Saturday, February 28, 2009

Love Goes Down to Killybegs

In the foggy dew of morning I rise before the sun
and walk the time-worn path that generations have trod.
Down to the sea. Down to Killybegs and the sea.
Rustic hulls, aging nets lie sheltered in her arms,
while waters ripple softly
and seabirds soar silently in the awakening sky.
The thatched roofs of Killybegs are strands of gold
in the Midas touch of the sun's first rays,
and I drink the
morning cup of this mystical isle.

Was there e'er a land more enchanting?
Did e'er love find more fertile soil?
Or was it just your presence
that caused the earth to breath, to sing, to laugh?

The music…
Was it the haunting melody of Irish flute
and drum,
or the whistle of the wind on Slieve League cliffs
where once we stood in loving embrace?
The crashing waves,

the haunting sounds of the bodhran,
cannot match the pounding of two hearts, beating as one.

drank the joy of Ireland
as we hiked the majestic mountains of Mourne
and scaled the walls of Carrickfergus.
And only you could exceed the beauty and dark mystery of Donegal.
Her wild mountains and rugged shores,
her isolated beaches.
We dined on their beauty
and first tasted each other's love at old Fahan pier.
It was a wee bit of Heaven.
And we believed that Heaven was eternal.

From the old stone wall, I witness the gentle kiss of daybreak
on the calm, sheltered waters of the harbor.
Sweet Killybegs, suspended between sea and sky
Your ships go out; your ships return
and the cycle of life is like the steady beat of the bodhran.
We thought Heaven was eternal, too.

In the foggy dew of the morning I rise before the sun
and walk the time-worn path to Killybegs.
Down to the sea.
But my Celtic lover does not return today.
The land has lost its song,
and Heaven is not eternal.

Greg Silsby
St Patrick’s Day – 2006

Author’s note: “Love Goes Down to Killybegs” is somewhat of a departure from my usual offerings, both in terms of the photo and the writing. The photo is not original, but I have altered it in Photoshop, taking considerable liberty with the original for artistic effect. (Click on it to enlarge the photo and see it better.)

While I wrote the prose in the first person, it is the voice of someone else… one whose limited view of Heaven is the romantic love he finds amid, perhaps even stimulated by the enchanting sights and sounds of Ireland. Though blessed by the bounty of God’s gifts—immersed in the beauty of creation, lifted by the lilting melodies of those to whom God has given the ability to inspire with music, and warmed by the love of another—he mistakes the temporal for the eternal. He is in love with the gifts, but cannot see the Giver. It is all too often the story of man.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Reflections on Reflections

One of my most cherished childhood memories is riding in the family car at night. During the week Mom and Dad taught at a Bible college near our home in Minneapolis. But early Sunday morning we traveled to the small Minnesota town where Dad preached.

After the evening service we would head home under a black sky, spangled with stars. Our silver-grey Hudson Hornet severed the serenity of the rural countryside, a baritone monotone of twin-carbureted, straight-eight power. Mile after mile the sleek behemoth chased the illusive dual pools of light that pierced the inky darkness, and rumbled alone down the two-lane asphalt ribbon. Reflections of dashboard lights floated eerily on the inside surface of the car windows. More than one preacher has garnered a reputation for stretching the legs of every pony under the hood. And in this sense, as in many others, Dad excelled at his calling.

It was long before the age of seat belts—a time when parents thought nothing of letting their kids stand between the seats to get a better view. But on Sunday nights the three of us kids would sleep on our way home to Minneapolis, my sister on the back seat, my brother in front of her on a pillow-padded floor. The
youngest and smallest, I would wedge myself into the spacious shelf beneath the Hudson’s rear window. I can still recall lying on my back, looking up at the starry sky until sleep would overtake me.

But on those nights when I lay awake as we approached the city, I remember the comfort that came from seeing the lights of home reflected in the clouds on the horizon ahead of us. Tired from a long day, the lights of home were a most welcome sight. The promise of security and rest that only home could provide.

Long before I could see the actual city lights, the reflected light told me all I needed to know. Our own feeble headlights were incapable of showing me where home was; they twisted and turned with every curve in the roadway. But the light in the sky gave me a sense of direction, a goal, and the assurance of my hope for the future.

Today, as I stare into stained glass window reflections in a guitar, and listen to songs of worship and praise, of hope and comfort, I appreciate God’s gift of reflections. How welcome is God’s glory reflected from the consecrated life of a follower of Christ. What hope and comfort come from the reflections of Christ in
the testimonies, the praise and the music of His people. In the darkest night, when I’m weary from life’s long, winding road, even the reflection of His light on the horizon is enough to lead me safely home.