Much of what I write is based on things that actually happened. Experiences are then amplified or embellished, names changed, etc.:

She answered the knock on the door, opening it cautiously, wary of who might want to engage her presence in the middle of the day. The eyes were tired grey, crow’s feet at their margins but with an inquisitive twinkle. Brown hair turning mousy grey framed her almond face. She wore latex gloves on her hands.

Peppers, she said. Hot peppers are in. Early? Yes, early. And tons of ‘em. Gloves protect my hands. Have you ever seen the corn look this good? Two weeks of rain, then that heat we had. It may have rotted the potatoes, but boy did it make the corn jump. How can I help you?

Sure, you can get the power company to drop the line to the house so you can top the willow tree in Jones’ yard. Thanks for asking. My son was a tree climber, maybe you knew him. Worked for Slim’s tree service. Said he was never happier than when he was up in a tree. I watched him a few times. He moved with a grace and ease that made you think the work was easy. It makes a mother nervous watching her pride and joy way up in the air, hanging and swinging on a rope that looks pencil-thin.

He took up rock climbing, too. He just loved to climb anything. Then one time he had a boulder break loose . He said it must have been ten tons or more. It made him realize he really didn’t have anything to prove. It wasn’t a tree or a rock that did him in. It was the illness he couldn’t beat. Where he is now, there’s trees and rocks and cliffs to climb never ending.             ####         ####              ####

The following was offered as spoken ministry in (Friends/Quaker) meeting for worship:

There was a catbird singing over there in the crab tree. I didn’t see it, but I knew it was a catbird from its song. There are other things that can make us think we’re hearing a catbird, such as a mockingbird, so we must be cautious not to be deceived, or at least to withhold judgment until we are sure of what we are hearing.

Listening to the Spirit is not so different. Once we have heard the song and come to recognize it, it is easier to heed. Sometimes it calls us to what seem like outrageous courses of action. Yet these actions are not inconsistent with the teachings of the world’s great wisdom traditions. Here is where the testimonies of Friends can be of assistance: each time we are called to action, we should test it to be more sure that we are not being deceived by a mockingbird. (there was a second part.)     ###

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