Monthly Archives: May 2011

What I Love About Morning

It was a busy and frustrating weekend.  I was able to see many of my students graduate on Saturday night, and attending graduation is always one of my favorite traditions of the school year.  It is one of the things about my job that I truly, truly enjoy.

My sister-in-law and her fiance surprised us with a visit this weekend, too.  It was totally unexpected and exciting to see them Saturday morning.  We spent all day with the two of them, as well as my mother and father-in-law, starting with breakfast, then going on to the park, and finishing up with dinner and relaxing in the evening.  It was a very pleasant, lovely day.

I said the weekend was frustrating because my wife is due to go into labor with our son at any time now. This is the first time we have been able to wait for labor to come on spontaneously. With our daughter, Clara, there were some unusual circumstances, and my wife had to receive an emergency induction a week before her due date.  We are presently about one week from my son’s due date, but my wife’s doctor told her that he almost certainly expected our son to appear this weekend.  As of seven o’ clock on Sunday morning, she has barely had any contractions. I realize that there is a large margin of error that comes along with those sorts of predictions.  It is still pretty frustrating, though, as we are eagerly awaiting meeting our boy. Beside that, Kara is extremely uncomfortable and hasn’t slept well for the past several nights. I have recently learned quite a bit about patience and trusting in God’s timing to be wiser than my own, so we will wait.  I just can’t wait to have an infant in the house again, though. Sigh.

I got up early so that I could get some time to write.  I love being the first one out of bed in the morning, especially just after the sun is up high enough to light the apartment.  That is where today’s poem came from.  Please enjoy, and feel free to comment.

***

What I Love About Morning

There are many things I enjoy about being up early in the day,
awake just after sunrise,when I am the first one out of bed:
the grey-blue swelling light that comes through the windows,
bringing with it the wet scent of grass,
the liturgies of waking birds
and the cool splash of a breeze
not yet warmed by running all day beneath the sky.

The silence in my apartment is like the void before creation,
when God hovered above the waters,
sleeves rolled up,
ready to begin the steady work of lighting suns,
filling oceans, and setting planets to spin,

and I sit in my chair,
rotating in place upon the earth,
hovering over my coffee and spilling it upon the table
while I type this poem about hovering and lighting
and spinning, spilling and writing

just after dawn on a Sunday morning,
all the frenetic motions that hold within themselves
promises of new things.

Michael Hylton, St. Louis, 2011

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May 27th, 2007

Recently, I asked my students to complete a project in which the central idea was “Myself in Five Years.” I thoroughly enjoy giving this project as one of my final assignments, because it is a great way to get to know my students a little bit more just before they go off to college, the military, or tech school. They tell me things about their aspirations that frequently will change the way I view him or her.

Five years ago, I knew I would soon be proposing to Kara Risner. I had my speech prepared for the day I told my mom I would be proposing. I was ring shopping. I was thinking about the type of wedding I wanted. Things went smoothly, and five years ago I proposed to the beautiful woman who is now my wife.

Four years ago, we had a perfect day. Almost everyone I have ever loved or cared for was there. The weather was beautiful. There was plenty of beer and food. Everyone was dressed to the nines. By the time that evening came around, Kara and I had laid the foundation for many, many blessings yet to come.

Two years ago, my wife gave birth to the most beautiful little girl I have ever, ever seen. Our little family had begun to grow.

Presently, we are waiting for our son to join us.

Tomorrow will be the fourth anniversary of our wedding. I will never forget that day in Marshfield, MO, when somehow the most fantastic woman in the world decided it would be acceptable to spend life with me. For that day I am perpetually grateful.

Today’s post is in honor of my wife, my love, my queen, Kara Risner. Without you, my life would not be so wonderful and blessed as it is today. You are, without a doubt, the better part of me. I love you today as I did on that day four years ago. As it has already been said,

I don’t know where this is going
I’m taking a ride on a wing and a prayer
Follow me there
We’ll both be surprised”

-Over the Rhine

So, to mark the occasion, here is a poem by Pablo Neruda, and a song by Kenny Loggins:

I do not love you as if you were salt-rose, or topaz,
or the arrow of carnations the fire shoots off.
I love you as certain dark things are to be loved,
in secret, between the shadow and the soul.

