Saturday, January 24, 2015

Seeing Life Through the Screen Door

We had a screened door on our porch at the back of the house where I grew up.  There were five wooden rickety steps with a wooden railing on the right going down. It was seldom repainted and so  it had a white flaky appearance and the door was always covered in some kind of heavy duty plastic.  It was not attractive but served its practical purposes.  It was the door most often used by the whole family.  The door had a hinge at the top that keep it from gaping open and kept it banging at an irregular cadence with each use. The door faced a pale pink sprawling rose bush on the right and  down a lightly wooded path to the barn.  The smoke house blocked some of the path and the car shed stood to the left.  Some of my earliest memories include me sitting on those back steps playing with Gray, our cat or rubbing our good natured  dog on the belly.  A thousand times we trod those steps to bring in groceries or produce from the garden.  I can see in my mind my mama maneuvering a load of clean laundry through that door and down those steps. We were called inside from play at the  top of those steps.  Through this door we often came dirty from the field into a steamy kitchen laden with the smells of supper. The first sight of our dad's return from work was at this door. It was our portal through which we entered the outside world and where we returned to the safety of home.

As we grew older and could drive, the backdoor welcomed us home from our part time jobs or those return visits home from college.  The seasons passed and the traffic at the door slowed down, I was the last to leave for college and the door became almost silent except when my mom and dad would occasionally use it.  They started coming in the front to save my mama some steps.  She had given up hanging her laundry out years before.

When I was twenty, my sister Wanda passed away and we all came back.  I stood in the kitchen and looked through that door as the very sky poured down torrents of rain that matched the sadness in my soul.  Inside this door was supposed to be safe.  I felt betrayed.  We weathered that storm  but several years later mama passed away too.  I once again found a great grief through this door.   I soon brought my future husband to this door and after that a little baby boy.  Life presses forward even in the face of loss and grief.

My dad grew older and less steady in his steps and we were uncomfortable in his using that door any longer, but even as he approached 90, he did not give into our wishes.  The steps became more rickety even through they had been patched up over the years.  Finally the day came that he left home to go to a retirement center.  The house was shut up and the door grew totally silent.  The smoke house, barn and car shed met their demise as time took its toil.  The rose bush became overgrown and the path through the woods indistinct.  He passed away five years later.

We lived a lot of life in our little house.  During my years growing up the world kept alluring with  promises of pleasures, excitement and fulfillment.  In my immaturity I did not know that the satisfying life was really right there through that back door.  It is the ordinary things that bring the most life and happiness.  The things centered around home and family.  Therein lies our security and our treasures in this life.  It is people and relationship!  The people who matter the most are the ones that God has given us in our families.  We each have a stewardship for each person.

 Our old house stands empty with a for sale sign just waiting for someone to find that portal to a good life at that old screen door.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Of Winter

 Of Winter
            I like the sound of crows cawing
                      in barren trees
     and  music of forlorn rustling leaves.

I like chimney wood smoke
on a bitter breeze
And  watery sunshine standing sentinel against the winter freeze.

I like the ground of hoary frozen frost
and thrifty little sparrow  seeking seeds of summer lost.

I like the music of pines creaking tunes of burdened discontent, that vibrant   winter has to this vagabond only lent .