peaks and valleys

Life is supposed to be a series of peaks and valleys. The secret is to keep the valleys from becoming Grand Canyons.
Bernard Williams

“As the valley gives height to the mountain, so can sorrow give meaning to pleasure; as the well is the source of the fountain, deep adversity can be a treasure.”
William Arthur Ward

In the mountains, the shortest way is from peak to peak: but for that you must have long legs”
Friedrich Nietzsche

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(somewhere on the road in Gleann Cholm Cille in County Dongeal, Ireland / Julie Cook / 2015)

I’m sorry.
You should know.
For what good it is, I’m not sure.
Yelling and screaming with the full force of fury– into the nothingness of air…
At you…
You who remain so silent and painfully elusive.

You who are up there, out there, somewhere high above the clouds.

Do you see through those gossamer layers way down here…to me…?
To me who was knocked to my knees in overwhelming frustration?
The me who continues to claim, to speak and hold on to all that is…
all that is of you…
While you continue to remain so oddly distant and so painfully silent.

Persevere,
Forge the path forward
Fight the good fight
Have faith
Be bold
I hear you
I see you
I know you
I will answer you….

Words that trail off into the frustration, the sorrow, the pain, the heartache of all the ages combined…

We have always lived our lives in hopes of being bourn upward and aloft…
To be able to take wing, as the birds, soaring heavenward…
high amongst the peaks, riding the wind while looking down…
Always with the knowledge that ‘up there’ is so much better than down here.
For high up along the tips of those peaks there are no worries nor concerns.
The air is cool, crisp, thin, yet dangerously exhilarating.
The perspective is massive as all the woes and trials of below seem tiny and insignificant.
And it is up among those peaks where you reside…seemingly without me.

Those of us in the valleys far below are constantly looking upward, wondering, wandering, wishing and hoping to be high and up above. The weight of the world does not seem to weigh heavy on the backs of those high above…not as it does on us here below.
Those of us here below who feel the full heaviness of the crushing gravity of every iniquity, every misdeed ever committed…for we are nearly crushed under the weight of all we bear…

Yet it is here, down in the valleys, where the scars are forged and the skin is thickened.
For it is down here in these valleys low, where the trials by fire reside. Where mere mortals are tried and tested true…annealed in the furnace of an ever fallen, broken world.
Hard fought, arduous and painfully endured.
Products of all the damnation that ever was, is or will be…which is found within an imperfect fallen world.

And yet…
It is you and you alone who knows of our yearning and desire to be among the peaks…
You who knows of our desire, dare it be said desperate need, to reside with and where you are. Our hopes and dreams to be bourn aloft and carried far far away from the sufferings, the agony, the mere frustrations endured down here… down within these valleys of our lives.
And it is You….the One who sees, the One who knows and the One who longs to have us up, among the clouds with You…where the weight of all that is…is simply no more…

And so He comes…

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn…

Isaiah 61: 1-2

When a predator comes calling

“He was a killer, a thing that preyed, living on the things that lived, unaided, alone, by virtue of his own strength and prowess, surviving triumphantly in a hostile environment where only the strong survive.”
― Jack London
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(red shouldered hawk / Julie Cook / 2014)

“Gather up the woman and children,
and katy bar the door. . .
there’s a new sheriff in town”

It was raining.
It was also the middle of the day.
Glancing out the window, I spot something a bit out of the ordinary.
There, in the middle of the yard, in the middle of the rain, stood a bird.
And not just any bird mind you.
I did a double take.
That’s no crow. . .
Hummm. . .

By all appearances it seemed that an apex predator was making himself at home in the middle of my back yard.
And as it is most common to spy hawks soaring over head, seeing one standing in the middle of one’s yard was a bit unsettling.
Was it hurt I pondered.
Had it seen a mouse and swooped in for the kill?

I usually see hawks overhead, on a clear blue sky kind of day, lazily circling, contently catching a thermal and often being harassed by crows and mockingbirds doing their best to send the predator flying away from unsuspecting nests and young.
Growing up in the middle of Atlanta, hawks were a common sight as they are birds which appear to adapt well to change and urban growth. What do you think keeps all those city pigeons in check? However seeing one strolling around the yard is not so common.

I grabbed the camera and began snapping away. Unfortunately I was taking pictures through the slats of the shutters as I was afraid to make any noise or noticeable movement, plus I was shooting through the rain—the resulting pictures are grainy at best.

I never did see anything that he was actually chasing nor did I note an injury. He ran around a bit, which actually had me laughing as he looked a bit silly darting about in the soggy grass in the pouring down rain.
I was thankful our cats were indoors as I have read that a hungry hawk is not deterred by small dogs or cats–hunger is hunger and a predator can’t be choosy.

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Eventually my feathery friend must have tired of trotting through the wet grass as he decided to fly up to a nearby small tree, confirming that he was most likely not injured.
And whereas I enjoy such encounters with the wilds of nature, I just hoped this bird was merely visiting and had not decided to take up residence. Remember, I’m wanting to get a few backyard chickens- – – as the coop is vacant, ready and waiting—No chicken dinner here, no siree.

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