Monday, December 23, 2013
So, the keeper of tales began the telling. There's a tale gets told once every go around, he began. It gets told when the bone knockin' wind sweeps the shivers down the valley. And the snow clouds hang low in the freezed up sky. The tale tells about a boy called Asa who lived far long ago or far long ahead… nobody knows for sure. If it come from far long ago, rememberin’ after rememberin’ brought it along. If it come from far long ahead though, one of us would have had to wander on up there and fetch it back so’s we could tell it. Not sure how that might have worked, but for now, let's get back the tellin’ it part. Now, Asa’s nightly doin’s was to watch the family sheep because that's what young boys’ nightly doin’s was back then or it's what they will be doin’ far long ahead. But I’m getting either behind myself or ahead of myself… not sure which is which. Anyway, when the sun went down Asa would find a high ground spot for the best watchin’. And sword in hand, he'd start eyein’ the hills as they grew darker in the long shadowed sunset, watchin’ for those woolly wolves. Asa was a brave one ya see. He’d be making sure that they didn't make gobbledyburgers out of his sheep. Mostly though he just fell asleep. Which was okay, because the sheep never did wander very far and folks hadn't seen the woolly wolf around these parts in more go arounds than you could ever remember goin’ around. Which is probably why they let a young boy’s nightly doin’s be watchin’ the sheep in the first place. Now, if this be a once upon a time tale, this would be the once upon a time part. Once upon a time…one cold, clear, moon bright night… now I think it was a Friday, but it might'a been a Tuesday, Asa was just settin’ in to do some serious woolly wolf watchin’ for. And he was just about asleep when out of the corner of one very sleepy eye, he thought he saw one of them stars up there brighten up a bit. Then he thought he saw it move a little closer. So Asa, bein’ a finder outer by nature, opened his other sleepy eye. Yep…that's what it was doing for sure. Getting brighter and moving closer. He'd never seen a star do that before. Until now, they'd all just stayed up there in the sky doing star stuff. Now, it might've been a fearsome sight if it hadn't been such a pretty one. And it got Asa’s curiosity waked up, yes sir, and he right then and there knew he had some findin’ out to do. Now, that star just kept gettin’ brighter and movin’ closer. And Asa just got curiouser and curiouser. It finally came to a stop over the lights coming from a little town he could see way off in the valley. What's going on here he thought…this be a very strange star indeed and he was fixin’ to find out what its business was. So with a quick look around for woolly wolves, sword in hand Asa, the brave and curious, set out toward that little town… and that strange wanderin’ star. Now, Asa walked and walked and walked and walked and walked into the cold, clear, moon bright night. You know, now that I pondered it a bit, I do believe it was a Monday. Anyway…he walked over the hills, through the valleys, along the river, under the trees and around the rocks. And finally he came around a bend in the trail and there it was… and IT wasn't much. Now as little towns go, on the list of not much, I’m pretty sure you’d find this one low on the page. It be more like a village...a small village...a teeny small village. It had a few houses, what look like an old Inn, a couple of barns out back, a small one and a teeny small one, five chickens, two goats, a well used donkey, an old cow and a strange night star sittin’ right up there over the teeny small barn. Now the odd thing was…no…ONE of the odd things was, cause there was a lot of odd goin’s on goin’ on this night...the old Inn seemed to be full of folks. And it was way too many folks for this little patch of dirt. As Asa got closer to the old Inn he could hear folks talkin’ about a countin’ that was going on. A census he heard...whatever that was. And whatever that was the folks didn’t seem too pleased with the particulars. Some was even arguin’ about whose room was whose. Seemed they were short a few. Asa got to wonderin’ why they needed so many folks to do the countin’ anyway. Looking around this place he figured he could do all the countin’ needed usin’ just two hands and one foot. And he only needed one finger to count how many strange night stars there were sittin’ right up there over teeny small barns on this night. Another odd thing was that none of them countin’ folks seemed to take notice of that strange night star at all. They just kept gripe talkin’ about that countin’ stuff. But Asa saw it…burning bright above the teeny small barn. And he hurried out back of the Inn to find out what strange goin’s on was goin’ on. The teeny small barn door was open a teeny small bit. The boy could see a lantern light spillin’ out from inside. The wind blowed flame was making the nighttime shadows dance all around kinda spooky like. He peeked in with one eye keepin’ most of hisself back behind the door. Through the dancing shadows he could make out two sheep, another donkey…a little newer and not so well used, a man and a young woman who seemed to be most interested in a feed trough. Now, he'd seen a lot of feed troughs before and truth be told none were really that interestin’. But somethin’ about this one sure had their notice. He opened the teeny small barn door teeny bit more to get a little better looksee. It was when he kicked over