Saturday, June 9, 2012

missile silos, birds, children eating grass and a drainage ditch

  We had a massive storm Thursday night --and massive rain, which flooded the garage because the whole church parking lot drains to the garage... I discovered the flooding in the garage late yesterday (sigh). But, even so, yesterday was beautiful --warm, almost hot, with a light breeze. This morning, bright sun is shining in the easterly windows, and out to the west, ominous clouds crowd about the edge of town....

The back of St. John's in Eagle Butte, SD on this fine June morning

--so we have closed the storm windows and we will sit and wait and see. We are both relieved to know, because someone told us last night, that if there is a tornado blooming, the siren in town will wail. The siren wails at 10am, noon, 6pm and 10pm --like the old church bells, reminding folks of the business and dangers of life --giving order to our days. Surely the daily wail sounds as different as when it wails because of fire... as when it will wail for tornado....

Fortunately, there are many weather stations in South Dakota with doppler tracking systems... like this one close to Rapid:


When we take the back road --the dirt road in to Rapid, we pass by this tower.... On these back roads we pass by many other weird enclosures --cyclone fence topped with razor and barbed wire --sometimes just gravel, other times close-cropped grass. Gross little overprotected padlocked empty acres. At first we had no idea what these enclosures were, so we made up stories... one of my wild stories included an abandoned but still secretly used missile silo. Turns out, that's probably exactly what they are....



--oh hunh....

When I google missile silo South Dakota and any other such verbiage, nothing shows up along the back roads and routes we take... and yet, there they are... seen 'em with my own eyes. The madness of suicidal defense systems....

And, still, the birds make a racket singing as the sky behind the house turns from hopeful morning blue to storm warning gray, and the dogs bark across the field, and the children walk alongside the fence and pick grass stems to put in their mouths... I wonder if they have eaten breakfast, and remember that it is Saturday, not even any summer school, and the men who like to drink too much are gathering by the cedar tree and getting ready for another day of begging, and Joel asks, 'what's the opposite of ontologically' and I respond, after the sound of the wind passes by the screen door, 'netherly?'... as if that were a word.

At prayer this morning ( from Ecclesiastes beginning at about 5:8)
If you see in a province the oppression of the poor and the violation of justice and right, do not be amazed at the matter; for the high official is watched by a higher, and there are yet higher ones over them. But all things considered, this is an advantage for a land: a king for a plowed field. 
The lover of money will not be satisfied with money; nor the lover of wealth, with gain. This also is vanity. 
When goods increase, those who eat them increase; and what gain has their owner but to see them with his eyes? 
Sweet is the sleep of laborers, whether they eat little or much; but the surfeit of the rich will not let them sleep. 
There is a grievous ill that I have seen under the sun: riches were kept by their owners to their hurt, and those riches were lost in a bad venture; though they are parents of children, they have nothing in their hands. 
As they came from their mother’s womb, so they shall go again, naked as they came; they shall take nothing for their toil, which they may carry away with their hands. This also is a grievous ill: just as they came, so shall they go; and what gain do they have from toiling for the wind? Besides, all their days they eat in darkness, in much vexation and sickness and resentment.
This is what I have seen to be good: it is fitting to eat and drink and find enjoyment in all the toil with which one toils under the sun the few days of the life God gives us; for this is our lot. Likewise all to whom God gives wealth and possessions and whom he enables to enjoy them, and to accept their lot and find enjoyment in their toil – this is the gift of God. For they will scarcely brood over the days of their lives, because God keeps them occupied with the joy of their hearts.
I do hear just a little happy irony (? --or is that word too strong) in that last bit 'o scripture. --we will enjoy life because we will scarcely brood over our days, God keeps us occupied with joy.... But that is at least good --because otherwise we eat in darkness, in much vexation and sickness and resentment....

I am grateful for the imaginations of storm trackers who morph such things as radar to look for tornadoes... I am grateful for the imaginations of those who dream of a world without nuclear missiles... I am grateful for the imaginations of the children who rise early on a Saturday morning, and wander in the field looking for God knows what... I am grateful for all those whose imaginations call them to work quietly and even anonymously to feed, shelter, comfort those who bear the affliction of the world...

--and I grieve as the battles rage to right oppression and greed, and grasping for power in the church, in the nations, in all the peoples --so right on one hand, so wrong on another.... From way out here, I see only vexation, sickness and resentment towards others, turned in on itself --the madness of suicidal defense systems....

Look first for the Kingdom of God.... and all these things shall be added unto you... Alleluia!

That shall be my mantra today, as I brood over my day and dig a fruitless drainage ditch in the driveway before the garage --fruitless, because the one I worked up this winter when the drive froze up better than any ice rink is now choked with weeds... yet I will dig in hope... as a prayer for the whole church. Amen.

7 comments:

Fran said...

This is a moving post in so many ways. However, I am stuck on those damned silos... They remind me of agents of death, who you know you see, but whom others tell you are not there. "You are imagining things," they say. Or perhaps, "Somebody has an overactive imagination."

We are so often reminded to not see things as they truly are, because it will cost those who do not want us to see them.

The words from Ecclesiastes strike me..."riches were kept by their owners to their hurt." Their hurt. Ours too.

Grandmère Mimi said...

Sometimes I wonder how Ecclesiastes made its way into the biblical canon. Some passages seem as cynical as the musings of the winebibber in Omar Khayyam's "Rubaiyat". Still, I enjoy reading the poems, and I feel a fondness for the man at the bar drinking his wine. In the same way, I enjoy Ecclesiastes which shows us humans as all too human, the way God made us, but I'm still a bit taken aback at times that the words I'm reading are in the Bible.

You two lovely people stay safe in the storm.

it's margaret said...

Fran --their hurt, ours too, because we are all related. And yes, what a powerful statement on the 'agents of death'. --Yeppa.

Grandmere --I too wonder how Ecclesiastes made its way in to the canon --but I am grateful that it is there --and the Song of Songs --words that SHOULD be in the bible to help us remember!

The storm blew over without a peep --we'll see what tomorrow brings!

Ann said...

The silos are monitored - you just don't know until you try to enter the area. Some were sold as homes - people build down in them. Some are just empty = some not.
Re:chewing grass - all rural kids chew on grass.

it's margaret said...

I used to chew on grass, and I'm a city kid (went country before I turned fifteen, so learned to drive a tractor before a car )--chewed on lots of grass until someone pointed out to me that dogs piss on grass... just sayin'.

JCF said...

Special prayers for {{{Mr Witty}}}, midst the lightening and thunder.

it's margaret said...

JCF --ooooooo last night was another wicked good storm. We lost power for a while and had 60mph winds. I haven't stuck my head out yet this morning to see how we fared this time 'round.... !!!