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by Debra L. McKeen Sparks
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It was indeed a glorious new day!

. . . I was in the birthing barn on this particular spring day. Having just finished mucking out three large "pairs" stalls I was about to start on the smaller stalls. First, I wanted to load the overflowing muck buckets in the bed of the truck before starting again and I needed to walk back to the house. The morning was bright and the smell of expectation was in the air. I loved the sound of the horses munching on their oats and hay, and the babies snuggling near their moms. I loved the nickering sounds of the horse moms as they "whispered" to their babies. It was incredibly peaceful; the sun beams shining through the slats of the barn here and there. My dog followed each of them, building a "napping-nest" wherever one would settle for a while. (She moved with the sunbeams...) There was serenity in this place -- I loved to come here, even on days that were frigid. When I walked into the barn, all the horses nickered their greeting causing me to feel so welcome. I would always stop for a moment, just inside the doors, drinking in the smells, sounds and colors of this equine nursery, my senses glorying in the wonder of it. The cooing of the dozens upon dozens of pigeons who made their homes in the rafters, raising their young, and keeping house added to the tranquility -- it was constant.

I rounded the corner and hoisted one of the muck buckets up onto the bed of the pickup. Just then, all my senses turned to ice. Just inside the entrance to the barn on the ground was a huge black crow and a little baby pigeon which had obviously fallen or been knocked out of the nest its parents had created in the rafters of the barn. The crow had pecked into the baby's head, laying it open and blood oozed from the wound as the baby died, while the hideous huge bird feasted on it's still-living flesh. I could not contain it... The tears screamed out of me! There I stood, paralyzed, a smelly muck-bucket in my arms and an embodiment of cruelty and dying laid out in front of me, while peace, blessing, newness and life played out behind me; both of them, in the same place. And there was nothing I could do about any of it. I was too late to stop what I saw as the horror; the violation, the horrendous and cruel death; I was too late to rescue the baby bird.

I dropped the bucket into the bed of the pickup, sat down next to it, and bawled my eyes out, a feeling of complete helplessness encompassing me. I hated that horrible huge black bird. How could he defile this place of peace, this place of innocence? And still, there was nothing I could do about any of it. I was too late.

Blinded by tears, I made my way down the hill and into the house where I collapsed, begging God to renew me with strength to return to my duties. And little by little, strength began to ebb back into my spirit, and comfort came to me that made no sense. Fortunately, it didn't need to make sense, His peace surpassed understanding.

. . . I drove home last night from my place of work. I must drive north, just parallel to the Sandias which lie on the northeastern edge of Albuquerque. It is a lovely drive because I feel one with the mountains. And then, I turn toward the west and drive into the setting sun. The sunset last night was in full display, showing off its colors of coral, orange and red. It was all interspersed with the midnight cerulean hues that make my spirit soar. The mountain ranges and volcanoes that lie to the west were silhouetted against a backdrop of gold, rising to blue rising to coral rising to red, rising to orange. It was as if the coolness of them called to the heat above them and I loved it. I loved the play of the clouds God used to display his glory to all who would take note.

I fought with my heart to keep it focused for the day had taken its toll, and I was not the better for it. I had disconnected sometime early yesterday morning just to stop the flow of tears, to put on the voice and the face and the professionalism that my duties called for. Inside though, I had been weeping, caught in the pain my loved one had endured and triumphed through. The awesomeness of God and his faithfulness along with the horror my friend had suffered pounding into me and shaking me to the foundations.

It was not too long before I realized I had become distracted and when I came back to the immediate, the sunset had dramatically changed. It had only been a matter of blocks I had driven when I came back into the moment and looked up to see the change. Paying closer attention, I watched as the sunset continued to change moment-by-moment and before I had driven the necessary 15 minutes to the west before turning north once again and pulling into my driveway, the sunset had settled and was only a touch of pink on the horizon to the south-west. It amazes me to know that life does that; every moment of it is so precious and has such displays of its own. Ever ebbing and flowing, pulsing. I lamented that I had missed a moment of it and I realized how many moments I had missed of my own life and love, not paying attention. Oh, the terrible price paid. A severe sense of grieving enveloped me, loneliness encompassed me and I could not shake it. I wanted to hide from it, but there was no where to hide.

This morning at 4:00, I felt a wet dog nose shoved into the palm of my hand. Obviously, it was time to get up - my body just didn't know it, but my Merry Noel did. "God", I whispered, "I'm listening to you very hard this morning, what will you tell me?" I opened the front door for Miss Merry to go on her yard-patrol. As I sat down at my table with my cup of coffee and my journal open, Words echoed in my heart...."dancin' in daisies, like a child set free".

In the yellowing light of my darkened house I knew that I could breathe again; the sun was bursting my soul open and filling it with daisies, yellow hearts, pure white petals, birthing up out of a sea of green. Time is part of me, for better or for worse. Oh Lord, I know that your hand shields my soul, help me hold to what is timeless.....

Pushing through the veil this morning, it was soggy; it was heavy, like liberating out of thickness. Where am I God? I don't understand how to make this journey; my heart is weeping one moment and singing songs of praise the next, sometimes, all together. The light comes, it is bright here, am I Home? The sound of tears seems to fade as songs of laughter and joy envelope me. Wrapped in warmth I am held close, cherished in my loneliness, in my aloneness, is this what it feels like to be born?

I walk out into the dawn, my steaming mug of coffee in my hand, and watch the sun rise. Again, there is promise, there is joy and discovery to be had, and on this day, there will be another sunset. Setting down my cup, I lift my hands, cupping them so that He will fill them up. In the stillness of this November morning, here in my southwestern front yard, my dog at my side, I thank God for daisies......

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