Written in the sky

Glorious clouds

By Sherrie Robins

It was a most unusual day. It had started out differently. Ordinary. Nice. With a bit of spontaneous adventure thrown in.

We headed out to grab the last vestiges of the sunflower fields. It was later in the Fall, but thought that some interesting shots must still be there. My Son had recently earned his drone pilot’s license, and he was ready to use it! I love tagging along, on my always curious adventure of finding new photos.

We arrived and honestly, it was a field of almost all dead flowers, something that wouldn’t work very well for drone footage.

Undaunted, we headed out towards the lake. Lake Ontario offers the lure of a great photo opportunity.

We were zigzagging  through the countryside, when I spotted a darling country church. With the Autumn leaves in force, we agreed this could also work for us.

So we left the car and came towards the church from the other side, revealing a beautiful tree lined lane leading down the center of a large cemetery. I grabbed some shots of Sean, walking there, amidst the trees and tombstones and thinking of his near brush with death…but that’s another story.

Sean then took his turn and let the drone do it’s work, to his satisfaction.

We eventually meandered over to the Niagara River at it’s mouth, leading into Lake Ontario. Here he got the eye-candy shots he’d been looking for.

Later in the day, after our journey had concluded, I stopped at the grocery store.  Police and various emergency vehicles were lined up in front of the entrance, so I hesitated to venture in, but they were finishing up and and waved me in.

Curious as to the nature of the incident and knowing it probably wasn’t good, I hoped for the best. But, I came to find out, a man had just died.

Perusing the aisles, amidst broccoli and baked breads my mind wandered. What had he been thinking? Did he realize that this very ordinary errand would be his final deed?

At the checkout, a cashier filled me in. The gentleman and his wife were on their way home from the hospital, where he had just been discharged. They’d stopped in to pick up a few groceries when he began tp experience some pain and became in need of assistance. My cashier had urged him to let her call an ambulance, but he said he was fine.  Again she’d offered, but he refused. Soon he collapsed. The ambulance came anyway.   He didn’t make it.

After all, it had just been a trip to the store. I’m sure he’d been hundreds of times during his lifetime. Yet, this was the end.

So, I left with my purchases, mulling it all over.

Loading up my goods in the trunk, I couldn’t help but notice the sky developing towards something good and quickly grabbed my camera. The day’s events were rolling around in my mind. The dead sunflower field. The trip to the graveyard. The man’s last moments in the grocery store.

I watched as the huge clouds billowed and blossomed, slowly but steadily ballooning before my eyes. Great giant cauliflower heads, juxtaposed against dark, gloomy storm clouds.

As all this played out, the sun’s setting rays reached from behind, lighting the sky afire.

It was all so…should I say it, heavenly?

And then, as clear as anything, a Scripture verse popped into my mind “Oh death, where is your victory, oh grave, where is your sting?”

The point had been made. Through this ordinary/extraordinary day, death had been woven throughout. We’d been searching for anything but; the life and beauty of  flowers, the stateliness of a country church, amid the colorful life of autumn and finally engaging in the completely ordinary task of picking up groceries to bring happiness and health to our family. Then, it came down to my continual pursuit of photos which turned out to reveal a poignant wrap up for the entire day! The crowning glory of it!

The day should have, or at least could have had a pall over it. It had been marred by death. But the exclamation mark at the end of the sentence sent shivers down my spine.

Reflecting on all that had transpired, the events had culminated in a final point, beautifully portrayed through that drama in the sky. We can indeed, search for life amidst the ashes. Because, inevitably, we all face it, this thing called death. Every person born on the planet, this place called earth. This wonderful, amazing, awesome, painful, dreadful, unbelievable place.

Perhaps one day I may revisit the cemetery and read some of the epitaphs written on the tombstones to see what those who walked our path before us felt was important enough to leave as their parting words. I may walk, down that tree lined lane, grateful our Son is still with us. Or maybe I’ll stroll through the sunflower field in summer, soaking in it’s warmth, pondering how all will soon be brown and dry and fall to the earth. Or I might even comb the aisles of that store, remembering how a man had once done the same, and picked up his last loaf of bread, never to be eaten.

