Aug 24, 2009

The Old Swimming Hole

Down the incline of dirt
Back to the haven of childhood
A magnificent oak tree towering up to the sky
Where I lean to see the strong current of the creek

Closing my eyes tightly I listen
To the rippling of the water
And to the chirping of tree toads
And birds singing their haunting tunes

The quiet calm comes over me again
As I recognize the smells that still come alive--
Of earth and clay, of fish that find their home there
Of wild honeysuckle and sweet johnny jump-ups

And as I let the surrondings take me back in my memory
I hear the sweet sound of girls' giggles as they play--
Wading through the cold, clear water on a summer's day
Jumping from the vine ropes of the trees to make a splash

"Who can swim the farthest?"
"Who can make the biggest splash?"
"Who can dive or jump into the deepest part?"
"Who is brave enough to swim over the dam?"

Memories now flooding, and the tears stream down my face
The joys of a childhood so simple, filled with such joy and beauty
The years have slipped through my fingertips
Like the wildflowers and strawberries collected as a prize

A cherished and treasured place, where dreams are never too big to dream
Where sisters become friends and bonds are made never to break
Part of the sanctuary of growing up on that old farm loved so dearly
Found in the refuge, the strength, the shelter...of the old swimming hole

Aug 17, 2009

Special Place

I go to the special place again
Closing my eyes, opening my heart
Taking in the surroundings
Finding my solace there

I smell the sweetness of the wildflowers
And feel the velvet of the soft grass
The whisper the forest breeze
Brushes a calm over me

I hear the trickle of the stream
And the birds singing in the tall trees
I see the beauty of creation
Drawing me gently home

A little cove at my childhood farm
Where I go in my memory for peace
A reminder of a simpler place and time
Yet still the very thought brings me tranquility

A little girl's secret hideout
To dream big dreams
To be enveloped in God's creation
To feel a sense of belonging to something greater

And when a woman now recalls
The splendor of that special place
She is brought back again
Finding refreshment and renewal

She recalls the lessons brought to life
Where she met God and he molded her
And reminds her that the joyful girl is still alive
Inside of her heart and at the depth of her soul

That special place, though no longer mine
Still brought to life in my thoughts and dreams
Giving me strength through sensing God's presence
Transformed into the girl filled with wonder and hope

Aug 13, 2009


When I think of "home", one memory that comes to mind is the family farm where I grew up (in Allentown, NJ). I got to be on vacation last week at the beach with most of the family that I grew up with. I loved the farm when I was growing up, but when my parents moved from there several years ago is when I really began to appreciate it's beauty--the farmhouse, which was like a palace to me, the incredible gardens, the fields, the creek. It is so much a part of who I am. And as I grow and learn on my faith journey, that place--and specifically the bonds that were formed, the love that grew and flourished remind me that in many ways my authentic self, is that little girl with wide eyes of wonder and a quiet curiosity.

Over the next weeks, I'm going to share some poems I wrote a few years ago which are memories of that place, along with some I've written recently about how that beginning shaped me. I hope you enjoy taking the journey with me.


If the ash tree could talk of all the secrets told there
Of who loved who and heartbreak, pain and tears
Of joyful laughter, of stories imagined, then sweetly shared
The solace and peace of the arms that held each heart

Climbing up to the top, or sitting on the lowest limb
Or sprawled beneath the lush shade of that old friend
Where dreams were dreamed and promises kept
Where shouts of glee met quiet whispers in the night

Watching a family grow from toddler to grown
Of baseball, soccer and football games observed
Cheered each one by quietly waving the might branches
Leaves rustling in the word or catching a foul ball in his trunk

Hearing the explicit plan of each escapade to the creek
Who would build the raft, or race through cattails
Could a fort be built in the brush by the water?
Who would take the first sled ride down the hill?

Sharing the delight, then watching as each found a life of their own by explore new lands, bigger adventures
Yet knowing that his robust arms embrace each one well
Provided a strong foundation where values were born and lived

For just as he provided deep and loving protection from the world
His wisdom standing firm, yet giving room to grow and take flight
So that when the winds blow, the waves crash, the storm gathers
The roots and beauty of the tree dig in deeper, nurture more strongly

Revealing the splendor of the family he embraced for so long
His charge complete as the love that stands the test of time
Made a difference in the strength, depth and understanding of each one...
Oh the stories the ash tree could tell

To My Hero, My Dad

I can still smell the smell
And hear the sounds
Of sawdust and oil
Of saws and hammers

The haven of my hero
Working intently
To fix something
Or to create something new

With precision and pride
Teaching what it was
To bring to life
A carefully laid plan

Still, I see the old jars and cans
Filled with every size nut and bolt
The chill of the workshop
Yet the warmth and peace of it

The smell of his pipe
The twinkle of his eye
The touch of his hardworking hands
The glow of him warm and bright smile

I can still see him standing there
Beginning the creation, working diligently
Passing wisdom from children to grandchildren--
The character of the man shining through