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.
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!
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.
One year into our Covid-19 pandemic lockdown, how the priorities of my life have changed! No longer do my wife and I plan fun shopping trips, cafe lunches, or casual visiting with family and friends. Add to that the stress of politics and the realities of turning 80, and we are now living in a new ‘normal’, maybe forever.
The one thing that makes our situation bearable is an unwavering FAITH in a loving, caring God, and the love and companionship we give each other! And one of the best ways to feel and hear Him is in the solitude and beauty of nature, where no words are needed but only awareness.
Christmas Season 2020. For me, a quiet time of reflection on the trials and tribulations this last year has heaped on the world, on us all. The ‘why?’ is the big question and the possibilities are many, including God’s retribution for the world’s turning away from him to purely random happenings in our complex world according to the ‘Chaos Theory’. Yet, while we humans struggle to understand the why and how of events, only Nature simply lives quietly with acceptance.
Whatever the cause (if any), we have an opportunity to re-evaluate our lives and our priorities for the new year. We should put faith, love, prayer, empathy, understanding, and compromise back into our lives. And for me, the beauty and solitude of nature is the best place for a meditation with God/Jesus about my needed new outlook on life. As survivors of 2020, we still have so much to be thankful for, so let the loneliness of this Christmas season be a time for rekindling faith and trust in our loving God. Blessings and peace.
Sunday morning, a rainy day, almost nine months on covid lockdown. The old wall clock and I are having our normal conversation; which is pretty much one sided as it never says anything except “tick tock”. Japanese ‘solitude’ music drifts in the background… my glider chair keeping time.
My precious wife is catching up on some much needed sleep, so I am enjoying my much needed quiet time for reflection. Keep your faith in God and focus on Christ as this year of 2020 is surely in accordance with His will. Stay safe, my family and friends. Blessings and peace.