Some January Poetry

Winter © Molly Lin Dutina 23-1-8

Gloomy grays and browns
Grass looks winter burned
Clouds packed solid black
but wait!
The sycamores are all spangled
With seed balls moving in breeze
Winter in southwestern Ohio
I grasp at any sign of hope and 
Future joy in the next season.

Another ride on a winter afternoon brought this.

Gray Clouds Roof © Molly Lin Dutina 23-1- 18

Corn field stubble alternates
Ivory and beige, ivory and beige, in rows
As we speed past on highway
January wind rattles barn walls
Livestock not to be seen from my window
As gray clouds roof each farm

Can you imagine this? Would you be able to praise like this? We read in Daniel 3:16, 19 and on that the King wanted absolutely obedience to himself. “King Nebuchadnezzar was so filled with rage against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego that his face was distorted. He ordered the furnace heated up seven times more than was customary, and ordered some of the strongest guards in his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego and to throw them into the furnace of blazing fire. So the men were bound, still wearing their tunics, their trousers, their hats, and their other garments, and they were thrown into the furnace of blazing fire.” While in this furnace the men began to praise God, knowing that He was more powerful than the king ever thought about being. Here is a portion of their praise.

“Bless the Lord, all rain and dew;
    sing praise to him and highly exalt him forever.
65 Bless the Lord, all you winds;
    sing praise to him and highly exalt him forever.
66 Bless the Lord, fire and heat;
    sing praise to him and highly exalt him forever.
67 Bless the Lord, winter cold and summer heat;
    sing praise to him and highly exalt him forever.
68 Bless the Lord, dews and falling snow;
    sing praise to him and highly exalt him forever.
69 Bless the Lord, ice and cold;
    sing praise to him and highly exalt him forever.
70 Bless the Lord, frosts and snows;
    sing praise to him and highly exalt him forever.

Daniel 3:64-70 NRSV

They were eventually saved from the fire. This reading comes up often in the Daily Office and Canticles of from the Book of Common Prayer. There are times I wish my current church would use those to remind us of God’s power and glory! As you drive about this winter remember that all the seasons and elements are called to praise the Lord. We are, too!

Oh Weird

Every spring I look forward to hearing the Spring Peepers in the local wooded wetlands. Then I am certain that though it might feel cold, spring is certainly on the way! We have had tremendous rain here lately. Today, January 17th, I stepped outside to walk the dog to the mailbox. I almost could not believe my ears!

The Spring Peepers are singing. My favorite thumbnail sized amphibian! Climate change is messing up our ‘predictable’ weather things. The daffodils have sent up 3 inch tall leaves. The ones out back, just planted last autumn, already have 3 bulbs with 1 inch leaves. Forecast is 61 degrees today. My neighbor says, “Next week we will be freezing. The earth is just trying to fool us!”

I remember when I first moved to the San Francisco bay area I was so unhappy. They had poinsettias planted out of doors and climbing up walls. The daffodils bloomed in January and February. I remember thinking, “This is just WRONG!”

Dirt in Treetops?

I was driving and listening to NPR when I heard this episode of Radio Lab. I hope you enjoy the wonders of their discoveries as a much as I did.

Really? There is dirt in the canopy? The canopy even sends out roots for more trees up in the air?

Here is a quote from the transcript:

ANNIE: Her job up there was to take samples of the moss that was growing on these branches.

NALINI NADKARNI: I had to cut off chunks of it.

ANNIE: So using some clippers, she begins to cut down into that moss on the branch she’s sitting on.

NALINI NADKARNI: And as I peeled back those mats of mosses …

ANNIE: Beneath, instead of just bare branch …

NALINI NADKARNI: I saw that there was all this soil up there.

ANNIE: This branch has a foot of soil piled up on it.

ROBERT: Oh wow!

ANNIE: Soil that had built up over many, many years of mosses and leaves dying and decomposing right there on the branch.

What? I was intrigued. Temperate forest in Olympic rainforest in western Washington state. 100 feet up – a 10 story building! Copepods in the top of Redwoods. Amazing discoveries. And we, the little humans, think we know it all! NOT!!

The wonders our God of Creation made for us to discover. New things after new things we never even imagined.

Cloudy day in Corrales, New Mexico

I am seated in New Mexico looking at the peaks of Sandia Mountain. Visible valleys where water has run down the mountains side. A few places where snow has began to accumulate. Trees that look like dark green fuzz from here, trees that likely are much taller than I am. What wonders reside there? Discoveries the scientists and explorers have not yet made. How many eons have people gazed upon this mountain? Yet, the God of Wonders is NEVER surprised by what we find!!

Same mountain, different day!

Go outside. Take a walk around. Dig into the moss, or rocks, or dirt. See what wonders God has created for you to discover. Treasures in plain sight or on a treetop.