I love you as the plant that never blooms
but carries in itself the light of hidden flowers;
thanks to your love a certain solid fragrance,
risen from the earth, lives darkly in my body.

I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.
I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride;
so I love you because I know no other way

than this: where I do not exist, nor you,
so close that your hand on my chest is my hand,
so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep.

-Pablo Neruda


The Gate of Creek-Stones: Part 2: The Sanctuary

Preface:

As I mentioned in my post “Thoughts On the End of a School Year,” I ended up taking this story in a different direction than I originally intended. It started out as a piece in which I merely wanted to relate the experience of tromping through the woods on a warm afternoon.  As I continued to write the piece, the spiritual notes on what happened that day began to stand out more and more. I did this to help illustrate a process which produced in me an experience of spiritual catharsis. What I ended up with is the narrative that follows.

To sum up, this piece was originally intended to be a detailed description of a hike through the woods, nothing more.  What has emerged is a story about the Grace of God.  Praise Him that he shows up in places we did not expect, and that He has already been ahead of us on the roads we travel. Amen.

See The Gate of Creek-Stones: Part 1 here.

***

The path bent towards the water, and the walls of green became steep, sheer, and narrow. As I walked, the path began to level out, rather than continue in its gradual, downward slope.  Something changed about the mood of the place, too; it was still, so placid that the stillness had a presence of its own.  I turned off my music.  The immensity of the silence was profound.  I felt as if I was being followed, but not in a way that was threatening; I felt that I was being not just watched, as the adage goes, but that I was being watched over.

In places, there were partings in the honeysuckle through which I could see deep into the woods.  The view was always of a labyrinth of trees that seemed to go on forever.  There were no building tops visible beyond the canopy.  There were no power lines or cell phone towers.  There was no whoosh of rushing cars from the highway near my home.  The only sounds were the rustling, whisper of tree leaves, the songs of frogs and birds, and the deafening, roaring stillness.  Even the thump, thump of my footsteps began to be muffled by the presence of silence.

I don’t remember how long it took, but eventually I reached the creek.  The path eventually dropped off steeply and ran almost perpendicularly into the creek.  At the drop-off the path became muddy, too, probably because the rain we’d been having washed away all of the ground cover.  I stood for a little while on the edge of the drop, surveying the area.

After an approximate eight-foot slope, the path leveled off for about a foot before reaching the creek.  Where the path would have continued was a trail of stepping-stones made from exposed bedrock; they had not been placed there by human hands, but they had been placed there all the same.  To the right, from the direction the stream was flowing, was a wide pool where water collected just before spilling over a natural dam from which the stepping stones protruded. To the left of the stones was a short waterfall which ran over the dam and into a pool that was perfectly clear, despite the turbulence from the continually pouring water.  Nothing was being stirred up at the bottom of the fall, and I could see straight to the bottom of the basin of water, which was probably three feet deep.  The temperature of the air dropped noticeably as I approached the creek, and the sound of the frogs’ songs reached hypnotically deafening intensity.

Carefully, I climbed down the slope toward the stream, hanging on to tree roots and shrubbery as I tried not to lose my footing.  When I reached the water’s edge, I paused for a moment, thoroughly planning and coordinating my steps to the other side of the water. About halfway over the rock-bridge, I stopped to snap a few more pictures.  After standing there for a while, I began to look ahead at what laid beyond the creek.  On the other side of the water, the path continued up a steep slope, and then it bent to the left, out of view from my vantage point in the bottom of the ravine.  I had been walking in these woods for over an hour now;  I began to feel as if I should turn back.  I made several attempts to go back toward the slope that I had climbed down into the creek.  Every time I tried, though, I would feel as if something, no, someone, was calling me from beyond the bend in the trail on the other side of the water.  It would be a shame to have come this far, I told myself, and not see what was on the other side of that rise.  After one last look back, I began crossing the remainder of the creek toward the path on the other side.

