Hardwood | Prairie Public Broadcasting

Hardwood

Apr 18, 2020

 


It was a sort of a barbeque--although I think of a barbeque as a social event, something forbidden in the no-contact zone of this year of contagion--still, it was sort of a barbeque when we opened a bottle of New Zealand sauvignon blanc on the patio. We had a fire, over which we suspended some skewers. We dined at leisure, setting aside a hundred cares, as the sinking sun gilded the cornfields and the shelterbelts.

 

And then they came in procession, the Canada geese in Vs and lines, then the tundra swans in Vs and lines, then the honkers and swans together in Vs and lines, all in joyous voice, traveling in good order but calling in cacophony. I thought about the house finches returned to our feeders, the killdeer keening across the muddy fields, the redwings investing our willows.

 

I have a lot of friends, many of them fans of the Kansas Jayhawks or the NDSU Bison, who are bereft of seasonal joy this year on account of cancellation of basketball tournaments. I like a good game of hoops, have played a few good ones and many more mediocre ones, and myself do miss the annual ritual of the State B, but I take heart that seasonal joy comes from other calendars, ones no closer to God but more elemental.

 

So as the evening chilled and we retreated indoors, I got out a collection of prairie psalms I have been working on but haven’t shown anyone until today. This seems like the time to offer one for my hardwood friends. It is a psalm for the season.

-Tom Isern

 

 

March

 

Circles of silence
Islands in a sea of shouting faces
Circles immortal
Poised for the beginning of time
We watchers cannot cross the lines
Of paint and years
But we can go home again

 

I returned and I saw
That the race is not to the swift
Nor the contest to the strong
But time and chance
Happeneth to them all

 

For the God who has gathered us all here safe
From the dark and snowy highway
Who knows not time
But is master of the seasons
Who returns the redwing to the slough in March
Is God indeed of a hardwood court

 

A time to weep, 
And a time to laugh
A time to win
And a time to lose
What a little circle our experience is
And the hands of the Most High have bended it

 

For the God who has gathered us all here safe
From the dark and snowy highway
Who knows not time
But is master of the seasons
Who returns the redwing to the slough in March
Is God indeed of a hardwood court

 

Tags: