The Literary Corner: Renegade Writer’s Guild
“To Every Thing There is a Season”
By Julie Terry Cartner
Glorious sunflowers covered the yard, their sunrise bright colors nodding in abeyance to their idol, the rising sun. The explosion of colors regaled my eyes with beauty, my heart with joy. Stalks, 2 straight and strong as fence posts, supported blooms seemingly too heavy to hold up massive heads, brimming full with seeds, still tender and green.
As each day progressed, those shimmering heads would follow the path of the golden sun until, in the evening, the sun would slowly sink beneath the horizon as the flowers, matching the impossible hues of sunset, sun-streaked rays dancing brilliantly across cloudless skies, would wait patiently for its re-emergence the following dawn.
Reverent, and glorying in the beauty provided, seemingly just for me, I exulted in the radiance, even knowing the days were numbered. Soon the brilliant petals would begin their descent into middle age, old age, and then death.
But as the days passed and the petals withered, I saw a new reality. Now the once radiant blooms were replaced by drooping heads and blackened faces. Sadly, I mourned the loss of such joyous beauty, but only momentarily. Even as the flowers seemed to droop their heads in shame over the loss of their splendor, their true value emerged in the hot afternoon sun. Although they were no longer stalwart, and weakening stalks could no longer support their massive heads, those same flowers provided perches for hungry birds as they feasted on the succulent seeds.
As I watched, a new dance replaced the former ballet of blossoms. Golden finches darted from flower to flower, harvesting the now ripe seeds of the sunflower. Brilliant hued songbirds feasted on nature’s bounty while providing a concert of song, notes of unparalleled beauty filling the late summer air. Monarchs and tiger and zebra swallowtails flitted from flower to flower, capturing the last of the savory nectar. The once fluttering petals now teemed with new life as nature progressed from one stage to the next.
Even as I longed to catch the scene on film, I knew no camera could catch the beauty of the colors, sounds and motions of this extraordinary waltz. Hard as we try, man cannot duplicate the glory of nature. We worship beauty in its many forms, be it flowers, the sunset, or the first blush of youth on the face of a child. As God’s creations, they are all worthy of reverence.
But at the same time, much can be said for the other seasons of life. Is a sunrise lovelier than a sunset? Is a bud more attractive than a flower? Isn’t there beauty in both the unlined face of a child and the lines of experience etched in a wizened face? The sunflowers’ lesson is clear. Each season of life creates its own beauty, its own power, its own value. The blossoms are beautiful in their own right, but life is more than dew-dropped petals. We need the blooms, but we also need the seeds. All stages of life have glory and value.
“Stay Above the Fray, Honey”
By Stephanie Williams Dean
A friend ended our recent chat with these words.
“Stay above the fray, Honey. Spread your goodness, like always.”
She was referring to the messiness and craziness of life. Her words have stayed with me. The word, fray, is defined as a battle or fight.
Sometimes life feels like a battle as the devil is always at work through people and circumstances. You might be having a joyful day, but he finds an avenue to creep in, sucking you into drama. You can be focused on spiritual pursuits, and he still manages to stir up conflict. You can be involved in good works, but he even manages to bring negativity to those situations.
Sometimes, staying above the fray is difficult. You defend yourself, and an argument ensues. You counter a mean comment, and the situation snowballs. You back away, and you’re attacked more aggressively. It can be hard to know how to deal with the devil.
Sometimes it takes intense focus and a will of steel to remain positive. Focus your attention on the Lord, and allow people the right to feel any way they need to feel. Permit people to perceive situations in any light they need to see them. Simply, walk away from the negativity and conflict.
You have important work to do. Stay focused on the Lord. He will lead you out of every battle and make you a winner of all fights. Stay above the fray.
“Why We Write”
By Linda H. Barnette
Last week I received a devotional from a friend, and the subject was writing and why people do it. Although I majored in English, read all the time, and write sometimes, I had never really thought about the reasons that make people want to write.