the feed bucket that they got the notion he was there. Just about that same time Asa, the brave and curious, turned into Asa, the holey moley what am I gonna do now. But the man smiled a kindly smile and the young woman's dark brown eyes seemed to be sayin’ come on over for a better looksee. So, Asa, the brave and curious, once again...did. And Lordy, Lordy what a looksee he got! It was a baby! A teeny tiny, itsy-bitsy fresh born baby boy all swaddled up in a feed trough...that he was looking at. And that all swaddled up, fresh born baby boy in the feed trough was looking right back at him. Asa moved close. This baby boy's eyes had a knowin’ in them that he had never seen before in any eyes...young, old or fresh born. Eyes that knew the deep downs of a soul. Eyes that said...been here before and will be here again. He was drawn closer… he was pulled closer… He felt he was on the edge and he wanted to fall deep into those eyes. He was about to get lost in those eyes and he right away had the knowin’ in his bones it was going to be a terrible, wonderful lost. He tried to close his eyes, he tried to look away, but he couldn't do nothin’ ‘cept be right where he was. And the curiouser thing was that he knew in his bones that it was okay to be right where he was. But right where he was wasn't no teeny small barn anymore. Where he was was deep inside what this baby boy alone had knowin’s of. Fact was though, where he was wasn't even where he was. Part of Asa’s self was somewhere else... somewhere up...and lookin’ down he could see his other self still down there smiling at that fresh born baby boy. All of a sudden he could feel his other self up above being lifted up even higher on the wind of a thousand wings. Higher and higher…faster and faster…scootin’ like a hoot owl through the star bright, night sky. A sound fillin’ his ears like a thundering waterfall. It was then that he realized that while he probably should be…he had no scared feelin’s at all. It was also then he started seeing strange and terrible and wonderful things...and he started gettin’ over the not bein’ scared part right quick. Out of the darkness, one after the other visions started crashing at his feet like ocean waves crash upon a shore. The colors and sounds of those visions poured over him like a baptisin’. Visions of the babe as a man...the man as a babe. Shadows droppin’ nets to follow. Shadows pickin’ up clubs and swords to end it. Visions of the tellin’ of a tale of sundown and sunrise. Asa watched as thirty three go arounds crashed at his feet. The blind man could looksee and the lame man took to walkin’. Love, hate, fear and hope and mystery danced like nightime lantern shadows across the face of a man child. A skeleton tree turned itself into a dark, jagged cross. There be a garden of tears and a terrible crown of thorns. Tears of blood fell from the face of a King. A mother's heart was breakin’. In the wink of an eye higher and higher…faster and faster…stopped. Everything went quiet...like the world was waitin’ and holdin’ its breath. The end was the beginning. A stone slowly rolled itself away from the mouth of a cave. And then, out of the darkness, an angel took one of Asa’s hands and a wounded hand gently reached out to take his other. A price was goin’ to be paid. A gift was goin’ to be given. Asa waked up like he'd been bad dreamin’. He sat up with a start tryin’ to figure out just what the wherefores and whys of what seemed all scrambled up in his head were. He looked around and quickly figured out he wasn't where he used to be at all. Wherever that was or wasn’t. His whole self was together again and he found it back on a high ground watchin’ spot surrounded by his sheep. Who by the way, had not wondered very far and had not ended up gobbledyburgers for any woolly wolves. He jumped up and did a quick looksee back towards that little town. The strange night star was gone. He rubbed his eyes and peeked again just to make sure he was wasn’t seein’ what he wasn’t seein’. Gone. A dream Asa? A nightmare...a prayer? Yes...maybe. Asa didn’t know...or maybe...just maybe...at that one moment, he was the only one in the world other than a fresh born baby boy...who did. So, the keeper of tales began the telling. There's a tale gets told once every go around, he began. It gets told when the bone knockin' wind sweeps the shivers down the valley. And the snow clouds hang low in the freezed up sky. A tale that hasn’t ended...yet.
Monday, December 2, 2013
Putting up the Christmas decorations last weekend got me thinking back to a post I did several years ago. It went something like this.---My daughter went off to college this year. Two hours away from home. I talk to her often, but I miss her dearly. Just before her Christmas break this year she called one night. She wanted to make sure the lights were up, the tree was decorated and the mantle and bookcases were filled with our collections of snowmen and Santas. Because...she said, “I can’t wait to come home and see Christmas.” Such a simple sentence. "I can’t wait to come home and see Christmas." I looked around the house. The snowmen and Santas were all in place. The lights outside twinkling. All the ornaments were on the tree...including the felt Christmas tree with her picture on it that she made in second grade. "I can’t wait to come home and see Christmas." I can’t begin to tell you the feeling in my heart when I realized that to my daughter...Christmas is...home. It’s right here waiting for you sweetheart. And it always will be.