Sun Poetry

We have had so much sun lately since the weather has been ruled by these mostly drought conditions. I made a note to myself to “finish the sun blog.” Now I wonder what that meant!

Late October ©Molly Lin Dutina 22-10-29 
This morning the sun graces remaining leaves 
Barren trees now have a glow on their trunk
Knowing there are gloomy days ahead 
I want to store up this sunshine in my heart 
Perhaps like manna, that is not possible? 

The gardeners think they have repaired 
Water pooling in our yard 
Unless the drought breaks 
We will not know 
If drainage is corrected

And earlier than that on October 13, 2022 I wrote ….

Grandeur of Sun ©Molly Lin Dutina 22-10-13 

The black cloud perfect backdrop
As sun clears the trees in east
Lighting up treetop to west
Blazing red, swirling gold
Under layer of green
A momentary glimpse of autumn
Grandeur rarely seen 
Marvel of God’s handiwork
How was that even possible
That I looked up
Just then to see it?
Camera could not catch it properly
Totally gone now
Just gray rainy day
Orang-ish maple
No big deal
A few chirping birds
Patter of drops on fallen leaves
Applause of the crowd fading
“Camera could not catch it properly” see blaze of gold above the roof

Perhaps First Drops After the Drought?

We have had some surprising weather recently. We went from the 70s to the 30s. Here is a poetic reflection upon those changes.

Rain At Last © 2022 Molly Lin Dutina
Steady pouring rain this morning
Delight to our drought ears
Stunning to the parched ground
Cannot pour too much for me

Landscape errors highlighted
By pools of water
They misjudged water flow
“One more thing” husband declares

Yet the trees declare, “Bring it on”
Long ago fallen leaves
Ground up by machines of men
No longer have a voice

Next years foliage will have to be
Voice enough for them
As flower beds gulp and sigh
A desperate cry of “Finally.”

We volunteered for a food distribution at church one morning a few days later. At least we knew about weather change a few hours in advance and could dress appropriately! Surprise!

The snow collected upon the canopies and had to be cleaned off lest the canopies collapse under the weight! So the folk lore begs the question, since it snowed on November 12 will we have 12 snowfalls this season?

Praise him, you highest heavens
    and you waters above the skies.

lightning and hail, snow and clouds,
    stormy winds that do his bidding,

Let them praise the name of the Lord,
    for his name alone is exalted;
    his splendor is above the earth and the heavens.
And he has raised up for his people a horn
    the praise of all his faithful servants,
    of Israel, the people close to his heart.

Praise the Lord.

Psalm 148:4, 8,13-14

Photo Bombs

I thought I kept a copy of the first time Bob did at photo bomb on me. I was trying to do one of my first selfies and he popped up between two trees. I can’t find that photo, (of course, since I want it). So here is the next photo when I made him get in the picture. We were at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

There was a report on the news recently of this photo bomb.

Jordan Anast captures Surfer with Shark at the annual San Onofre Surf Club contest near San Diego.
Professional surfer Tyler Warren

I thought it was a whale but it is actually a shark. Lucky surfer, I’d say! He wanted a copy of the photo to show his mom.

You can hear the story at

Seeking Restoration After Wounding

Still, glassy pond, photo by me

Walking along pond hoping for reset and restoration, invisible frogs jump from the bank and glassy surface of pond begins to ripple. I remember this poetry truth.

Prayer © 1979  Molly Lin Dutina
A prayer 
Prayed in truth and faith
Through the Blood of Jesus,
Is as a drop of water
Upon the river of life;
Sending out endless
Ripples and waves
Throughout creation.

As the prayer is said
The answer begins movement.

Free internet image – “drop of water upon river of life – answer begins movement”

Trying to release that person to the Lord and get my focus back on Christ. I was told that if we have difficulty forgiving someone, we should pray for that person for 30 days, asking everything be given to them that we would like for ourselves. I began to pray that.

Continuing to walk about the pond with Lucky we saw three deer standing still looking at us. OH! Father, Son and Holy Spirit, dwell with us I prayed. One deer was intensely curious and began to approach us. Lucky just sat down to watch as she usually does with White-tailed deer. I suppose this was the mama and her twins that we have seen from time to time all summer. Now they are BIG deer.

Standing in awe of their majesty and the fact that the Lord would let me see them this morning, I noticed for the first time a bright white chin strap they wore! Guess I usually note other things about them when I come upon them.

From internet
Must have been the angle! My photo of Trinity of deer.

I was glad Lucky was calm. They are SO big I wondered what I would do if they approached us at a run? Did not happen. They browsed their way into the shrubbery.

