Natural Beauty

Building momentum on the bike down the slope, we caught up with the gentle breeze. From the gathering where my daughter loves to sing down to her grandmother’s home where she loves to play.

Enchanted by the simplicity of rolling, we find a familiar lush lawn and drop our bikes, slipping off sandals to allow bare-skinned feet to meet soft rain sprinkled grass.

It’s prickly with an occasional stick, maybe memories of words that hurt, as we walk beneath a beryl foliage of light. We worship, we sing, we laugh, we talk, we find a well of wilderness, of beauty, like a waterfall, sunshine pouring through the leaves, mixing with the breeze. I slow down, linger in that spot where the light seems to dance. We think of You.

This place reminds my soul to catch the Wind, to absorb the Light, to let my heart burn bright. We walk, feet to grass, we sense your beauty tickling our souls.
There is richness of life in this day, not measured in the accumulation of anything, weighed rather by the quality of every breath, the beauty of moments, together, in what we may mistake for boring or waiting or walking. We see the breeze sway the tall grass, leaves flicker with green luminescent light, we turn to sniff the flowery sweet scent, we glance at the flickering leafy light.

Then off home, a warm bath, a simple meal with loved ones bumping elbows, bread broken and wine sipped. Outside the light dims and the delight and surprise sparkle in childlike eyes, lightning spluttering from a short lived insect.

Briefly here and glowing silently then gone.

Words & Photos by Jonathan McCallum

School Terribly Wonderful

Transparent blue liquid bubbles in a slim beaker gradually formed an electric azul crystal that I gently placed on my bedroom shelf.

Ms. Papadopoulos taught history of the ancient Mediterranean—her ancestral backyard—passing it on through modern day stories from European cafes.
A world of history
Stories flowing from past to present.

The desire was growing
A longing
To know the world, to interact, to share stories together.
To be a lifelong learner.

Like that day up in the Tibetan mountains, running along the grass plains next to the yaks. Millennia upon millennia of history that I hadn’t read about in school.

School
So far beyond the books and beyond the tests
Which, at best, make us robots and numbers,
And always make me cringe.
I don’t value them. I value you, your story, you, just you, without the numbers, letters or titles.

They were many, the days in the classrooms, often grey and fog-tinged, when those of us with restless bodies longed to stretch out into the world, to go beyond.

To stand up and read
The world
Like a book full of vibrant life, dangerously real.
Adventures to be had, sights to walk and stories to experience.
Life dug up like archeological fragments, shared history.

And I find myself longing for more.
Out on some grassy hill looking to sea
Or beyond a mountain peak
Knowing that I learned what I loved.

And I loved to learn.

 

Words & Photo (of a friend’s bookshelf) by Jonathan McCallum

Life Unfolded

Life Unfolded
Beauty I hold
A child
Behold!

I too
A child
Once held
In arms was told
To gather hope, to love to wonder, to unfold
Into bright sun-flamed delight.

One day
I met you,
You who hold
Eternity in the twinkling
And the sun and all delight in your hand.

You
A child
Held in arms
Gathering hope,
Unfolding a time
For majesty, found in poverty
For power, found in meekness
For forgiveness, found in the friendship of a peace prince

There
Held
I found a friend in a reigning King,
Wonder, love
In a hero to behold.
Hope gathered
Life unfolded.

By Jonathan McCallum

Star Ablaze

A stable birth,
Red, messy, wet, naked,
Star ablaze.
In Palestine, the West Bank.
Through warmth and pain, the earth may rejoice
Your birth,
Peace arrived in the fragile newborn.

A dangerous unarmed rabbi-to-be,
Ready to overturn empires, overrule kings, cast off any allegiance to the world-of-just-now.
Bearing a kingdom of hope, of living the moment, of eternal love.
Not arriving from above, but from within, a teenage Miriam, a womb for a while.

Heart-yearn for abundance and free,
Some abide on shore of the love-filled ocean.
We find shelter and learn to swim in the waves of your kindness
That will never stop, never cease caring for us.

By Jonathan McCallum

Man of Peace

Hills of Tyre, Southern Lebanon
Further along the coast, over the hills, there is a closed border.
A border you walk through, man of peace.

You healed her daughter in these hills,
Persistent trust exchanged for a miracle.

Now, nearby the ancient port where cedar trees were floated to Solomon,
In the souk, I thought I caught a glimpse of you.
Beside you an Arabic speaking man, on the other side a Hebrew speaking man.

You, the one who speaks all languages and, above all, love.
Reuniting Arab and Israeli, even when they mockingly say it can’t be done.
You walk a different path, helping weapons gather rust, clog up with dust,
The streams flow, vineyards grow.
Life with you, life anew.

By Jonathan McCallum
Photos & thoughts about my time in Tyre, Lebanon here: http://www.jonathanmccallum.com/2014/11/21/harbouring-peace/