Wild Bells 30 December 2020

My sister posted this poem, written 150 years ago by Alfred Lord Tennyson. I was thinking that I long for those wild bells to ring out grief, sadness, depression, and bad attitude. To ring out name-calling and bullying and politics. To ring out us versus them. To ring in that frosty light in the wild sky. Ring in softly falling snow. Ring in joy and peace and hearty laughter. Ring in love and light. To ring in all that is good and kind and humble and just. And for me, to ring in courage.

Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
The flying cloud, the frosty light:
The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.

Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.

Ring out the grief that saps the mind
For those that here we see no more;
Ring out the feud of rich and poor,
Ring in redress to all mankind.

Ring out a slowly dying cause,
And ancient forms of party strife;
Ring in the nobler modes of life,
With sweeter manners, purer laws.

Ring out the want, the care, the sin,
The faithless coldness of the times;
Ring out, ring out my mournful rhymes
But ring the fuller minstrel in.

Ring out false pride in place and blood,
The civic slander and the spite;
Ring in the love of truth and right,
Ring in the common love of good.

Ring out old shapes of foul disease;
Ring out the narrowing lust of gold;
Ring out the thousand wars of old,
Ring in the thousand years of peace.

Ring in the valiant man and free,
The larger heart, the kindlier hand;
Ring out the darkness of the land,
Ring in the Christ that is to be.

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The best Christmas gift

I love this whole piece about love and family.


The front of the 1965 Christmas card with all seven Prescott children. Cathy would have just celebrated her first birthday on December 7. The front of the 1965 Christmas card with all seven Prescott children. Cathy would have just celebrated her first birthday on December 7.

I wrote a bit about those old family Christmas cards a few days ago in “The birthday season.” I had most of the cards my mom and dad made during the years they had together when we were children, until my mom died in 1966.

I couldn’t put my hands on two of them: 1964 and 1965. 1964 was the year the last of the Prescott siblings was born, Cathy, on December 7. I think my sister Sally has a copy and I will get my hands on it soon!

But Sally did find the one from 1965 and looking at it now, I was reflecting on its simplicity.

Like the rest of the series begun in 1956 when George was born, it has each of our…

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There’s Room for One More — jpburgess

In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria.  All went to their own towns to be registered.  Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called […]

There’s Room for One More — jpburgess
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Celebrating Cathy 7 December 2020

Today we remember and celebrate our sister, Cathy.

She was my little sister, but even though she was younger, she was my rock and my protector. We could look at each other and burst out laughing, unable to stop. She never failed to show up when I didn’t even know I needed her.

She brought birthday cakes covered in bright frosting and took delight in seeing it smeared all over my kids’ faces. She loved and encouraged them both and would be so proud of who they’ve become.

Up for some adventure? Cathy was always ready for a road trip or a movie or a walk around a mountain lake. She road around the corn field with me when I ran the grain cart. She stayed with me when she had other places she wanted to be.

She brought joy, frustration, mirth, music, healing, and love from her heart. We miss you today on your birthday and we celebrate you.

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Contemplating Rabbits 27 November 2020

Photo by Steve Smith on Unsplash

I find myself contemplating rabbits again. Each morning when I go out to feed, there are four adult rabbits that scamper out from under the small porch. I’m fairly certain that they meet each day, knowing my schedule, and discuss how they will handle my entrance into their world.

One day they will just peer out from under the boards at me, each in a different spot. One might be next to one of my flower tubs, one under the bottom step, and the other two on either side at the edges.

Another day, I’ll step out and all four will clearly have just emerged from under that porch as they each have a spot in the yard not far from the safety of “underneath.” And they stare at me.

But this particular day, I think they decided I needed some shaking up. I emerged from the garage door and there they were in various places in the yard. They didn’t seem to notice me. But when I hit the end of the sidewalk, all rabbit hell broke loose. Each one lit off in a different direction hitting full rabbit speed in seconds. I spooked and they each ran a circle around me, like maybe they even drew some ancient symbol as they careened around me from all sides.

Who knows what they’ll do tomorrow.

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Vigilance 20 November 2020

She hadn’t noticed them there, under the small deck. 

Walking out to feed the horses, the rosy glow of the cloud bellies drew the phone out of her jeans pocket to snap the photo. Good Morning make it a great day. Sending the Tweet with the photo and tucking the phone away, she was steps from the hay.

But the “Mornin’ boys” stuck in her throat at the first stab of pain at her ankle. And by then, it was too late.

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Surprise Flight 13 November 2020


Lifted off his feet by the miniature donkey was humiliating enough. But landing six feet away in a pile of manure, well, there was nothing to be done about it now. The owner had just come around the corner.

The big paint, who clearly didn’t like him, and tolerated the trim around all four hooves today. He’d been whistling when he began on the donkey, but hadn’t paid any attention when the paint had touched muzzles with the donkey just after he’d top-dressed that last hind.

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Flash Fiction 11 November 2020

Twenty or so cows were wandering in the neighbors new wheat and in the corn stalks across the road. When it registered in her mind that these were some of the cows she was on her way to feed, in the pasture. The closed gate was open.

“Do you want me to close that gate?” She’d asked him several hours earlier.

“No-leave it. They won’t travel this far north and I have to go back down to the windmill anyway.”

The grand chase commenced.

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Flash Fiction 6 November 2020

I’ve been reading some about flash fiction and decided to play.


The November observation was going to happen, already had for most teachers. Betty was still fretting. She’d broken the “rules” again. A first year was not supposed to step outside the bounds. She supposed she must be at the bottom of her supervisor’s list. Well, maybe she’d keep her job through the winter holiday.

Howling winds whipped the once-stylish hair into her eyes and then back across her cheek. She finally sat, exhausted. The knowledge that she’d never find the door brought up a list of things she wished she’d done, said. Betty was not on that list.

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A Ride 7 October 2020

fullsizeoutput_11b1The leaves are yellow, the Virginia Creeper is all red and gold, and the air is cold with a fall breeze blowing. Saddling up, my horse is as ready as I am to get out and ride. It’s hard to kick up your heels when the sun is bearing down on you and the hot wind steals any moisture from your nose and mouth leaving you wishing for winter snows.

But not this day. I mounted and we rode off to see what the morning might bring. The dry corn stalks crackled, broad leaves crunching under compact hooves. Fall has that smell that I love but find very difficult to describe, all dry and earth with just a hint of winter.

We soon fell back into a familiar rhythm, his buckskin neck soft under my fingers and his black mane keeping time with the wind. Once-in-a-while, he whinnied back to the friends we left behind, and I urged him on telling him we’d see them again soon.

Passing by a blunt-nosed baby snake sunning in the warm gravel, we moved together into the west winds that blew in the promise of the coming winter.

If you enjoyed this, you’ll enjoy this: An Alliance of Stars

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