An Autumn Day

I originally posted this many years ago. However, this was lost in time when I took this site down for five years. I’m republishing it now as example of my short fiction work. I hope you enjoy!

It has been a very long time since I sat down and tried to write much in the way of fiction, other than the occasional poem. Today, the mood struck me to give a shot at it. So, without further adieu, I give you An Autumn Day.

An Autumn Day Picture

There is a hint of decomposing leaves and burning oak in the air. There are very few birds singing their song now. Most have taken flight for a warmer climate. The crisp sound of leaves and twigs cracking and breaking resonates around us as our eight legs make contact with the ground. We are surrounded with a beautiful tapestry of color. Vibrant reds, warm yellows, and faded browns fill every nook and cranny of the ground. Hardly a bare spot exists.

Just as I pause for a respite and to take in the beauty of my surroundings, Jarvis whispers quietly, “Uncle James, look over there.” There on the horizon stands a four point buck. He is noticeably nervous as it is now deer season and his only refuge is this small nature park just outside town. With ribs pressing through his coat and breathing heavily, I suspect he has been on the run for some time and is not a part of a larger group.

Knowing just enough about animals to understand that you do not approach them when they are frightened, I advise Jarvis to stand still and watch from a safe distance. Jarvis complies, but Lucy starts to growl and lunge violently. In an instant, the deer snorts and darts over the hillside. Well, at least we had a moment to admire him, I said as we resumed our walk. Jarvis just quietly said, “Yeah. I wish we wouldn’t have brought her.”

Lucy, still keeping the leash taught, has not given up her quarry and persists in trying to break free to give chase. Fortunately, she is still young and is unable to break free of the tightly woven nylon leash. Eventually she succumbs to my urgings to move forward and once again, returns to trotting between me and Jarvis.

As we wonder through the woods, my mind drifts off recalling the events of the past year. I ponder those months of being lost in my own wilderness. How the rays of light shinning through the trees in the wood we are now walking are rather symbolic of the light that God shined on my journey. Still feeling the twinge of pain in my heart for the pain I caused my family, I gently reach out and caress Jarvis’s head and tell him I love him. He reciprocates the sentiment without breaking stride or even so much as looking back. Still, I know he loves me, that is just his way.

The next twenty minutes or are quiet with the exception of the sounds of nature, our breaths and Lucy occasionally warning whatever animal she sees in the distance with a growl or bark. As we walk, I wonder what is going on in his head. Normally he is quite chatty, even during our nature walks together. Finally, I give in to my curiosity and ask what is bothering him. He replies in a subdued voice, “nothing.” I pressed the issue no more.

We reached the car right as the sun fell below the tree line. The air is getting bitter now and the wind has picked up. This is a perfect day for some hot cocoa, I said to Jarvis as we buckled our seat-belts. He replied with enthusiasm, “Yay, hot chocolate!” Hot chocolate it is then, I replied with a smile.

As we pulled out of the nature park, I asked the boy if he would like some music on the way home. He replied no, which is for the best as Lucy is normally quite nervous on car rides. This is unusual for any dog I’ve ever seen, but nervous she is, so I drive slowly towards home.

The silence continued throughout the car ride home, which was no surprise. I could tell he was preoccupied by something, but I wasn’t sure what. Occasionally, I glanced back in the rear view mirror to see if he was awake. He was and he looked sad. It was then I realized what his “nothing” meant. He was thinking of her again and how she abandoned him. This sent a shot of pain through my heart. How could my sister, or any woman for that matter, turn her back on such a beautiful child? This is something I’ll never understand. However, I do understand his pain and I know him well enough to let him be when he does not wish to talk. I simply said, I love you Bubby, and let it go at that.

Upon arriving home, we were greeted with the wonderful scent of potato soup and homemade crusty bread. Mmmmmm… I said to Jarvis as we approached the door. Smells like Amy has cooked us up some good stuff. He replied, “Yummie!” while clapping his hands and jumping with excitement. We then make our entrance into our warm, cozy apartment where Amy greets us with a “Hello!”

She is standing their in her usual school teacher attire with my old green Ponderosa apron on to protect her clothes. Warmth fills my heart as I think of how much I love her. For the next few minutes, we engage in exchanging the usual pleasantries’ and inquiring about each other’s day. There is nothing particularly exciting about the conversation to an outside observer, but it is close to heaven on earth for this man who once was homeless and destitute. I just thought to myself, I’m a lucky man!

Dinner time arrives and we gather at our small, oval kitchen table. The dog takes her usual place on the floor, at my right side, ready to beg for any morsel she can. Never mind that her food dish is full! We all join hands as Jarvis leads us in grace, as he usually does. The steam from the potato soup has a hint of pepper and the crusty bread is warm and thickly sliced, just like I like it.