But most importantly and most assuredly, I will recall the revelation of water droplets and light, which declared hope, written in the sky for all to see. It was the beauty, the glory, that took the sting out of it all. The verse dropped into my heart; the bloom of heaven, light revealed, causing darkness to slink away. “Oh grave, where is your victory? Oh death, where is your sting?”

Yes. That was enough for me.

Out of Season

Beautiful blossoms in a Spring snowfall

I thought that I was ready

The sun was warm and clear.

Calling me to brighter days,

To blossom, without fear.

But it seems that I was wrong,

The cold winds began to blow,

Then white fell on my petals,

The sky was filled with snow.

I bowed my head down in despair,

My branches heavy laden,

So saddened by the timing

And the burden I was bearing.

But children came out of their doors,

In the snow began to play,

Drawing out their parents,

Inside they did not want to stay.

Then gasps of awe and laughter rang,

By children, Moms and Dads,

They saw that this was beautiful,

More than they thought they had,

Seen in many days and years,

And joy filled up their hearts,

It seems the time was right in making,

From the very start.

S. Robins

Closed Gates

The beautiful front gate of Buckingham Palace.

Some gates will be open to you.

Some will not.

This might just be the best thing that ever happened to you.

S. Robins

I wrote this, thinking back on so many closed opportunities that in retrospect, I’m nothing but grateful for.

Can you do the same? Feel free to comment.

The woven pattern of hope

Did you ever wonder at the display of colors, at the close of the day? At the warmth of amber, the shine of gold, the brilliance of orange and variances red? How the hues of sky blue morph into indigo, violet, purple and grey, deepening shades on a heavenly pallet?

Have you ever given pause, when your daily tasks are nearing completion, and the whirling thoughts give way to the window of your soul? Do you take a moment to ponder the vision, and sometimes bombastic entryway of brilliance upon the horizon? What does it do to you when the sky is on fire? How do you feel when day gives way to night, softly, like the delicate and deep textures of velvet?

Have you ever been so preoccupied in your own realm, that seemingly, eternity forcibly nudges you, demanding attention? “Stop! Look at me! I’m here!”

Daylight could have had a very different pattern of departure, if you think about it. For instance, what if a harrowing closure of thunder and lightening showed up to shake your bones on a nightly basis? Not the fascinating light shows, from a distance, dancing and dazzling over tropical waters, but rather, more like the apocalyptic horror shows of Sci-Fi Hollywood? Gratefully, this is not the case!

No, the color-filled sunsets are the ones we look for. And maybe, it is in that hope of a beautiful display lies the seed of hope, itself; hope that after the long dark night, light will return. Hope that glory will emerge at Dawn. Hope for the world, designed into the fabric of the tides of time, the rhythms and patterns of the sun, reaching out with love from the Creator, for you and for me.

copyright 2020 @Sherrie Robins #sherrierobinsart #perspectives_mag #2chicks2go #lessonsinperspective #inspiration #encouragement #hope #writing #photography #sunsetphotography #niagara

Figuring it out

“His hair comes off!”

Our two year old Grandson had never seen a carved pumpkin before, and certainly never participated in creating one. So Papa thought it would be a golden opportunity to “make a moment.”

Off we trudged; Papa and Mimi, to the market to buy the perfect pumpkin, just for carving. I’d say we did pretty well, except for the fact that it sat a bit lopsided, on the table. But that, along with Bucky’s singular tooth, only seemed to add to his character.

Little G had no concept of what he was in for. I mean…nothing! We picked four pumpkin faces from the Internet from which to choose. I showed them to him and asked “which one would you like us to use?“ He looked at the pumpkin sitting on the table and pointed, saying “I want that one!” I quickly explained that he needed to pick one of these, for us to draw on the pumpkin. He chose what we dubbed “Bucky.”

