Wednesday, October 28, 2015

The Passenger's Wife

     It is three weeks since I last saw my husband, and then only for a few hours. I was visiting family in Washington State when he left for Alaska and then Australia and Papua New Guinea. When I got home from my trip I found these waiting for me.

     It warms the cockles of my heart that he has left an echo of himself to keep me company.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Fidélité - The Prayer of the Dog

    I was visiting family in Washington State earlier this month. My oldest sister showed me this photo her son took of his recently deceased golden labrador. Liberty was buried alongside other beloved family pets beneath the dogwood tree at my sister's house. When I complimented my nephew on his artistic eye, he modestly replied that if he takes enough shots, eventually one will be good.

     I am skeptical about his statement. I think this photo is unique. It looks like a painting to me and the emotions it evokes epitomize The Prayer of the Dog from Carmen Bernos De Gasztold's book of poems: Prayers from the Ark

The Prayer of the Dog

I keep watch!
If I am not here
who will guard their house?
Watch over their sheep?
Be faithful?
No one but You and I
what faithfulness is.
They call me, "Good dog! Nice dog!
I take their pats
and the old bones they throw me
and I seem pleased.
They really believe they make me happy.
I take kicks too
when they come my way.
None of that matters.
I keep watch!
do not let me die
until, for them, all danger is driven away.


     My nephew is the assistant pastor in a small church in a small town in Washington. There aren't many accolades or much recognition for such a position in such a place, and yet, he faithfully keeps watch over the souls in his care until, for them, all danger is driven away. Amen.

poem translated by Rumer Godden

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

The London Doorknob

     You will, of course, want to see what I did with the doorknob that I bought in Nottinghill when I visited this spring. I hung it in my kitchen beneath the painting of the coffee cup. Some mornings, as I sit at the breakfast table with my tea and toast, I imagine I can just turn that handle and walk through into Westminster. Sigh.

     Perhaps I will find a spare tesseract or mislaid Babylon candle when I go down to clean the basement.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015


     I was recently given a packet of Medura brand teabags by Australian acquaintances visiting the United States. It is a lovely blend of Ceylon and Australian black tea leaves that I am enjoying each morning.  I find the directions on the bag intriguing.

     Must one be reminded to use the teabag only once?

     I suppose there are frugal persons in the world who feel it is wasteful not to squeeze every ounce of flavor from the leaves, and for some it may even be a necessity. I must confess, I have tried it myself a few times, but the second cup is always too bitter and I would rather go without.

     I had a friend in college who was raised in India. Her parents were missionaries there for many years. She told me her family had received some bizarre packages from the States over the years, but there was only one which made her mother weep. It was a box of used teabags. Someone, who couldn't bear to throw the bags away after using them only once, had taken the trouble to save them up, pay the postage and send them all the way to India, the second largest tea producer in the world.

     I would have cried, too.

     It was a profound lesson to me on the nature of generosity and I rarely throw a teabag into the trash bin without being reminded of it. It takes grace to become a truly generous soul.