Obviously, there was writing before the Bible was written, but I started looking there for Scriptures that mention writing as had the one in the devotional from Job. After talking with his friends about his situation, Job laments in Job 19:23 “Oh, that my words were recorded that they that they were written on a scroll.” He apparently thought that other people should know his story. In Jeremiah 30:2 God tells the prophet to “write all the words which I have spoken to you in a book.” And in Exodus 31 the author relates that Moses received the tablets with the Ten Commandments written on them in stone “written by the finger of God.” So from the beginning, the word was important and needed to be written down.
So just from reading these and other verses I began to ponder further about why people write. The first reason seems to be that we all have a story and that each story is unique to the individual writing it. I still have the autobiography that I wrote my first year at Catawba College. The word “autobiography” itself means a biography of a person told or written by that individual. Many famous people such as Benjamin Franklin, Nelson Mandela, and Mahatma Ghandi have penned their autobiographies, and most of us have probably read some, such as Anne Frank’s dairy, which tells the story of her short life. Even though most of us are not famous, our stories are equally important to those that know us.
Another reason for writing is to preserve things for posterity. That is why I personally spend so much time researching and writing my various family histories. I also write about my own life so that my descendants will have a record of my story. I believe that that is a great gift for our children and grandchildren. It is proof that we were here and of what we did.
It’s also important to write with a group. In our writing group, Renegade Writers Guild, we function as a team when we work on projects. At our meetings we read and critique each other’s work in order to help each other become better at our craft. When I went to our first meeting over three years ago, I could not have imagined that we would eventually publish several short story anthologies that have benefitted community organizations such as the library and the Humane Society.
Finally, I have personally found writing to be a voice for me since I have lost my physical voice. In my wildest dreams I never thought of trying to write, but God had other plans for me, and I am ever thankful for that. Thank you to Stephanie Dean for starting our group and to the other members for their continuous support and encouragement.
As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Write it upon your heart that every day is the best day of the year.”
“Hike ‘em All”
By N.R. Tucker
I’ve hiked every trail at the Rocky Face Mountain Recreational Area in North Carolina. Granted it’s only six miles of trails, but I always feel accomplished when I can check every trail at a location as done. Hanging Rock State Park, Mount Jefferson State Natural Area, Pilot Mountain State Park, and Stone Mountain State Park are some of the other parks I’ve checked off my list. Don’t get me wrong, I still hike these locations. They are close to where I live, easy access for a half-day of hiking, and I can pick a trail or two that appeals to me on a given day. Within the parks, I can find wooded trails, grand overlooks, streams to cross, rocks to scramble, and open fields.
Not every trail has to be a massive pre-planned and coordinated trip. Within Davie County, there are options. Rich Park, with a lovely paved, and mostly wooded, trail in Mocksville is lovely. The Bullhole (Riverpark at Cooleemee Falls) is a great little location for getting your feet wet. I’ve been there when the water was flowing and when there was barely anything coming over the falls. Either way, it’s fun, although the water — not extensive hiking trails — is the draw.
Boone’s Cave Park in Davidson County is best enjoyed after the first freeze and before spring due to the bugs, but it does have the oldest cottonwood tree (169-feet tall and 219-inch circumference) in the east. The tree was of more interest to me than the caves, and I would list all the trails there as extremely easy. Take a picnic on a nice winter’s day and enjoy an outing.
In Forsyth, Tanglewood Park offers both paved and natural surface trails and is a wonderful place to stretch your legs. The Salem Lake Trail is a seven-mile, mostly natural surface, loop around Salem Lake. Don’t forget Bethabara Park which features historic gardens and over ten miles of trails by rivers, through wetlands, and in the woods.
In Yadkin County, check out the Yadkin Memorial Park where you can hike (paved and natural trails) kayak, fish, and birdwatch.
In Surry and Wilkes counties, visit the Elkin portion of the Mountain-to-Sea (MTS) Trail. The MTS crosses the whole of North Carolina, from Clingmans Dome in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park to Jockey’s Ridge State Park on the Outer Banks. For a day trip, the trail is easily picked up at the Elkin Municipal Park where you can hike through downtown Elkin (yes, it’s part of the trail) and browse through the windows. Or perhaps take the more wooded route by the river and enjoy nature.
There are many trails in towns and off the beaten path. Find a trail that appeals to you, or, better yet, why not hike ‘em all?
RWG Literary Corner
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