April 12th, 2008

hound of heaven

Supplication of the Black Aberdeen

I pray! My little body and whole span
Of years is Thine, my Owner and my Man.
For Thou hast made me -- unto Thee I owe
This dim, distressed half-soul that hurts me so,
Compact of every crime, but, none the less,
Broken by knowledge of its naughtiness.
Put me not from Thy Life -- 'tis all I know.
If Thou forsake me, whither shall I go?

Thine is the Voice with which my Day begins:
Thy Foot my refuge, even in my sins.
Thine Honour hurls me forth to testify
Against the Unclean and Wicked passing by.
(But when Thou callest they are of Thy Friends,
Who readier than I to make amends?)
I was Thy Deputy with high and low --
If Thou dismiss me, whither shall I go?

I have been driven forth on gross offence
That took no reckoning of my penitence.
And, in my desolation -- faithless me! --
Have crept for comfort to a woman's knee!
Now I return, self-drawn, to meet the just
Reward of Riot, Theft and Breach of Trust.
Put me not from Thy Life -- though this is so.
If Thou forsake me, whither shall I go?

Into the Presence, flattening while I crawl --
From head to tail, I do confess it all.
Mine was the fault -- deal me the stripes -- but spare
The Pointed Finger which I cannot bear!
The Dreadful Tone in which my Name is named.
That send me 'neath the sofa-frill ashamed!
(Yet, to be near Thee, I would face that woe.)
If Thou reject me, whither shall I go?

Can a gift turn Thee? I will bring mine all --
My Secret Bone, my Throwing-Stick, my Ball.
Or wouldst Thou sport? Then watch me hunt awhile,
Chasing, not after conies, but Thy Smile,
Content as breathless on the turf I sit,
Thou shouldst deride my little legs and wit --
Ah! Keep me in Thy Life for a fool's show!
If Thou deny me, whither shall I go? . . .

Is the Dark gone? The Light of Eyes restored?
The Countenance turned meward, O my Lord?
The Paw accepted, and -- for all to see --
The Abject Sinner throned upon the Knee?
The Ears bewrung, and Muzzle scratched because
He is forgiven, and All is as It was?
Now am I in Thy Life, and since 'tis so --
That Cat awaits the Judgment. May I go?
-- Rudyard Kipling

What a day

Well, I am home warming myself up with some hot gatorade after returning from today's ten-mile hike. It was quite an adventure.

I spent all day yesterday on a dizzy ride due to a reaction to some new medication. I went to bed around 8:30 last night, with a chest that felt as if someone had cleaned it out with a garden rake, and with chills and dizziness. I got up at 6:00 this morning, feeling all hollowed out, but with the major symptoms mostly in abeyance. (At least, there was no dizziness, thank God.)

And so I went ahead and took our Scouts on another ten-mile hike. My Second Adult was my son, siege. Hike leader was Bryan, Mapigator was T.J. The other two Scouts were Jordan and Mike.

The day was chilly and moist, with some real breeziness. It felt like rain all day. As we gathered to take off, we prayed. One of our prayers was to be spared the rain -- and we were. (Way to go, God!)

In the end, though, there were challenges enough without any rain. For some reason, this was our toughest hike. It took us six hours and forty minutes to cover 11.1 miles. The last 3 1/2 miles was the longest trudge of its length I can remember. But the first half of the hike took only 2 1/2 hours. So I think it was a mental thing more than a physical thing. The guys began to complain and conjecture how far we had to go by mile six or so.

A couple of moments to comment upon. 1) Hays Cemetery (see picture, below) is so identified on the trail, but there is no other sign of a cemetery. No headstones at all, just a big spread of daffodils. Somehow, that's comforting. 2) We did get lost once, down in some bottoms, before we got ourselves straightened out and headed up Frog Pond Ridge. Lots of mud today, and all the creeks were running strong.

The day continued chilly and raw. My throat took a real beating. But we all finished in good order, though siege wound up carrying T.J.'s pack as well as his own the last mile. On the way home from the National Forest, my engine started to chug and the Check Engine light came on, though I managed to get home without incident. But that just adds to the day's challenges.

We got back an hour and a half late. Most of the guys slept all the way home, and I don't blame them. It's very good to be home, and I'll be praying that my voice is in good shape to preach tomorrow.

Click on a pic to enlarge

The obligatory The obligatory BEFORE picture
Hey, they're awake!
Heading down Grubb Ridge Heading down Grubb Ridge
A natural cathedral, what?
Hays Cemetery Hays Cemetery
Unmarked but not undecorated
Any port in a storm Any port in a storm
Michael dens in a hollow tree
A tricky passage A tricky passage
Bryan makes it dryshod
Crossing the finish line Crossing the finish line
T.J. and Zach -- weary but triumphant