Doing Their Part
In those moments before dawn when there is just enough light to walk without tripping over driftwood, I hunt for shells and watch lines of gulls, sandpipers, terns, twitter and skitter, playing in the waves and trying to distinguish edibles from bits of sand and stone. Suddenly, as light increases slightly, they scramble into lines by species, all facing the same spot on the horizon where, if my weather app is to be believed, the sun will rise. A reverent silence dominates. They are still, so still. Not even gentle tickling of rolling waves, elicits sound or movement. I check my watch. In a minute, sun is due to appear. Indeed, sun rises up on time. Celebrating sun’s successful leap over the horizon line, a gull screeches. Strutting about, satisfied they’ve done their part, all the birds skitter, twitter, forage now with confidence, secure in the knowledge, that indeed it was their reverent silence that facilitated sunrise. I tip my beach hat to the nearest bird, in thanks and continue, now in light, my search for shells.
Shadow’s Twin Nature
From behind, my shadow reaches out to darken, weigh down, or sharpen Shadows are but a gradation of gray, a place between dark and light layered with the wisdom of experience. In the golden light of afternoon shadows stretch far ahead of us with ideas larger than ourselves, inspiration for futures greater than our present. Going ahead, they beckon us to follow, stepping lively like the escaped shadow of peter pan. On cloudy days, I miss my shadow but I know she is attached for I myself have sewn her to my heels. Having taken her twin essence into myself, I just have to remember to feed the lively one, laugh off the one trying to drag me behind— Forward!
How Should We Pray for the Orphans?
As winds of war rip leaves of contentment from the Ethiopian tree of life, mothers huddle with their children whispering words of comfort. singing soft songs of hope while fathers bar the doors, feed the children though not themselves. But in the orphanage, Matron can hold only two or three on her lap. She asks the older ones to keep their arms around the shoulders of the youngest. She rarely can scavenge enough to fill all the tiny bellies. These efforts do not quell the tears the shaking, the fears of all these. There is no one to bar the door. What will happen when soldiers’ boots tramp through the streets? When gunshots replace birdsong? When the smoke of guns disguises the sun itself? When the children now in mothers’ arms find themselves alone and pour like a rain of tears into that tiny orphanage? Can more fit on matron’s lap? I hope my prayer can leap across time and space and place a hedge around them all. Comfort, feed, protect. Is this how we should pray?
©2021 Joan Leotta
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