Upon crossing the water, I noticed that ambient noises began to fade; the frogs and the birds that were hidden among the trees began to fall silent.  The wind that caused the canopy of the woods to hiss and sigh became still.  The stillness began to take on a personality.  I felt it place an arm around my shoulders and lead me on, up to where the path bent away from view.

For some reason, I felt compelled to keep my head down as I climbed the trail. Slowly now, even the sound of the water from the creek began to fade.  The bushes and trees and the immense honeysuckle vines all began to close in.  I thought that the trail was ending, and I began to wonder why the stillness continued to lead me.  The stillness was fairly pressing on me at that point, pushing me from behind, urging me forward.  I came to a place where two thin bushes grew close together, but not so close that I could not see the path continuing vaguely between them.  I began to tremble.  I don’t know why, but something inside my heart took flight, the way some birds will suddenly evacuate their nests in the bushes when a person walks by too closely.  It left me shivering in its wake.  “What is going on? This doesn’t make any sense,” I thought to myself.  I put out an arm to push aside one of the bushes.  As soon as I had created a wide enough opening, I stepped through.

What I saw next could not have been expected.  The woods had been growing denser, darker, more crushingly close by the second.  Now, before me was displayed its complete opposite. The sunlight spread out before me into a wide-open clearing.  The opening was round and about fifty feet in diameter.  Grass grew densely, thigh-high throughout the entirety of the glade.  Thick bushes covered in honeysuckle bordered the perimeter, beyond which stood a wall of trees. I could still faintly hear the water from the creek and the waterfall beyond the edge of the clearing.  There were more bird songs than I could distinguish, and this mixed now with the sound of cicadas and frogs.  The symphony was so loud that it drowned out thought. The clouds drifted quickly and silently overhead, creating shifting, cruising shadows across the floor of the opening.  Bees and butterflies darted in and out among the honeysuckle, and there were so many dragonflies hovering and settling at the tips of the tall grass that they looked like strange, jeweled flowers.  The presence of the stillness settled upon me once more, consecrating and sanctifying the entire space. The open floor, bordered by pillars and buttresses of bushes and trees which supported the high-domed ceiling of sky, clouds, and sunlight, and the cacophony from the choir of forest creatures all gave the impression that this was some primal cathedral.

I stepped further in, hesitantly, allowing the circumstances to wash over me.  As I emerged from the shadows of the forest into the bright midday light, I began to feel the anxiety and frustration that had previously been plaguing me evanesce, carried away like smoke on a breeze. It was as if the sunlight, the drone of the animals in the glade, and the aroma of the trees, moss and flowers were all flowing into my body and forcing out anything else that was there.  I wanted to speak out, to thank God for bringing me here, but a powerful urge beyond my own conscience compelled me to remain silent; I bowed my head instead. I remained that way for several minutes and let the sounds, smells, and sights swirl around me.  The stillness gently placed the palms of its hands upon the crown of my head, and tears spilled from my eyes. I felt something begin stirring in my chest as I rapidly went through a mental checklist of all the things in my life that were currently scaring, angering, and saddening me.

Frustrations at work.

Anxiety over providing for my growing family.

Lies I had told.

The faces of hundreds of friends I’ve had to bid farewell as life has carried me down its current.

Shame for a multitude of failures.

Each thought and memory flickered across my mind, like a slideshow being projected by lightning. As time wore on, I felt each thing leave me as it flashed and faded on the screen in the theater of my skull. Progressively, I was feeling lighter as each thought was lifted up, like stones raised from deep, flowing water. They were each exposed for a moment, and then carried away down some overgrown, unmarked trail beyond the clearing and through the woods.  I was not doing this; it was as if I was being examined, as if someone was taking inventory of my soul.  I realized that I was not in control of what was happening to me at this moment; the stillness was running the show. “Thank you,” I whispered.  It was all I could muster.

