Priorities, Priorities.

It didn’t matter anymore.

That shipment of designer-label makeup and brushes Maggie saved and saved for, finally sitting in its box on her porch.

Those Mike sneakers Joe wasted his entire paycheck on.

The brand-new, glistening, powerful Lawn Steere tractor (and attachments) Lori drove home from the shop just yesterday. Parked in the outbuilding of her late grandfather’s estate.

Steve’s collection of bottle caps.

Ada’s books. Oh, how she loved books.

Even Clair’s six pack of beer, alone on the dusty counter.

None of that mattered, anymore, as Maggie, Joe, Lori, Steve, Ada, Clair, and every sentient being watched-heard-felt-breathed Methuselah’s Comet break through the atmosphere. And silence all of Earth.

©2021 Chel Owens

“Some people …are always finding fault with Nature for putting thorns on roses; I always thank her for having put roses on thorns.”

Alphonse Karr, as translated from his poem:
De leur meilleur côté tâchons de voir les choses:
Vous vous plaignez de voir les rosiers épineux;
Moi je me réjouis et rends grâces aux dieux
Que les épines aient des roses.

annie-spratt-NAB0RQ7oDv0-unsplash

Often, this quote is written as “We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses,” and erroneously attributed to Abraham Lincoln.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Late for Work

There isn’t time for smiling eyes and toddling legs; fat fingers grasping loose Cheerios.

There isn’t time for “Uh-oh” cups of milk -thrown, giggling, to the just-mopped floor.

There isn’t time for biting kisses, hair-ripping hugs, or I-got-your-nose-Mommy.

There isn’t time for all the ‘helping,’ all the sighing; all the crying.

There isn’t time for childhood.

So go to work. There isn’t time.

Photo by Tatiana Syrikova on Pexels.com

©2021 Chel Owens

“Opinion is really the lowest form of human knowledge. It requires no accountability, no understanding. The highest form of knowledge… is empathy, for it requires us to suspend our egos and live in another’s world. It requires profound purpose larger than the self kind of understanding.”

Bill Bullard

More Than a Number, by Gregory Joel

How often do we really look at the soul of the forgotten people? I loved this real life story my friend shared.

I couldn’t get the ‘Re-blog’ button to work, so here’s the entire thing, copied from his site:

She was walking down the road to the farm. I couldn’t make out who it might be. It wasn’t unusual to have new volunteers park at the gate and walk down. The “No Motorized Vehicles” sign doesn’t apply to the farm volunteers, but new folks don’t always know that.

It became clear that she wasn’t a volunteer as she got closer. Her pink top wasn’t a blouse but a cropped tank top. Her pants were a dinghy tan and her feet bare. It was a warm winter day, but winter, nonetheless. Maybe it was all she had. The clothes obviously hadn’t been washed in a long while.

The arms were quickly swaying back and forth, hands pointed outward. It was the addict’s walk – “schizting” and talking to herself.  In my old life I would’ve called it the “hoe stro’” and laughed at her. Today, it simply made me sad.

It may have been fifteen years since I found myself in her shoes – or lack of them – but I still have enough street sense to know to keep my eye on any addict. Stuff tends to disappear quickly. Addicts are quite resourceful when it comes to the “getting and using and finding means to get more”. I figured she was going to ask for money, but she walked on by without so much as a word or a sideways glance.

Photo by Arthur Yeti on Unsplash

I continued working, making sure to keep her in my peripheral vision. She stopped by the old compost pile at the south end of the farm. She looked carefully as she started walking slowly around the pile. Then it hit me – she was looking for something to eat.

I pick up culled produce from a couple of local grocery stores and add them to the compost area each Monday. It makes for great soil amendments, but I’m always saddened to see the amount of food that gets wasted each weekend. I realize stores aren’t supposed to sell products past their “Sell by” date. I know how people are about “ugly” produce – stuff that isn’t picture perfect. Much of what I pick up is still good to eat.

Many times, I’ve made food boxes to give away instead of throwing it all in the compost. Most Mondays I leave a good box of produce next to the pile. The farm is surrounded by hidden homeless camps and I don’t want it to go to waste. Maybe that’s what the young woman was looking for. Maybe she learned that something to eat could be found by the compost heap.

She had stopped circling the pile and stood there; sad eyes cast toward the ground. I put down my garden hoe and began walking towards her. She didn’t see me at first. She stood silently and never looked my way. As I got closer, her face came into focus. She must have been quite an attractive young lady at one time, but now her face was dirty, tired, and weathered, her eyes sunken and hollow. She probably wasn’t over thirty but looked to be much older. Hard living tends to age one quickly.

