What’s on my mind this August 31st morning? As disastrous events continue to unfold around the world, I try to wash my mind of a sense of impending doom and rather focus on the goodness and love of people around the world. I am thankful for my faith in a loving, caring God who is my rock and, with my wife’s support, I am hopeful for the future. Faith and prayer are my shield against always circling fear and hopelessness.
Psalm 4: 7 Many say, “May we see better times! LORD, show us the light of your face!” 8 But you have given my heart more joy than they have when grain and wine abound. 9 In peace I will lie down and fall asleep, for you alone, LORD, make me secure.
America’s good people, those individuals that simply want the freedom to pray, learn, work, love, and raise families, need God’s intervention and help to straighten our road again. We must pray 24/7 that He will forgive us and teach us to forgive, compromise, work together, and live peaceably again.
Six years ago, while we were spending a stormy day at an Alabama coastal campground, I simply watched the rain and listened to the continuous thunder. Nature photography was my love at the time and I had no inkling then that, over the next year, I would also fall in love with haiku, a Japanese short form poetry which would greatly enhance my aging life.
thunder and lightning…
cuddled around the fireplace
an old man and his wife
Al W Gallia 08/07/21
The world has changed so much since then with social and political unrest, ongoing Covid pandemic, mask wearing, social isolation, and loss of family and friends. At our age, it is hard for my wife and me to adjust to this new stormy reality. But we are survivors and we have a strong faith and hope in our loving God and Redeemer, Jesus Christ. So we face the storm head-on without fear, staying focused on the Truth and Light. Blessings and peace, my friends.
Nothing is more peaceful in the summer than a cypress swamp in the dead heat of day. The stillness is broken only by cicadas harmonizing, peepers chirping, and occasional egrets calling. Nature’s pungent perfume wafts on a random light breeze that gently moves a few lily pads. Sweat drips from my brow onto my camera. I love it! okay
A hot mid-summer day at the beautiful Cypress Island Wildlife Preserve near Lafayette, Louisiana. Not much is stirring on this ‘dog day’ as I walk quietly along, under hanging moss, listening to the cicada chorus in full voice with a random peeper chiming in. It hasn’t rained recently and the earthy smells of sun baked swamp, moss, and duckweed drift heavy in air.
Trickles of sweat run down my neck, but I am happy passing the afternoon capturing nature’s unscripted haiku moments with my mind’s eye and camera. Such moments abound as Serendipity exposes them one by one with each turn in the path. I loose myself in nature,.. some call it ‘forest bathing’.
Finally I am reminded of reality when a mosquito buzzes my face and a nearby owl hoots! A peaceful stillness gradually settles with evening cooling as my day closes with a chug of much needed water and a silent prayer of gratitude to God. In evening’s waning light, a young raccoon ambles across my return path with hardly a sidewise glance and our eyes meet for a brief second. I smile.
It is the 2nd Lenten season during this worldwide Covid-19 pandemic, in which we are struggling to survive. Do we actually think that we can succeed, as ‘one nation under God’, without Him, by continuing to turn away from Him in our lives? I think not, as faith and prayer are the true way and God is the source of all love, goodness and hope.
Thus says the LORD: Cursed is the man who trusts in human beings, who makes flesh his strength, whose heart turns away from the LORD. He is like a barren bush in the wasteland that enjoys no change of season, But stands in lava beds in the wilderness, a land, salty and uninhabited. Blessed are those who trust in the LORD; the LORD will be their trust. They are like a tree planted beside the waters that stretches out its roots to the stream: It does not fear heat when it comes, its leaves stay green; In the year of drought it shows no distress, but still produces fruit. More tortuous than anything is the human heart, beyond remedy; who can understand it? I, the LORD, explore the mind and test the heart, Giving to all according to their ways, according to the fruit of their deeds.
Spring has sprung here in south Louisiana and it is so welcome! As I walk along the gravel road bordering the cypress filled Lake Martin, almost every step exposes another sign of new life! My camera stays at the ready as my eyes search out Mother Nature’s fresh tidbits of color and textures. Wildflowers with their faces turned sunward, greening trees and lotus pads, the calls of nesting egrets and herons, a sunning alligator, and smell of bedding fish overwhelm my senses. Thank you, Lord, for this day!
Occasionally I run across an article that sparks meaningful thoughts in my mind. After a year of social distancing (actually self-imposed isolation), my wife and I begin the latter part of our lives, our eighties, amidst worldwide Covid-19 pandemic, family and friends illnesses and deaths, economic turmoil, and civil unrest. It would be so easy for me to just fade back into the woodwork, waiting for some change that may not come, and die a slow death of mental dullness watching TV movies. But that is not me or my wife! Creativity has always been a big part of our lives in many varied ways.
For me, nature photography and haiku poetry have been my creative interests for many years. I realize how important such activities are for mental exercise and personal enjoyment. I also realize that continued pursuit of these activities requires certain physical adjustments that aging requires. Such changes were, at first, hard to accept but prayer, meditation, and trust in a loving God always light the way.
The first snowfall in a late autumn woodlands is a glorious sight! Almost a cleansing of the year’s trials and pains as translucent whiteness slowly overlays the remaining leaves, branches, and grasses.
Standing alone amidst this wonderland, I can only marvel at one of God’s greatest gifts to mankind: nature’s beauty. I hear only the faint, pervasive sounds of falling snow, and raising my face to heaven, say “thank you, Lord!”
Silence surrounds me except for the chirp of a flitting red cardinal. From the blue sky, February’s sun filters through the leafless cypress and tupelo trees, imprinting the still waters with a kaleidoscope of browns and blues. I drift silently along, feeling a cool breeze and breathing nature’s scent.