Shedding Our Bark

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The Willow trees in our back yard were only saplings when we moved here nine years ago. They are extremely fast-growing trees which are now at least thirty feet tall. As I sat in their shade, I observed the wide splits in the bark. The old years growth sheds away as the tree expands. Eventually it falls away back into the soil. We are like trees. Those who grow the most continue to shed things they no longer need; negative attitudes, hurts, ideas, stereotypes, resentment, and bitterness, etc. Some are trapped in their own bark unwilling to let go and change for the better. How are you at shedding your bark?

Growth brings expansion
Stretching us //sometimes to our limit
Breaking us out of our comfort zone.
Growth causes cracks in our perception
Finding, perhaps there are other ways
Of thinking or feeling that may be different.
Growth brings change
Change is often painful
Forcing us to cast off old ways of thinking;
To have growth, we will have to change.
With change comes new strength;
New strength moves us beyond the present;
Fulfills our dreams for today…
Knowing tomorrow, we will again
Expand, stretch, and shed our bark.

Photo: Dwight L. Roth

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Flow

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In the beautiful Pisgah National Forest of North Carolina we find Looking Glass Falls. It is a beautiful sight to behold, flowing under the large outcrop of limestone rock. The layers tell the tale of having formed in a large shallow sea. All of that changed as the earth groaned and plates shifted in rebirth. Now it is a mystery for all to view in wonder.

Beneath a thousand years of Sedimentary Rock
The flow continues, as it has since these mountains
heaved and broke forth from an ancient  seabed;
Stories thought to be sealed in stone for eternity
Cracked // twisted // and came forth as the earth convulsed.
Shuffled like a deck of playing cards they rose
in the hands of the creator;
Separating land and water;
Forever changed  // as the flow began

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Photos: Dwight L. Roth

Stairwell Paintings

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I love painting large canvases. I get them from the local Habitat Restore and recycle them into my own creations. The problem is, I don’t have places to hang all of them. A couple of years ago, I ask one of the town officials in Waxhaw if I could hang some of them in an old stirwell. I was able to hang several of them. Everyone who goes up and down gets to enjoy them. Much better than sitting in my garage collecting dust.

Large paintings hanging

Free showing for all to see

on stairwell landings

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Paintings by: Dwight L.Roth

Missing Pieces

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I saw this beautiful butterfly on my orange Zinnias today, as I was mowing my back yard. He did not seem to mind as I got very close with my iPhone to get a few photos. Later, when I looked at the photos I noticed he had the outer edge of his right wing missing as well as one of the tail pieces.  I had to think how this butterfly is just like us with all of our flaws and missing pieces. Best of all, I saw it did not make it any less beautiful at all. With all of our flaws, we too are still beautiful, created in the image of God.

Beautiful creature

Even with missing pieces

We are still worthwhile

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iPhone Photos: Dwight L. Roth

 

 

 

 

Love Steam Trains

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Those who know me know I love steam trains and train songs from the past. One of my favorite train song is the Wabash Cannonball. It became a folk song with a variation of lyrics depending on who was singing it. Roy Acuff made it popular in early sixties on country radio stations. It describes a train that could really run the rails; which is where the title cannon ball came from. There was not a train by that name when the song was first written and  recorded by the A. P. Carter and the Carter Family. The lyrics make you feel like you are there seeing this beautiful machine carry its load up and down the country. It gives me chills when I play it on the guitar.

Other train songs I love are: Willie Nelson’s version of The City of New Orleans, The Wreck of the Old 97, and a folksong called Freight Train.

Wabash Cannonball
From the great Atlantic Ocean to the wide Pacific shore
From the queen of flowing mountain to the south bell by the shore
She’s mighty tall and handsome and know quite well by all
She’s the combination on the Wabash Cannonball

She came down from Birmingham one cold December day
As she rolled in the station you could hear all the people say
There’s a girl from Tennessee she’s long and she’s tall
She came down from Birmingham on the Wabash Cannonball

Our Eastern states are dandies so the people always say
From New York to St. Louis and Chicago by the way
From the hills of Minnesota where the rippling waters fall
No changes can be taken on the Wabash Cannonball

Here’s to daddy Claxton may his name forever stand
And always be remembered ’round the courts of Alabama
His earthly race is over and the curtains ’round him fall
We’ll carry home to victory on the Wabash Cannonball

Listen to the jingle the rumble and the roar
As she glides along the woodland through the hills and by the shore
Hear the mighty rush of the engine hear the lonesome hobos call
You’re traveling through the jungle on the Wabash Cannonball
Songwriters: A.P. CARTER
© Peermusic Publishing
For non-commercial use only.
Data From: LyricFind

Stamp Art of Steam Train: Dwight L. Roth

Listen to the song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i435ovKX9aE

Heat Wave

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Temperatures rising
Europe is having a heat wave
Looking for relief
Cows and people love water
Cooling off under shade trees
Swim as ships pass by
Skinny-dipping man chillin’
Right next to our ship!