So, Bucky it was!

I followed the sketch on my phone, and drew it freehand, with a marker. Greyson was surprised to see his pumpkin come to life.

The revelations continued as we took Bucky outside, and Papa inserted the knife in it’s noggin and scalped him! Then, much to his surprise, his Mommy directed him to pull it’s inside’s out. Are you kidding?

I must say, he took all this pretty much in stride, as being a toddler, alone, is a daily discovery. (Oh the wonders of poddy-training…)

So, they scooped, and they carved and behold! There was Bucky!

One of G’s favorite things about his new friend, was taking his “hair” off and putting it on, again. And again. And again…

So we left him to insert cars and small containers and spoons into Bucky’s now vacuous skull, and went about doing “Adult” things.

After dinner, Papa couldn’t wait to light the candle in Bucky’s head and turn out all the lights. Greyson was still playing with his food, and wondered why it suddenly was dark. We all chimed in to turn around and to look at the Jack-o-lantern.

Greyson cried out with delight! “Jack-o-lantern! Jack-o-lantern!” His little two year old body jumping up and down on the chair, a smile as big as Bucky’s on his face!

To tell the truth, I think that same silly grin was plastered, all over the room, on each and every one of our mugs.

This morning I am pondering the moment, and extrapolating some truth. Isn’t life often just that messy, that surprising, perhaps horrifying, revelatory and wonderful? We certainly don’t fully know what we’re doing or where it’s taking us. And when someone starts carving or scalping we just want it to stop!

Who knew grabbing the brains out of a pumpkin could provide a friend? Or turning out the lights bring such a gift?

So perhaps we could just go with the twists and turns, of the many hairpin curves of life. (In this case, the knife carving into good old a Bucky’s head.) Perhaps not clutching tightly to a knife we cannot wield, maybe not thinking we know best. Maybe, acknowledging we need to learn, and grow and discover, allowing our loving Papa to show us the many wonders of life. After all, what is more enjoyable than for a Father to guide, protect, teach and bring joy to his very own?

S. Robins

Light over dark

Light versus dark

We were out for an evening walk, at a lake, in Niagara. There was a cool Autumn feel to the air, and I was glad for my jacket. As we crossed the street, we noticed the sun highlighting the gold on the treetops. It was so evident because much of the sky around was grey or even black.

The beauty made us stop, and take it in. How very splendid it was!

But, in my heart, it was also poignant. Light is always lovely, but never so spectacular as when darkness looms. Sunsets tell us so. Rain clouds. Sunbeams breaking through a stormy sky. The sun rising up past the long, black, starless night.

So, what do we do with this heavenly tableaux? This eternal storytelling, looking up? Perhaps we take a lesson of recollection. After all, it is always darkest before the dawn.

But even if the dark wins out, for a season, for a time; that’s what candles are for. The blackest of nights cannot snuff out the light shining from even one small candle.

And what can be more impactful than a gathering of hundreds or thousands of individuals, together, holding their little lights in hand?

See the light. Reflect the light. Shine the light. Be the light.

S. Robins

Finding our way…Autumn Joy

T’is the season…

To appreciate the things and the people we love.

Fall is many things…farmers markets, leaves, pumpkins and cozy nights by the fire.

But what about this year? Can we still find joy?

We have to work a lot harder, but I do believe we can!

Tell us how you find yours. In the simple things or something more elaborate?

Here are some of ours…

…remembering…

…Exploring…
…Learning…
…Taking in the moments…
…….
……
…Being thankful…
…Awareness of the past and present…
…Taking time with your tribe…
…loving…
…Grabbing the goodness…
…Storing up for the future…
…Snuggling your fur baby…
…being surprised…by JOY!…
…Not letting the sun go down on your anger…
…Taking time for others, and yourself…
…Enjoying the simple things with panache, and a grateful heart.
…And remember…even if we don’t know what we’re doing…make the best of it…

The Path ~ by Sherrie Robins ~

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 The Path

A Pondersome Poem

~ by Sherrie Robins ~

 

There is a path that I must choose,

Sometimes it isn’t win or lose,

A spider’s web I must walk through,

Shoulder’s back, I’m pressing to

Reach the other side of grief,

Of loss or sorrow,

Prolonged or brief.