I stood still and silent in the forest sanctuary as the earth turned about me and clouds passed rapidly overhead.  This went on for what seemed like ages.  Gradually the clouds gathered and became thicker in preparation for an afternoon storm.  In time, the images stopped skipping around my mind, and I was released from the spot where I had been standing. Without an actual assertive thought, I knew it was time to leave.

I pushed back through the bushes at the entrance to the glade and returned, once again, to the forest path. The walk home, though entirely uphill, seemed to go much more rapidly than the journey in. Eventually I came back to the gate of creek-stones.  There was a round white stone, about the size of a loaf of bread, nestled into the leaf-litter in the middle of the trail.  I did not remember seeing it as I had entered.  I began to lift it up and noticed that its bottom-half had been embedded in the mud.  It was wet and soiled, heavy, and more difficult to lift than I had anticipated.  Once I had a grip on it I placed the rock amongst all the others at the entrance to the woods.  I stood for a moment, long enough to realize that if I returned, I would not be able to remember which stone was mine. Satisfied that this was acceptable, I emerged from the forest.

I still don’t know what was the purpose of that afternoon.  I didn’t receive any answers to my questions, and none of my unresolved circumstances came to any miraculous conclusions. I do know that the source of stillness lead me through the woods, beyond the gate of discarded creek-stones, to the sanctuary in the glade beyond the stream.  I know that my heart was examined, and that I allowed myself, for once, to surrender control of everything, the faculties of my body, even the process of my mind.

I know that, for now, this is enough to know.


Taking a Sick Day

I don’t have new content today, at least not in the way of “Hey, come check out my new post on [PS]!”

I got pretty sick this week, and I have been trying to prepare things at work should I have to suddenly leave when my wife goes into labor. As such, I haven’t had much time to write.  I have several pieces and thoughts in the works, but I am only about half way through all of it. I know, I know: “excuses, excuses…”

I would like to take today’s space to share a few things with you:

If you haven’t been over to Popgun Chao$, you really should stop by.  I greatly enjoy Cody’s analysis of comics and sub-pop culture.  I don’t even think you would have to be a comic expert to enjoy his articles; if you’ve ever heard of any major super-hero, there’s something here for you.  If you’re not in to comics, there’s something here for you.  In fact, you could start here.

You should also go by Andrew Eaton’s blog.  He’s begun a discussion on a pretty interesting article about reading the Bible from a literary perspective.  Go over and get involved.

This is a really cool website: In Bb 2.0

Currently I am reading Cry, the Beloved Country by Alan Paton.  If you are unfamiliar, it’s a novel about South Africa under Apartheid rule during WWII. The prose is brilliant and poetic; I’m only about half-way through, and it has already brought me to tears. Swing over to your library or book store and pick up a copy if you’re looking for a good summer read.

Recently, my school’s TSA chapter raised over $2,000 for the American Cancer Society.  I pledged to shave my head if they raised over $2,000.  I will be donating my hair to Locks of Love, and the event will take place late next week.  I am impressed at the level of giving and the spirit of generosity that was displayed by our students, faculty, and community during the course of this fundraiser.  I am proud to work among such people.

Lastly, here is the plug for guest writers.  I don’t want to have to say it again, but I will; please don’t make me beg you to send in submissions.

Thanks, and I love you all.  I am enjoying myself as I write for this blog, and all of the encouragement and positive feed back has truly been a blessing.

God is good.

Please come back on Tuesday, as I expect regular content to resume once I finish up this week.  Thanks, as always, for reading.

-Mike


Thoughts on the End of a School Year

Okay; there’s been a change of plans.

As it so happens, I need more time to finish “The Gate of Creek Stones: Part 2.”  As I began revising it over the weekend, I started to take the piece in a different direction than I had originally planned.  I like the new idea better, so I am going with it.  The result, however, is that it isn’t ready today.  Apologies all around.

Instead, I have decided to include a draft of a new poem.  I still don’t have a title for this one, but I am hoping that I will when I post the final version.  Enjoy!

***

I conclude today
begging students not to wish away time,
a treadmill exercise in futility
with only three weeks until graduation.

They sit along the back row of desks
leaning against the wall,
only half-awake, half-asleep, half-listening, half-aware
of the thousand first and last chances
sliding across their faces
then out the classroom door.

