Wednesday, November 07, 2007


The trail at my feet is a carpet of orange and gold, red and brown. In places, it crunches at my step. Here and there, where wet patches dot the path, indignant, still-dry leaf tips curl upwards from their soggy torsos, protesting the humility of the puddle. I walk, and think, and crunch the crunchables in my way.

It looks like I'm the only walker on the trail today. One jogger huffed past me from behind, early on, but she didn't seem aware that we were sharing a bit of time and space together. Most of my companions are bikers in their expensive, streamlined suits. You'd think I'd stumbled upon the course of the Tour de'France by the gear these people are sporting. What I dislike more than their over-the-top attire are the black glasses they each wear. Are there eyes behind those lenses? I'm doubtful.

It's a melancholy day. I'm not sad, really, but I do feel alone. I'm alone in a way that permits unwelcomed thoughts. In this bubble of invisibility, I can't resist snatching from God those things I previously entrusted to His hands. "I'll have that back, thank You," I say, in my politest tone.

Just as I'm working my way through the batch, grabbing back one by one all the worrisome "what ifs" I've handed Him in past days; and all the regret from all the missteps that have brought me painful consequences, God sends me a boy.

He's tiny--so tiny he fits nicely in the bike seat behind his father (grandfather?), who is piloting a regular old, sensible, no-ambition-for-France bike. I love that the man is wearing sweatpants and a matching sweatshirt--real people clothes.

As they pass me from behind, the boy turns his shiny, black-haired head in my direction. I see enormous brown eyes. But he's leaning over and laying that tiny head down, and I don't think he notices me. He must be falling asleep, I think. It's the steady whirring of those wheels, and the blur of passing trees. He's probably closing his eyes right now ...

But just as I think that, one tiny hand shoots upward from the back of the bike seat. It lifts toward the sky ... and waves.

I smile. I can't help but smile.

Black hair shows itself above the bike seat. Dark brown eyes peek at me over the rim. I can't see his grin, but I know it's there.

In order to wave, I have to free my hands of all I've filled them with. "You can have it all back," I tell Him. And then I wave.

And the boy waves.

And I wave again, grinning like an idiot.

And for two long minutes, while that bike keeps dropping more distance between my new friend and me, we share our mid-air conversation.

When he disappears around a corner my eyes can't follow, I feel a bit of loss. Then the words to a favorite song come back to me.


A spider spins the lines from leaf to ladder
A trellis spans the canyon to Kathmandu
A transatlantic cable carries transatlantic chatter
And there are lines that run from me to you


A circumstantial glance from passing strangers
Both exchanging sadnesses of souls
Time will take the travelers so they may not remember
But there are lines that hold them even so


Lines that run from vine to branches
Lines that carry love's advances
For those who try to find their place in time
There are lines ... lines

How the strong and mighty take their places
Following the politics of war
Eliminate the enemy
And never see their faces
There are lines that maybe we ignore

Lines that run from vine to branches
Lines that carry love's advances
For those who try to find their place in time
There are lines ... lines

Now and then I hear my grandma's laughter
From the cloud of witnesses above
And every generation from Abraham thereafter
Makes the lines that lead us back to love

Lines that run from vine to branches
Lines that carry love's advances
For those who try to find their place in time
And for those who long to know that they belong
For those who pray
And those who up and walk away
There are lines ... lines

~Billy Crockett, from the album "Watermarks"

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4 Comment:

At 11/07/2007 12:31 PM, Blogger Zing had this to say ...

Thank you for reminding me- When I give the baggage over to the Lord He doesn't want it back. And I've been taking it back allot lately.
This was a beautiful story and reminder of God love for us.

At 11/07/2007 1:20 PM, Blogger Pam had this to say ...

Aren't kids the best! I love how in an instant they can take a wandering thought and turn it into a heart filled with joy. God puts them in just the right place at the right time.Thanks for sharing.

At 11/08/2007 1:56 PM, Blogger Kim had this to say ...

This one is definitely going on my mental list of favorite Shannon Woodward posts. ;) Loved it.

At 11/08/2007 6:28 PM, Blogger Sylvia had this to say ...

I can just see that little guy grinning and waving to you, and you grinning and waving back! Makes me think; how many lives do we touch without realizing it?


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