I took the time to thank Debby, again,

For carefully placing the Bee and Enterprise Record

On our doorstep—she is an early riser
and likes doing it.

She was planting flowers next to her front door.

I paused to listen to the cries

Of the red-shouldered hawk twins

In the top of the Tulip Poplar

In our neighbor’s backyard.

A long narrow puddle on the road

Reflected the bright-blue sky.

I wondered how Muggins, our Boston terrier,

Could not just sniff but

Wind himself around a holly bush

And remain unstuck.

I noticed a tiny spider

Flying an impossibly long strand of web

When she drifted out of the shadows
of the trees.

Renee, a frail cancer survivor,

Was putting out pots of red geraniums

Next to her garage.

She said she was late getting them out.

I told her I had missed them.

I said they were beautiful

And at the same time thought

That her tremulous smile

Was far lovelier.

Even though the sunlight had
penetrated my bones

And made me smile,

I was happy to get home,

To walk though my front door
one more time

To Claudia

and banana toast with blueberries

And strawberries and walnuts.

Thank You, Lord, for a taste of heaven,

For Sabbath morning walks.


Andrew Hanson writes from Chico, California.

There are times, Lord,
When the road before us is shadowy and strange,
And seems to lead away in a curving, uncertain direction.
Frightened of uncertainty and shadows, we can pray for courage.

There are times, Lord,
When the road divides itself,
And we must choose the desert or the mountains.
Fearful of the consequences of choosing, we can pray for wisdom.

There are times, Lord,
When it’s smooth sailing,
And the road is straight and wide and easy.
Unsettled by the swiftness of our progress, we can pray for discernment.

There are times, Lord,
When the road is endless,
And we trudge along, half blind, numb, exhausted.
Almost losing the will to go on, we can pray for perseverance.

There are times, Lord,
When our companions complain,
And the road is choked with the dust of selfishness and self-pity.
Angry and resentful and hurt, we can pray for patience.

There are times, Lord,
When the road ends in a miserable track,
When even the ruts disappear and it’s all uphill and overgrown.
Terrified that we have lost our way, we can pray for faith.

There are times, Lord,
When “to be or not to be” is the question,
When failure and disappointment dog our steps.
Overwhelmed and almost defeated, we can pray for hope.

There are times, Lord,
When no one knows and no one cares,
And we stumble, blinded by our tears.
Wavering on the brink of despair, we can pray for love.

There are times, Lord,
When we forget
To thank You for prayer,
To thank You for the road.

Andrew Hanson lives in Chico, California.