I leave the building
after the final bell
my brain filled with the hissing sands of exhaustion,
its thoughts reduced to a low, drowsy buzz,
the humming hive of my skull.

It may be thoughtless,
clambering into my car in that state of being,
starting the motor, floating sleepily down the road.
Showing little appreciation
for traffic signals, street signs, and oncoming vehicles,

I drift through a neighborhood on my way out of town.
Three young boys draw my attention,
riding bicycles as fast as they can
into the steadily blowing wind
that warm May afternoon.

They pedal, rising to stand and lean
face-first into the breeze.
They become frozen in that instant, forever in my mind:

smiling while the future is still present,
hanging in the interim
as it becomes the past.

Michael Hylton, St. Louis, MO 2011

This is me last summer, tired as hell, at the end of my road trip to Utah with Jonathan. I thought that this photo would be appropriate with the poem.

The Gate of Creek-Stones: Part 1: A Blessing of Honeysuckle

Yesterday I woke up feeling frustrated.  I couldn’t really understand why, except that frustration has been the general motif of my moods for the last several weeks. There is currently a great amount going on and changing in my life, and I know that I have been getting overwhelmed. I make efforts to combat these moods, but sometimes they are too potent and permeate my day, anyway. I’ve gone through phases like this before, so I suspect, in the end, I will be okay.

Anyway, at one point in the afternoon I was spiraling downward into depths of acerbity and testiness.  I eventually realized that I had been indoors all day, and that getting out might do me some good.

This might be a good point in this narrative to state that recently I have been making conscious attempts at living a healthier lifestyle.  Part of this commitment is to take a fifteen to twenty-minute walk every day.

As my mood declined, I decided that perambulation spent in solitude might help me to shake it off.  I cleared it with my wife, put on my sneakers, grabbed my phone and earbuds, and walked out the door.

We were supposed to have heavy thunderstorms that day, but by three-thirty in the afternoon there had not been a drop of rain.  The sky was still remotely foreboding, and the air retained all of the qualities of a thunderstorm, as if the day were still making its decision about what it would do.  The temperature was hot, which was pleasant, because by early May we in the St. Louis area had still been averaging temperatures in the low sixties. It was the sort of heat that licks one’s skin, settles on the surface for a moment, and then soaks inside and warms the core, too. The atmosphere was dense and heavy, thick with moisture from the previous weeks’ relentless rains. Everything was still; no birds sang, no dogs barked, none of my neighbors were out, and all of the cars in the parking lot rested in their spaces, unmanned and temporarily forgotten.

“Perfect,” I thought to myself, as I put in my earbuds and turned on “Take Care, Take Care, Take Care,” my current musical obsession. I then took off walking toward a wood that borders the back lot of my apartment complex.

I had noticed during earlier jaunts a well-marked trail leading back into the dense vegetation of this forest, just beside a set of utility sheds which stand in the furthest corner of the community’s property.  Since our apartments are set in the middle of a well developed suburban area, I always assumed that it lead through a shallow wooded area and into a neighboring high-end duplex community.  I had never actually seen where the path went; I just made an educated guess.  I decided, though, that this afternoon would be as good a time as any to to explore the trail.  The worst event that could have occurred is that I would end up in some privileged back yard, and then have to turn around and lap my apartment building until I wore myself out of crankiness. Walking in step with the rhythm of the music, I ducked in among the trees.

I was surprised as soon as I stepped behind the tree line.  There were piles of large stones placed on either side of the entrance to the trail, and seeing as many of them were smooth, rounded, and colorful, I guessed that they had all been carried for some distance from a creek which I knew flowed through the area. It was kind of interesting, because the stones had been put there deliberately, and there were so many of them that it could not have been an easy job.  Thinking about it put me into a quizzical mood, which helped to lift my disposition. Perhaps there was more to this trail than I had previously assumed.

