An old man planted and dug and tended,
Toiling in joy from dew to dew;
The sun was kind, and the rain befriended;
Fine grew his orchard and fair to view.
Then he said: "I will quiet my thrifty fears,
For here is fruit for my failing years."
But even then the storm-clouds gathered,
Swallowing up the azure sky;
The sweeping winds into white foam lathered
The placid breast of the bay, hard by;
Then the spirits that raged in the darkened air
Swept o'er his orchard and left it bare.
One of the scenes from the Wizard of Oz that I remember from my childhood (the movie; I never read the book) was that of Dorothy and her friends traveling the road to the Emerald City, repeating to themselves over and over again, “Lions, and tigers, and bears, Oh My!” At the age of seven, it was not at all difficult for me to absorb their anxiety. Of course, that was not the only thing that impacted me as I watched. There was also the Scarecrow’s hunger for knowledge, the Tin Man’s for human connection, the Lion’s for courage, and of course Dorothy’s longing to find her way home.
The trees are in their autumn beauty,
The woodland paths are dry,
Under the October twilight the water
Mirrors a still sky;
Upon the brimming water among the stones
Are nine-and-fifty swans.
The nineteenth autumn has come upon me
Since I first made my count;
I saw, before I had well finished,
All suddenly mount
And scatter wheeling in great broken rings
Upon their clamorous wings.
Forty years ago this fall, I rolled into Walla Walla as a new faculty member. That’s a marker worth celebrating. The only people I really knew then were Dale and Wilma Hepker, but when I arrived on campus with all my worldly goods stashed in a moving van, I was full of hope that I would find a home here, a community I could be a part of. Helen Evans Zolber had explained something of the challenge. “There is really not a lot to do around here,” she said, “so we have to entertain each other.”
My daughter keeps forgetting her glasses. It’s inconceivable to me how she could. I’ve been wearing glasses since 4th grade. Without them, my world is a blurry mess. But she seems quite happy to go about her life with a fuzzy view of the world.
Now and again it causes problems. She can miss directional signs when she’s trying to find her way somewhere. She can’t read everything her teacher writes on the board. Even still, she seems much less worried about where her glasses are than I am.
If you live in the United States in 2016, you can hardly take a trip to the water cooler without being asked, "Who are you going to vote for?" Even interested individuals and commentators in other countries cannot keep from expressing their views on the topic even though their stake in the election is zero. If you have been involved in previous presidential elections, you may have experienced what is called buyer's remorse – the regret that comes from hopes and expectations unrealized, and maybe worse, revulsion for your former choice for president.
Ho, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and you that have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.
Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy?
Listen carefully to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food. Incline your ear, and come to me; listen, so that you may live.
We are, not metaphorically but in very truth, a Divine work of art, something that God is making, and therefore something with which He will not be satisfied until it has a certain character. Here again we come up against what I have called the “intolerable compliment.” Over a sketch made idly to amuse a child, an artist may not take much trouble: he may be content to let it go even though it is not exactly as he meant it to be.