Maple

Dave Smith

I lie under the front yard maple, an on-my-back view up through tangles of branches and greenery fading to fall colors.  Dead twigs cling to a chunk of trunk busy with bugs and bees, all preparing for the cold to come months.  I decide to clear my mind of all the angst accrued these past few weeks, clear myself of stress over mini-strokes, aneurysm chatter, clots, cash flow, and just a myriad of not much to do about it stuff that clutters my journey.  Sunshine and brilliant blue sky filter through much of the leafy menagerie, so I choose the thicker mesh, the metaphor that blocks clear vision.  And I let my mind travel….

That young kid had no cause to cut from the turn only lane back into mine, then do a no signal U turn right ahead of me.  My squealed tires, horn blown swerve of course made him stop to let me know how wrong I was to express annoyance at his maneuver.  In a number of very poignant adjectives he made known my intelligence level and driving skill – I, in a moment of very unusual response, laughed and tipped an imaginary hat to his verbiage.  “Sorry, I forgot your entitlement to do what you will, when you will and as often as you will.  It’s America.”  And I drove away.  A light breeze opens the clogged leaves just a bit as the memory floats off.  A peek-a-boo tiny cloud appears to be a Trump comb-over – “No, no!!  Don’t go there brain.  Not to the Donald or Hillary, no!”  A stiffer breeze accents the cries as a few leaves break free, flutter

back

and

forth in

soft

drift to

the ground.

The cloud breaks and disappears into wispy trails.

No sleep the night prior brings heaviness to my eyes, that lazy September day drowsy that settles into peaceful daydream.  I welcome it, let it envelope the very soul of me in the cotton fluff that allows imagination and connection to this thing I know as my muse.  A few days ago I plummeted, feeling sorry about things in life, things going on with folks in our church family, with my family, with the world around us. Things in pretty sad shape dominate the days, the to do and thinks of my life.  And pretty soon my spirit landed, a shapeless lump too confused to find the ladder up, the grips to climb from the pit.  I put on happy, that smiling eye face that houses empty.

Now here I lie, me and the maple leaves, fluttered and plummeted to rest here in the sparse grass and damp dirt of mid-September.

The sun’s movement down the west of the afternoon sends hazy rays into the branched puzzle above me.  Straight shafts in the mangling maze trying to block each one.  Another breeze opens more gaps, more slits for renewal to seep down on me.  I squint now, the sunshine brightly burning against my eyes and forehead, a focused spot for one gleam to strike home.  So warm, such ease – my mind finds the spirit, the ladder, and the grips.  A roll to my side,  brush weed and leaf from my shirt, and rise.  I hold on one knee for just a moment or two.  I remember my brother’s words spoken so often to me.  “Keep a knee bent and your eyes up, brother.”  And I remembered.

I put all this, nearly every night, at the foot of the cross, into God’s hands.  How could I let myself slide to this pit, to this flat on my back desperate lull to find what never went away?  Putting my life in God’s hands comes easy – leaving it there, well, that’s is the rub after all.  In peace I head in for a Dew, perhaps that “men never burp” moment, and some fun working on a chopped ’53 Studebaker model.  Thanks, Lord, for that maple moment.