I continued along, and after about one-hundred feet the trail dropped rapidly down into the forest and bent toward the creek. Because of all the rain, the vegetation had grown densely and wildly, in places almost completely veiling the path.  It was pleasant, though, as most of this uncontrolled life consisted of honeysuckle, one of my favorite wild plants.  The aroma of this flower is potently soothing to me. It reminds me of being a child, of summers spent tromping through the forests of southern Alabama, of building primitive fortresses along creek beds and trapping crawfish in makeshift traps.  There was more of the flower growing in these woods than I had ever before seen in one place. I kept waiting for the shrubbery to transition into thick briars and thorns, but it never did.  I only encountered low-hanging tree branches and rampant, fragrant honeysuckle.

“This is getting good,” I said out loud, not worrying that anyone would hear me. I did this for two reasons: one, I still had my music on, and I was experiencing the heightened sense of solitude that comes from wearing headphones, and two, I was becoming a little nervous that, no matter how deeply I pressed on, there wasn’t a house or structure to be seen. I began to suspect that I had finally, finally entered into one of my favorite escapist exercises; I had found a gateway to Narnia!

No, as it turns out I possess only a nominal sense of direction, and the path had actually turned subtly and lead away from the neighborhoods, into an undeveloped area that I was previously unaware existed. I kept walking, and after about twenty minutes I finally came to the creek.  The path became narrow and ran right along the edge of the surprisingly deep water bed.  It actually made me a bit nervous, because it appeared that the land on which the path was made could give way and slide into the water at any second.  The trail was well-worn, though, even this far back, and was carpeted with moss.  I figured it had been there for a while, so I trusted it enough to continue on.  Before I went any further, I remembered the creek-stones at the path’s entrance.  Someone must have carried the rocks, uphill and through dense vegetation, for over half of a mile in order to deposit them at the “gateway” to this trail.  I began to think I was in the process of receiving a gift. After all, someone had gone to all of that trouble to make the entrance to the trail clear and obvious.  If this person (or these people) wanted to, they could have kept it a secret.  It was as if it was meant to be shared. At this point in my thought process, I began to feel grateful.

I walked on for a while, probably another half-hour, and the trail continued to lead deeper and deeper into the wood.  At times the trail would fork and appear to turn back. I would follow these detours only to discover that they eventually lead back to the main path.  Now and then I would see evidence of human presence: orange tie-markers placed sporadically around branches and trunks along the trail, or an odd beer can or other refuse strewn in the bushes. Not so many that I suspected the work of disrespectful people rather than that of raccoons or cats.

And always there was the honeysuckle; it was dense and fragrant, with millions of blossoms in all stages of maturation.  It was like swimming through a sea of green, gold, and white.  I was wearing a yellow glaze from the copious amount of pollen with which I was making contact. The plant was growing so prolifically that it was impossible not to continually brush against it in many places along the trail.  When I felt like it, I would take out my phone and snap pictures of whatever I thought was interesting. It seemed the trail was never going to end.  At times I began to worry I would not be able to find the way back, and I thought about turning around.  Then, abruptly, things changed.

***

Coming soon on [Poor Scribbler]:

The Gate of Creek-Stones: Part 2: The Sanctuary


Many Ruminations

I don’t have anyting about which to write  today, at least not any one particular thing.

I have been thinking lately about the next month or so of my life.  In about five weeks I will be finishing up my third year of teaching.  It has been a pretty hectic year, to make an understatement. There have been many radical changes to our district concerning schedules, calendars, policies, etc.  There are many more in the works for next year, too.  In the Fall I am taking on a different course load than I have had until now, but I think that in the end it will prove enjoyable.  This year I took on a leadership role in my department, and I intend to continue serving in that role for next year as well. I am anticipating taking on more responsibilities with the clubs that I sponsor, and adding another organization to my retinue of after school experiences.  It isn’t yet definitive, but I believe that I will be taking over my school’s creative writing and Litmag. organization.  There are many things to look forward to.