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Photos: Dwight L. Roth

Our prompt from Lillian today at d’Verse was temperature! It is getting hot, hot, hot, this summer! When we were on our trip up the Rhine, temperatures were in the mid 90s F. It was still a very enjoyable trip. We stayed in the shade as much as possible. All along the river people were camping and swimming finding relief from the heat.

Join us at: https://deversepoets.com

Shedding Religion… Finding God

IMG_0170 (2).JPGThe older I get the simpler life becomes
I feel sort of like a tree shedding it bark
End of life // is not too far in the future;
makes me stop and think…
“What is really important and true?”
The older I get
the more focused faith becomes;
Moving beyond religious trappings
guilt, fear, and control;
(Knowing those
were nailed to the cross for me.)
Understanding God’s grace in my life
brings me peace;
Knowing I am blessed
to have lived this long
in good health.
I let go of all those things
I once felt obligated to do;
Understanding that the metaphors,
taken so literally by some,
Are there to guide me along the way…
not to prove right or wrong.
I let go of “streets paved with gold”
and “mansions over the hilltop…”
knowing God is Spirit;
No need there
of physical things
we hold so dear.
I believe the image of God
is not flesh and blood
nor what I put on or take off,
but rather an attitude of spirit
that is loving and compassionate.
I came to the realization
that all those prayers I prayed
demanding results
never got past the ceiling.
I realize prayer is meant
to change me // not them
Prayer brings me closer to God,
as I focus on my needs
and the needs of others.
Infomercial religion has no appeal to me
…nor or to God…
There is no place for peddling the gospel
for personal gain…
nor to exert control over the faithful.
Hamster cage religion
leaves me frustrated
and going in circles;
Faith and action bring a feeling
of authenticity and connection.
Church should be uplifting…
an encouraging fellowship
full of good news
connecting us with God
showing us how to love as Jesus loved.
To me the Bible is my guide …
not my God…
words of truth to live by.

Photo: Dwight L. Roth

Locks

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Traveling up the Rhine River, we passed through several locks, where the ship enters and is raised to a higher level. We went through most of them at night, but on this evening we came to a lock just before sunset. It was an interesting experience to see the water filling the lock and watch us rise. The opposite doors slowly opened and we moved on up the river just as the sun was setting.  It reminded me of life.

Rocks in our life stream…
Pause // close the door behind you
Let good friends lift you;
Move to a higher level
Let negative pain behind.
Summer sun drops low…
Enjoy the evening orange hues
Tomorrow // new day

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Photos: Dwight L. Roth

Posted on https://dversepoets.com open link night!

Confluence

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She grew up in the bush of Alberta
I grew up in the sticks of Pennsylvania
With a very unlikely chance of ever meeting;
But, we merged at a confluence of lives;
Education in Virginia brought us together.
Moved to North Carolina to create a new life…
Flowing through time // working // raising children
Traveling back and forth like an ebb and flow;
Visiting our families separated by time and space.
All this the result of an educational confluence
*
He grew up in a small village in Barbados
She grew up poor nearby… washing clothes on a washboard
They moved to London // then to New York City.
He lost his sight later in life due to diabetes
She lost sight in one eye as well
Now we and they live down the street from each other
Where another confluence of lives and friendship emerged
The girl from Alberta // the boy from Pennsylvania
The girl from Barbados // the boy from Barbados
*
What are the odds of this unlikely friendship…
After fifty years of ebb and flow?
I now teach him guitar lessons each week;
Along with the young boy next door…
Whose mother is from Puerto Rico.
At age seventy-two we both have much to gain
In this rhythm we call life.

Teaching guitar to Danny and David (2)

Photos: Dwight L. Roth

Amaya, at d’Verse asked us to think about the ebb and flow of the earth as a living thing. The people and organisms are constantly flowing from one place to another. The migrants on our southern boarder are an example of this. Most of us in the US have families that came here from somewhere else. Today, I looked at my life over the years, and the places where the flow has come together in the most unlikely confluences.

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Dutch Ingenuity

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We were told trees are not planted on the dikes at Kinderjik. The reason is because if storms come through and blows them over it would tear up the dikes. There are a few willow trees that grow close to the windmills. They are used to grow saplings year after year for the Miller to use in various situations. The fence you see above is made of woven willow saplings. Reeds grow all along the dikes and are also harvested and dried. They are use for weaving baskets. Reed roots also help stabilize the dikes. They are places for ducks and birds to live and nest.

Reeds and willow sticks

Harvested every summer

Stacked and dried in sun

Builds fences, gates, and baskets

Dutch ingenuity shows

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Reeds grow all along the dikes at Kinderjik and are dried for use

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Willow sticks and reeds are stacked to dry for future use

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Goat pen gate and feeding trough made from willow saplings

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You can see how the saplings are trimmed off this willow stump

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One of very few trees seen on the dikes of Kinderjik.

Photos from Kinderjik, Netherlands: Dwight L. Roth