Recalling the poetry about prayer, being blessed by the wonders the Lord let me experience, walking with this little beagle, I found I was restored and refreshed. All glory to God for His wonders and blessings.

Woodpeckers: The Hole Story by PBS

Have you seen this? All sizes, styles and sorts of woodpecker!

Interesting educational special about the value of woodpecker nests for so many kinds of other birds. At our other house we sometimes got to see yellow-bellied woodpeckers. We have had none at this location, so far. We often hear the Pileated here, but at the other house they would actually come to our suet feeders especially in winter. If you have not watched this series it is amusing and educational!

Pileated at our last house

Unique Scent and Majestic Scene

Distinct fragrance that Yankee Candle will never capture – crisp autumn leaves in my backyard. Something between hay, warm straw. No cinnamon, clove or ginger in it.

This time of year they advertise “Autumn Leaves” as a favorite, but I cannot say it hits my nose correctly!

Almost every leaf out back has fallen or been blown off. The squirrel nest that was being built earlier in September was revisited today but what looked like a mother and baby squirrel. I realize now (silly human) that the leaves she was cutting and stuffing in the poison ivy vines high up in the tree were the first layer of the nest. Where would she get that layer after the leaves had fallen?!? I will keep watching to try and observe if they actually move into that location as they weather cools. This morning it is 60 degrees. Overnight low was only 56. This is end of October?

Was amazed to see a huge hawk the other morning, largest I have ever seen while living here. Perched in a distant tree but still SO LARGE to my eye!

And this photo from Audubon

Gotta love those yellow lips!!

I could not see this detail with my new binoculars, but I also could not capture a good photo without a telephoto lens. Even with one, it might have been too far away. I could see how huge the beak was. The underbelly was totally white at that distance.

I saw it and at first thought, “I cannot go get the binoculars as it will fly away.” Then I got them anyway and it stayed. As I watched I wished Bob was at home to see it with me. When it did fly off I put my hand over my heart and thanked the Lord I got to see such majesty. Went on with kitchen chores, looked up, and it was back!! This happened a second time. Such a blessed morning!

Does the hawk take flight by your wisdom
    and spread its wings toward the south?

Job 29:36

Late October©Molly Lin Dutina 22-10-29 

This morning the sun graces remaining leaves
Barren trees now have a glow on their trunk
Knowing there are gloomy days ahead
I want to store up this sunshine in my heart
Perhaps like manna, that is not possible?

The gardeners think they have repaired
Water pooling in our yard
Unless the drought breaks
We will not know 
If drainage is corrected

Remember this Artwork?

My writing this week began with a blank page as it always does, then sorrows and struggles of others, the sound of dry leaves, climate change and some poetry. How to sum that up? I think my newest t-shirt says it best with a quote from Mother Teresa, “Do small things with great love.”

How to shine the Light of the Lord in these situations? For those in sorrow and struggles, cook a meal if you can. Surprise someone with flowers and a slice of cake. Pray for their situations and the strength of their hearts. Remind them as you are enabled that the paths of the Lord “drip with abundance.”

Dry leaves falling upon dry leaves are about to end today as rain is forecast in our area. Then we will have dry leaves falling upon soggy leaves. And oh how we need that rain! Yes, the voice of the Lord is still here like the whisper of leaves upon leaves, that still small voice of love and encouragement, challenge and reproof. (1 Kings 19:12) Are you listening for His voice of instruction to you?

My reminders

I have returned to wearing this homemade bracelet. It reminds me that I am called to Constant, Yielded, Peaceful, Joyful Obedience to the Lord. When I am diligent to this He shines His light through me, usually when I am not even aware it is happening. Why is this important? As His servant and ambassador in this age of darkness, like Paul, I am to reflect His glory. My occupation is to give light to those around me, Light from the Son.

for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in proclaiming it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak

Ephesians 6:20

When the bracelet annoys me, catches upon something or hinders the use of my wrist my practice is to make that draw my attention back to Christ. Am I listening? Am I doing the last thing He asked of me? Is the Trinity trying to get my attention right now? Am I humble enough to yield and to listen? Will I obey Him?

Some say they do not know what God wants them to do. If you keep praying and asking, the Holy Spirit is quite capable to make the Father’s will clear to you. You must wait and listen. When you receive instruction obey as much of that instruction as you are able. You might mess it up and make a mistake. We all do that. Our God is able to clean up our mistakes and make the most of our efforts.

And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love.

2 John 1:6 NIV

I pray you will use the empty page, the empty canvas of your life to do works of His desiring. Though you might not be able to see what is being created, He does and He will be careful to keep your heart until the day of His coming. Work diligently, as unto God. He reads your heart and knows your efforts on His behalf.

Ask Him, “what would bring pleasure to You today, Lord?” Then set out to delight your Lord with all of your heart!