I am looking for a summer job.  I don’t really care what I do for summer work; I believe that any opportunity could be enjoyable given the right mentality.  I think that it will be nice to have a job in which I will clock in, be told what to do for the day, and then leave. “Mindless” work as it is referred to, which is a term with a connotation that I think is unfairly invoked.  There is something to be said  for working on a simple task, doing it well, and going home at the end of the day satisfied with the work.  Frequently, more often than not, teaching isn’t like that.  Most days I travel home plagued by things I didn’t say, goals I didn’t reach, or opportunities I was too busy to take. At any rate, I hope I can secure something soon, as our circumstances have dictated that I find seasonal employment to supplement my income while my wife takes the summer off.

Which brings me to my next thought…

Just as my school year ends, or possibly just before, my wife and I will be blessed with our second child.  As far as we know, and from what current medical technology can tell us, it is going to be a son. I am thrilled beyond words at the concept of our tiny, but growing, family.  Beside having to pick up a summer job, I will be able to spend the summer sinking into the new dynamic of our household. I have found that with marriage and children, “adjustment” is a perpetual state of being.

My head is beginning to swim with pleasing thoughts: Who will he look like? What will his voice sound like? What games will I play with him? What songs will I sing for him? I hope he and his sister are best friends. I can’t wait to discover his quirks and anomalies. I am looking forward to testing the threshold of his smile.

Thank you, Father, for your humbling kindness.

I can confidently state that, for the first time in my life, I am not worried about money.  It isn’t that my salary is astounding; it is a blessing, it is adequate, and I am grateful to have a secure career.  I mean simply that I am not concerned about how we will get through the summer, with my wife taking off from work to have our son, or how we will handle a fourth person in our household.  This may sound antithetical to the admission that I must find a summer job. I do not view this as something that must be done out of a desire to build my own security system.  I think of it more simply as something that just needs doing.  If I find a great job, well, then, great.  If I find something that suffices, then it will suffice.  Were I to find something that changes the direction of my life and leads me to a place I have not yet imagined, then I will have further proof that God is amazing (too simple a word).  Do not misunderstand me; I have moments of doubt where anxiety creeps in, and I begin struggling and grasping for control.  In such times I must remember, before I am reminded, that I am not in control; I know that my Creator is.

Presently, I am sitting in a silent apartment.  My wife is doing the week’s grocery shopping.  My daughter has given in to the inevitability of her afternoon nap.  The dogs are asleep by the open balcony door.  I can hear the voices of children playing, back-dropped by many birds’ songs, around the duck pond just beyond our window.  I have just eaten a sandwich, and I am about halfway through a toasty dark ale, and there is nothing like a good beer in the middle of a warm day when one has nothing else to do.  The clicking of the keyboard and the whisper of the ceiling fan are holding me inside this moment.

I am writing.

I am breathing.

Good.

I am living.

***

This blog thing is taking off quite nicely.  The only crashing and burning has been on an emotional level, and has been (mostly) out of the way of public view. There are just a few more things before I finish today:

  • I embed a lot of links within my text.  I have noticed that not many of them get clicked.  I think this is because they are not glaringly obvious within this site’s layout.  Anything that is underlined is most likely a link.  You should click on it.  They are usually pertinent to what I am writing about, or they are fun, or I am trying to show a fellow blogger some love.  I won’t play any tricks on you, I promise.
  • Please feel free to contact me via e-mail. I freak out every time I get a message from a reader. My address is poorscribbler@gmail.com
  • I am on Twitter. If you do not want to subscribe to e-mail notifications from [PS] because you don’t like your e-mail inbox being filled up with stuff, this is a good way to receive updates. I (mostly) only use my Twitter account to update about the site.  Occasionally I will re-tweet a C. S. Lewis quotation or an update from a poetry organization, but I promise this does not happen regularly.  My Twitter ID is @mjrhylton.
  • Please, please, please, please send in your submissions.  I want to get people writing, thinking, and publishing.  It’s part of my vision for this site. Please send your well-thought-out pieces as an e-mail attachment to poorscribbler@gmail.com. I’ll contact you with further instructions once I have read what you sent.
  • Let me know what you think of the site, what suggestions, if any, you may have, or if there is a topic you would like me to think and write about. It’s hard coming up with ideas all on my own.