She looked up and saw me walking toward her. Her eyes showed fear and she hurried toward the river. One needs to be careful on the streets, especially a woman. I didn’t want to scare her, so I stopped and watched her disappear down the levee, headed for the river.

I wished there had been a box of food there. I wished she’d stopped for a minute and let me offer her some of the snacks I keep in my truck. I wished that she – that no one – had to pick through a compost pile just to have something to eat. I hurt for her.

She soon reappeared, made it up to the Trinity Trail, and walked out of sight. I went on about my work, but I couldn’t shake the image of her despair and shuffling searching. The lines on her face were burned into my memory. I couldn’t help but wonder whether she had a home to go to and people who cared about her. My heart broke for her. Empathy is a bitch sometimes.

When I first started fundraising for Opal’s Farm, I threw out a lot of statistics about food insecurity, food “deserts” (a misnomer but I’m not going to get into that now…), and our city’s low-income neighborhoods and how the farm would make a positive impact on it all. Unfortunately, it’s hard to see past a statistic, to see the face of someone else. I can’t empathize with a statistic.

Statistics are great, collecting data important and necessary, but it’s easy to see large numbers and be blinded to the individual. Quantification and identification aren’t solutions. Statistical data generates a lot of sympathy (usually in the form of pity), meetings and commissions but little action…

The young lady searching for food in the compost is more than a statistic. So is the old man I see regularly outside the neighborhood convenience store asking for change or simply something to eat. So are the kids who rely on a free school lunch to make sure they have something that day.

It’s easy to be overlooked or lumped into a category that makes them “the other” if one is just a statistic. Numbers can be overwhelming – “there’s nothing I can do so I’ll let someone else take care of it”. Just say “There but for the grace of God go I ” and go on about business…

There is something each one of us can do – a starting point for all our problems. We can stop. We can see the face behind the number. We can listen. Statistics don’t move people to action. People move people to action. Listening moves people to action. Seeing people as children of the same God and the same humanity as we are moves people to action.

In the oft-quoted passage in Matthew 25, Jesus says,

“I was hungry, and you fed me, I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink, I was homeless, and you gave me a room, I was shivering, and you gave me clothes, I was sick and you stopped to visit, I was in prison and you came to me… Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me – you did it to me”

I need eyes that see – really see – and ears that listen – not just hear – to do something for the “overlooked or ignored”. I begin the process of identification that allows me to serve the God in each and everyone of us. I can’t think of a better way to live…

©2021 Gregory Joel

Infinity and beyond…

“We react to what is in front of our eyes, not what the other possibilities may be. Our survival mechanisms are designed that way perhaps, taking in and processing what needs to be dealt with in the waking world of the moment.

“Yet we are also designed in such a way that we can at least conceive of those greater realities. Curiosity, imagination, thoughts, hopes and dreams… through these we touch a different reality every day that has its own inner life for us…”

Just a snippet from the wonderful perspective of Sue Vincent.

The Silent Eye

Yet, if one could ignore space and time and be everywhere and every-when at once it would, theoretically at least, be possible to count them. Even taking all future snowfalls for the projected lifetime of our planet into consideration, it would be a finite number. There was, once upon a time, a very first snowflake to fall. There will be a last. There would come a point where there were no…

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Love the World

Broken friendless lying dying, lifts a hand for

-anything-

Walking talking presses buttons, flashes past within her world.

Why stop living in the mirrors, in the spotlight;
save lying dying friendless one?


.sneaky unseen creeping coughing, enters silent crownèd killer.


Broken homebound lying sighing lifts her hand for

-anything-

Walking talking, in his sunshine, stops outside her locked front gate.

Why not wave at silent windows, in the sunshine;
save lying sighing homebound face?


Then or now, we all are people;

Now or then, we all need love.

-Look around-

and nourish others

Smile, wave, and love the world.

photo of a person leaning on wooden window

Photo by Dương Nhân on Pexels.com

©2020 Chelsea Owens

Wandered in for Carrot Ranch’s prompt:

May 7, 2020, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story to nourish. The characters can nourish or be nourished. What else can be nourished? A tree? A setting? Does the sunset nourish the soul? Go where the prompt leads!

Respond by May 12, 2020. Use the comment section …to share, read, and be social. You may leave a link, pingback, or story in the comments. If you want to be published in the weekly collection, please use the form.  Rules & Guidelines.