The remainder of the evening follows the status quo. Jarvis gets his bath after some play time. Amy reads Jarvis a book or two to help settle him down. I sit and go through the evening email and comment queue. After all the usual routines are completed, we join together in Jarvis’s room and kneel together in prayer. Once the boy is comfortably tucked in and Amy is singing him his song for the night, I gather the dog and take her out for her final walk of the day.

I walk out into the front yard and connect Lucy to the leash that is tied to the tree. As she takes care of nature, I light up a cigarette and gaze into the stars. Still feeling a bit depressed from everything that has happened in the last year, I turn to the only power I know that can help. With a smoke filled exhale, I simply utter, God help me.

Friendly-Faced Vipers

They pull you in with their words from sweet tongues
They lower your guard with times of laughter and fun

Do not fall into their charm and allure
For their poison there is no human cure

They share enough of themselves to gain your trust
But keeping your guard against their deceit is a must

Beware the friendly-faced vipers
The friends that prove to be liars
Know their words are poison to you
Real friends are truly the few

Give them not a chance to strike at your fragile heart
For it is your life they will surely try to tear apart

They will strike where you are weakest regardless of the cost
For their conscious is empty and their souls are lost

All of your family and friends are fair for their games
These vipers are quick to point at you and cast blame

Beware the friendly-faced vipers
The friends that prove to be liars
Know their words are poison to you
Real friends are truly the few

We all know a friendly-faced viper or maybe a few
Being honest with yourself that viper could be you

They are those that spread lies and rumors about others
No matter the harm to children, fathers and mothers

Surely they will give account one day for their harm
Until that day keep yourself and family well armed

Beware the friendly-faced vipers
The friends that prove to be liars
Know their words are poison to you
Real friends are truly the few

Fading to Grey

Of all my passions, of all the things I have spent the most time doing, of all the things I cannot live without, music is very high on the list. While I’m no music expert, I am an audiophile and I simply cannot live without my music.

The last couple days, I’ve been really digging a good mix from one of my favorite bands, Jars of Clay. They are a very talented group with a sound that ranges from mellow and introspective, to up-beat and toe-tapping. While listening to this mix, the thought passed that, if I had one choice of a song to be stuck in my head forever, I would want Fade to Grey from their Much Afraid (1997) album to be it.

I express myself through the music I’m listening to and Fade to Grey is one of those songs that, when I need it the most, lifts me up and puts my feet back on the right path. It is a very emotional song for me as it speaks to my past and present. I won’t go into sappy emotionalism or into an autobiography here. Suffice it to say the lyrics of the song have very deep meaning for me. See lyrics below video.

Fade To Grey

It’s not hard to know what you’re thinking
When you look down on me now
Your trance of love is seeking
To turn this world around
But in my state of blind confusion
No God can pull me out
I see your love is willing
To turn me inside out

And then I see you there
The lonely tears I cry
I wish they’d release me

It’s in despair that I find faith
Summon the night to bow down to day
When ignorance is bliss
Save me from myself

[Chorus:]

And then I see You there
With Your arms open wide and You try to embrace me
These lonely tears I cry
They keep me in chains and I wish they’d release me
Cold is the night but
Colder still is the heart made of stone, turned from clay
And if you follow me
You’ll see all the black, all the white fade to grey

Fade to grey
Fade to grey

[Chorus x 2]

Putting aside the lyrical significance of this song, Fade to Grey is just an all around wonderful song to listen to if you can appreciate music for music’s sake. From the very first note, to the climax, through the chorus and all the way to the end, you feel the passion of this track. This song has such a well written and produced build up that, at its climax, I found tingles running down my spine and I simply could not resist the urge to tap my feet and drum my hands on my knees. Yeah, it’s that good!

In the last few years, I’ve probably heard this song a few hundred times and I’m not kidding when I say I could put it on repeat and play it all day long. Now, from some people, that would be no big surprise, but from me, that’s saying a lot! I rarely like to listen to the same song twice in a day. Often times I won’t play the same song twice in a week. I have a large music collection and I love diversity in music. But this song, of all the songs in my collection, is the one song I would want stuck in my head for eternity, if I could only choose one.

If you are a music lover, you owe it to yourself to check out this album. Even at 18 years old, this album simply rocks!

You’ve read my 20 cents, now it’s your turn!
If you could only pick one song to be stuck in your head for eternity, what song would it be?

7 Bassists That Simply KICK ASS!

It’s no surprise to anyone who knows me, but I’m a serious music fan. There’s very few things I love more than a driving beat and some wicked bass work. Here’s a list of some of my favorite bassists of all time strutting their stuff.

Enjoy!

God Answers Our Prayers

I asked for strength and God gave me difficulties to make me strong.
I asked for wisdom and God gave me problems to solve.
I asked for prosperity and God gave me a brain and willingness to work hard.
I asked for courage and God gave me dangers to overcome.
I asked for love and God gave me troubled people to help.
I asked for favors and God gave me opportunities.
I received nothing I wanted.
I received everything I needed.
My prayer has been answered.

~Unknown

God hears us, and He answers our prayers.