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Archive for July, 2009

flowers
i mentioned in my last blog that i’ve been doing a bit of writing and recording this summer. The songs are pretty simply arranged, mostly guitars, vocal and maybe a light keyboard; and they are a smorgasbord of subjects — a lullaby, an airport moment song, a marriage proposal (no, not my own), a communion song, a hymn, you get the idea. … i think the total at this point is 10. … Next Monday, August 3, i’ll start putting them up here on the blog, one a day with some background and comments to each song. i hope you’ll stop by and give them a listen. Your comments would be welcome. Tell a friend?

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Summertime

garden

It’s hard to believe that July is almost over. My summer home stay is fully two-thirds done and it will not be long before drives to the Atlanta airport become a familiar part of my schedule again. The time here has been good. i’ve managed to stay on something like a routine, one which has been a good mix of indoor/mental and outdoor/physical work.
Mornings i’ve been getting up at 5 to read and say my prayers before getting to the studio at around 6:30 or so, where i’ve been writing and recording new material (such pleasant work). i’m usually in the studio (and in the air conditioning) till around 1:00 in the afternoon and then, at the hottest part of the day, i grad a quick bite and head outside to do whatever needs to be done. (Lately, i’ve been cutting lots of firewood.) The relentless growth of weeds and a steady output of vegetables has kept me in the garden on an almost daily basis too.
Late afternoons, usually pretty worn out, it’s back indoors. Prepare food, cook, visit with friends or family who join me for supper, clean up and the day is pretty well gone and i’m pretty much exhausted. But i’m exhausted in the best sense of the word, exhaustion induced by a day fully lived. It’s a good tired.
Weekends have felt like weekends. i still work outside on Saturdays a good bit but have time to visit, to study for Sunday School (i teach on third Sundays), and to read guilt-free for hours at a stretch.
Sundays i’ve been trying to observe something like a day of rest. Old Testament readings have challenged me deeply in that regard, as have Wendell Berry’s thoughts and a book by Norman Wirzba, Living the Sabbath; Discovering the Rhythms of Rest and Delight. After church, i pretty much shut things down and don’t stray too far from the house. i’ve not had a television for several months now and the silence and stillness of Sundays is hard to get used to. It can almost be eerie. But the practice, in a short time, has become increasingly comfortable and, when travels resume in a few weeks, i’m thinking that Sunday might be the part i’ll miss most of all about my time at home.
In the midst of it all, there have been lots of short visits, neighborly conversation, Thursday morning gatherings on the porch, meals with Mary, time with family, things to think about as I work. Simple life; simply good.
Well … that is way too much about me. Consider it my letter home from summer camp, the short version of “what i did on my summer vacation.”

FOOTNOTE:
So what about the songs that i’ve written and recorded over the summer? i think that i’m going to be posting those to the website, probably here on the blog, starting in the next week or two. i’m thinking a song a day for 10 days. Stay tuned and we’ll post a notice soon.
i hope your summer’s gone well.

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June 18, 2reaching009

A year ago, I would have filed it away as useless information.

But this year, I’m a hobby gardener.

And since I heard that statement a week ago as I was walking down a row of pole beans with Mr. John Willis, at his place in Pine Mountain, I have beheld it with a certain reverence and fascination.

“The vine runs clockwise.”

We were walking through his garden, beside the pole beans (sometimes called string beans), which are known for a tendency to wind and climb. The young tendrils look for something to wrap around and then begin climbing at remarkable speed. Mine grew approximately 3 feet in less than a week. Mr. John, like myself, had made a trellis of string and wire for the pole beans to climb but the tendrils had outgrown the 6 foot height of the trellis and were dangling in open air looking, it seemed, for something to attach to. So, as we walked, Mr. John would pause to gently pull the thin tendril to the trellis and then wind it around the string so that it continue climbing sideways or downward.

I followed his example. The row, after all, is a hundred feet long and there were lots of renegade tendrils that needed coaching to get back to the string. And that is when Mr. John made the statement. He pointed out that the vine, by God’s design, grows, bends, winds in a particular direction, clockwise, and that, in guiding it along the trellis, I should wind it to keep with its natural tendency. I don’t know that it makes any difference or not to the actual growth of the plant but I was struck by the farmer’s attentiveness to that which was under his care. It’s a small, small thing, a minor detail, but it shows a high degree of thoughtfulness and even a kindness to the world. It seems reminiscent of a God Who keeps account of sparrows and knows the hairs on our heads.

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