Sunday, May 18, 2008

praise to the potter

30 minutes after the trombonist declares a Hymn of Praise has begun, Mosaic Woman and the other 100 or so members of the Academy Chorale climb onto the risers behind the orchestra. 60 minutes after they emerged to sing, I am present to that trombonist again who is crying out into the evening by himself.

The men sing out... "Let all that has life and breath sing praise to the Lord."

The women join in and with the intensity the line deserves, the concert ends. We applaud to praise the performance of Mendelssohn's Symphony No. 2. To praise the gifts of those whose passion for music have been revealed.

Nine hours earlier I am handed a ball of clay. With Jeremiah (18:1-6) and Paul (Romans 9:21) in my head I am told to do this... For twenty minutes keep your eyes closed, and get to know the clay.

as I worked the clay I pulled out a variety of ridges... stained glass, jazz, music, gardening, Mosaic woman, teaching, science, friends, church, prayer, doodling, family. I didn't name them as I went, I just knew there were plenty to make and I kept working those ridges. But when I worked the one side (of what Mosaic Woman thinks is a jaw bone of an ass), the other ridges were faced down in the palm of my hand. It occurred to me that if I just relax in God, his hand will shape me; smooth out those sharp edges. When I allow God to be part of this formation of who I am , the other parts that are resting gently in God's hand are still being shaped.

Last weekend I went out to weed a Hosta bed that runs down the side of our house. God, worked another part of me as my attention was caught by a movement in my neighbor's dogwood.

I love warblers and in years past I have spent the first two weeks of May celebrating their migration. This year one came to me. Four days later, between a stained glass store and my parent's condo, I stop by the Monocacy Nature Center, a home away from home 25 years ago, and a warbler hot spot in the Lehigh Valley.

I didn't see any warblers on that short walk, but there was that deeper desire: to stand still and listen to water flow and birds sing.


  1. I am so mising the warbler migration this year. But I did see a hummingbird zipping through yesterday.

  2. Stuck in a traffic jam two weeks ago, I saw two birds, splashing and preening in a puddle by the side of the road. God's creation made our construct of concrete, loaded with cars seem so incredibly clunky.

    And thanks for the reminder about why cat and kid were so attached the other day!

  3. The song, "The Potter's Hand" comes to mind as I read your post...which you may have observed (or maybe not) frequently brings me to tears....I know not why.... I go where I think I am called either kicking and screaming or in tears frequently.... Product of being a PK is what I blame it on....

  4. Hummingbirds used to frequent this neck of the woods, but I've not seen any the last few years. What I don't remember as being in northern Kentucky at all, but I've spotted fishing the creek during the winter months is a big crane of some sorts; and over behind our school there's been a redbird occupying the area I look at through the one window on a daily basis. In my younger years I was a rabbit hunter. Along the way I realized that carrying a shotgun had nothing to do with enjoying the experience. Just to get out in the woods, listen to the dogs bark, and breathe in the silence otherwise was worth freezing in the snow-covered fields. If I had it all to do over, reading Annie Dillard has made me think that a career as a naturalist would be right up my alley...

  5. The exercise with clay sounds very interesting. As for birds: I enjoy the brief glimpse of warblers, too. Sadly, the few hummingbirds that we managed to attract a couple of years ago aren't around anymore.

  6. Hi Wayne,
    I came to your blog through Jim's at Brainwaves.

    On Monday, as I was driving home, I started thinking about how my life would be so different if I went blind. (I know, sometimes I just shouldn't think) Anyhow, one of my first concerns was: "How would I do art, then?" I immediately imagined myself asking my husband to buy me lots and lots of clay just to keep me from going completely insane. In my mind, my eyes were closed and I could see the clay being shaped in my hands. I was working on a face, an eye to be specific.

    Then I came home and read your post....

    BTW, I had a look at some of the mosaic and stain glass pieces; wow. Nice stuff.


  7. GG-- maybe next year we can both give some time to see the migration

    Michelle-- clunky! your welcome.

    Giggles-- I have seen you moved in church. Hymns tend to get me too.

    Jim-- I would bet that big crane is a great blue heron

    Kievas--may you be blessed with hummingbirds this summer

    Mich--what a story!! thanks so much for sharing it with me. also thanks for the compliment on our crafting exploits

  8. Kievas, what kind of feeders are you using? I came across Perky-Pet's Top Fill feeders, and they're supposed to be effective at attracting hummingbirds. Plus, they’re really easy to fill and clean.


Thanks for visiting Stratoz. I dig comments. Feel free to leave one here.