Monica E. Smith

Monica E. Smith

Wednesday, April 08, 2009


There is a pond
in a field on State Route 287 that I love. A few years ago, it wasn't there, but a small corn field grew in its place. The land was very low in this area, and during one very wet summer it flooded, killing all the corn. I remember going by each day and watching the corn plants hanging lower and lower, dying a little bit more each time I passed, and thinking how terrible this loss was.

Eventually, the corn succumbed totally, and could hardly be seen for the pool of water that enveloped it. The summer was an unusually wet one, so the little pond never actually drained completely; in fact, it grew wider with each new rainfall. I wondered if the people who owned this property would end up filling it with more soil, and build it up again so they would be able to plant more crops. But that never happened. It was left to nature.

Strangely enough, the little pond never completely drained, and remained even throughout the autumn and winter months and into the following spring. And each time I passed I wondered what would become of that once green field. I missed seeing the corn plants swaying in the breeze. Oh, there is plenty more corn around these parts, but it was just the thought of a living thing dying that made me sad. Little by little, though, the pond seemed to become prettier, with all types of marshy plants growing around it. It looked natural, like it belonged there, as if, maybe, this is what it was meant to be all along.

Over the course of another year or two, the little pond continued to grow and become deeper. I watched with more and more curiosity each subsequent year. Eventually I began to see a few birds stop by, and then some families of ducks. It was certainly not unusual to see the Canadian geese stop to rest on their way from here to there in spring and autumn, either. The ducks are regulars now, some of the geese stay year-round and in the past couple years I have even seen some blue heron and a snowy egret wading at the water's edge. I saw the egret only once; perhaps the little lake was a convenient stopover on his journey. But the blue heron have been there a few times.

I look forward to each new spring, watching the increasing families of ducks and geese move in, wondering what other new birds and animals might adopt this place as home. It's funny, but I rarely think about that corn field anymore. I missed it at first. But the lake has grown into a beautiful natural surrounding, the perfect home for a lot of creatures. I love looking at it on bright sunny days, the water sparkling, the ducks and geese floating along, young ones trailing in their wake. And I'm hoping that snowy egret decides to stop by again one of these days. I haven't been able to catch him on film yet, but if he returns I will.

Odd, something seems vaguely familiar to me. I can't shake the feeling that I have heard this story before. Something about being dried and withered, diseased and suffering, dying, changing, living again in a new form... 

Happy Easter everyone.

Where Once a Lowland Corn Field Stood

There is a limpid pool
Where once
A lowland corn field
Stood languishing
In marshy soil,
Drained of its sweetness
And finally succumbing
Under a midsummer
Jasmine sun.

It is said that life
Must run its course,
That out of death
Will come new life.
And so it is
Where once
A lowland corn field
Stood, another now
Draws breath.

'Twas washed away
What could not flower,
But the land was not
Left barren.
Life is sustained
Through nature's wisdom,
Change its only order, for
Where once
A lowland corn field
Stood, the snowy egret
Now is boarder.


Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow...

Spring has sprung, but someone forgot to notify Mother Nature! Here it is, not a week before Easter, we are well into April and this was outside when I awoke this morning. Living in Ohio, you just have to laugh sometimes.

With my woodfire stoked, my wee warm dog by my side and the hot coffee percolating in the pot, I am good to go; but in an attempt to awaken spring, or, perhaps, scare off winter, I offer the following few words as a nudge.

Sanguine Expectation

He waited, imagining
In breathless anticipation
As each silken layer
Was slowly,
Almost painfully
Peeled away
To reveal
The delicate gift
Flowering within.  
As if to sense
He could take no more,
The tiny green bud
Finally, mercifully burst
Into a profusion of color

Spring had sprung!

("Sanguine Expectation" from Kindred: A Family Portrait)

Sunday, April 05, 2009

The King of Glory Enters...

Immaculate Conception Parish; North Lewisburg, Ohio (Diocese of Cincinnati)

A Lenten Journey
(with permission)
by Paula D. Oshinski

We walk beside our Blessed Lord Jesus as He makes His entrance into Jerusalem amid the waving palms and pussy willows, hearing the shouts of "Hosanna!". 
Our Journey takes us to the Last Supper in the Upper Room where Jesus will give us the Greatest Gift, the Holy Eucharist, the Gift of Himself.
We once again journey to the Garden of Gethsemane to comfort Our Lord as He waits for what He knows will happen--where He asks His Father, as we all have asked at moments in our own lives, to take this Cup from Him...The tramping of the soldiers' feet startle us and make us realize that we are on the Way of the Cross . . .
The blows of His scourging make our souls cry out for mercy for Him. We stand with Our Lord at the trial. We weep and whisper, "Ecce Homo" (Behold the Man!) And as Barrabas is given his freedom and the crowd shouts, "Crucify Him", our tears speak silent volumes...
We walk with Our Lord as He stumbles under the weight of the Cross and falls three times, and our hearts yearn to help Him carry It, as did Simon of Cyrene. 
We run to Him, as Veronica did, and wipe His Precious Face with the Veil, imprinting the Icon of His Divine Humanity on our hearts.  
We hear Our Lord consoling the weeping women--the Great Consoler Comforts us in the midst of His unspeakable suffering. And then, we see the anguished face of His Blessed Mother as she beholds her Son and Our Lord, and Her Heart is broken. She weeps, for Him and for us . . . 
Suddenly, we are where we would never desire to be, on the hill of Golgotha, shaken by the deafening strikes of the hammers driving the nails into the Hands of Our Lord--the Hands of Healing, the Hands of Love. The Cry of Love pierces the air as the nails are driven into the Feet of the Master. . .
Time stops. We feel the excruciating Crown of Thorns as it causes Our Lord to endure indescribable pain. We feel great sorrow and pain piercing the Heart of the Blessed Mother as we stand beside her and John at the foot of the Cross. Jesus Forgives Us! We see the gathering darkness and hear the Seven Last Words of Our Lord on the Cross. Then, Jesus speaks: "It Is Finished." The earth trembles. . . 
We walk with Joseph of Arimathea to take down the Body of Our Lord. Jesus is anointed with sweet-smelling fragrance, wrapped in fine linen, and is laid in the Tomb. How can this be, that the Creator of All, Our God, is buried?!
In the midst of our great grief, we are wrapped in a shroud of peace. We remember Our Lord's Promises. Sunday morning dawns, and we walk to the Tomb with the women. The Tomb is bathed in Holy Light. The stone has been rolled away. The Angel exclaims, "Behold! He Is Not Here! He Is Risen! Alleluia!" The Resurrection of Our Lord is accomplished, and we shall rise with Him at the end of our Journey to Eternal Life. Christos Voskrese! Voistinnu Voskrese! Christ Is Risen! Indeed He Is Risen!
(for Byzantine Catholic Easter references, see also Byzantine Catholic Church