losing starter from the February fiasco, Brian Horn, pitched a complete game against LSU Eunice in the national championship final, giving up a modest 3 runs on seven hits. Final score: National champion Murray State 4, runners-up LSU Eunice 3.

Gollee. Baseball is a funny game, especially around end-of-season tournament time. Who knows how the fickle finger of fate will wiggle? In this instance, I strongly suspect that the 26-3 humiliation dwelled in those Murray State players’ memories as a searing nightmare since mid-February. Given the chance to avenge that embarrassment on a stage as grandiose as the national championship final, I suspect the sense of honor they felt and defended was superior to the Bengals’ motivation. In gamesmanship, who can account for such intangibles?

My mental anguish was such that I couldn’t post this reflection on the tournament until this morning. Accepting loss is always hard, especially when I believed going into that game that LSU Eunice was clearly superior. And I still believe that in a best-of-seven against Murray State, LSU Eunice would win. But a few days later now at the point where time is beginning to heal all wounds, the disappointment of losing wanes. Bitterness is eased by confessing the rightful consolation that finishing second in the national championship still looks pretty good on the team’s resume. And remembering how embarrassed I felt for Murray State and Brian Horn on their Saturday of disgrace in February, I’m even a little happy for them, too, because there’s an impulse in the human spirit that admires comeback and prompts the sportsman’s gesture, the congratulatory handshake of concession after getting beat fair and square.

So ends 2013 LSU Eunice baseball, a funny game that will no doubt entertain us well in years to come. To that end, we hoist the rally cry for 2014: Geaux, Bengals!