A muddled brain

Wipe clean the slate,

I must press on,

Not hesitate.

Not always sure of right or wrong,

But love remaining true and strong,

It pulls us to where we belong,

Past sorrow’s downward gait.

I keep my eyes on forward prize,

Not warm distractions here,

Of comforts by the fireside,

Or giving in to fear.

No, I must choose for betterment,

For myself, and others too,

If I but keep my shoulder’s back,

I know I can press through.

And then, at darkest moments when,

I’m empty, can’t press forward then,

I look to you, my kindest friend,

To hold me, as you do.

For you know well of what you speak,

Of love’s great cost, and no retreat,

You know me well, Achilles’s heal

No stranger to your eyes.

It may not be of right or wrong,

But only love, it’s own sweet song,

That pulls me to where I belong,

The truth unveiled, my friend.

 

 

 

Hold On…

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Original artwork, Sherrie Robins

It was just another Tuesday.

Just another day to fall short of my goals. To fall into the negative patterned sometimes words in my head, vile and self-berating; an unfortunate family trait.

I plodded through the city streets, absently looking at the black zig-zagged patterns which had been sprayed on an old brick wall. Some would call it graffiti, I thought it looked more like dark side of the inner workings of my mind, and it repelled me.

You see, I wasn’t one of the uppers. One of the cream, who floated to the top. Someone, after-all, had to clean up after everyone else.

I worked at a hospital and among my tasks was to pick up the broken pieces, parts which had to be disposed of.  I carted them down the basement corridor to their final resting place; the incinerator. I wondered at the day when I might end up there, whole, and turned into ashes.

But something in me fought the ugly and the blackness that continually tried to snuff out anything good I had inside. There was a duality, which sometimes I cherished, and sometimes was just an irritation.

Though negativity threatened to douse the light, I held on tight and searched frantically at the end of the tunnel. A little voice inside my head just wouldn’t shut up. “Hold on!” For the life of me I couldn’t figure out where it had come from. My family was nothing but soot and sludge and mud on my boots. It hadn’t come from them.

My eyes had always seen the one flower struggling to grow on the side of the cliff. They had spied out the reflection of the sky in a broken window.

My ears had learned to hear a note and a song, above the traffic below on the city streets. Sirens would blare, horns would honk and the hum of brakes and motors would buzz on all night long. But I would hear that single voice or song as the car with the open window passed by.

Even though the smell of sulfur emanated from the factory and hovered over our neighborhood like a dark cloud, my nose would yearn for the bakery, remembering the incense of freshly baked bread.

All day, my hands touched the untouchable. Uncomfortable gloves closed off the air and made me itch. But they longed for the soft, blanket-like fur of my cat, who loved me more than I loved myself.

The air of my neighborhood was not fresh, but chemical laden. The hospital smelled of antiseptic and rot and all things foul. I couldn’t eat when I was at work. I brought a can of chocolate flavored artificial vitamins and plugged my nose and gulped, trying not to wretch. But oh, the food that awaited me when I came home! My neighbor lady, downstairs was always cooking up a storm. She was European and smelled of onions, and gardens, and foreign salty seas. Every night she had a container of food waiting and kindly handed it to me when I walked in the door.

“Hold on!” said the voice, through her homemade perogies.

“Hold on!” said my purring fluff of fur.

“Hold on!” said the bread and the sky’s reflection and the flower on the cliff.

Deep inside I knew that Spring followed winter and sun followed cloud. That the light of just one candle would break through the empty darkness of the long, long night.

And so I fought that darkness that was within, though hope despaired.

“Hold on!” cried the candle and the voice and the lives spared inside the corridors of antiseptic and pain.

And so, I did…